By Patrick Lujan
He knew his best tennis is behind him and showed in his first match of the 2013 Lacoste/GVB Futures Tennis Tournament.
35-year-old Dominik Hrbaty, once ranked as high as No. 12 in the world and played against some of the best players of all-time, was slow on his feet and committed too many unforced errors under the hot sun at the Hilton Tennis Courts, losing 6-2, 6-4 to 18-year-old Soichiro Moritani Monday afternoon.
Hrbaty opened the match with a double fault. It was a sign of things to come as the Japanese youngster kept volleys alive and waited for the veteran to make costly mistakes.
“I’m so happy,” Moritani said through an interpreter. “Not only did I beat Dominik, I also get some (ATP) points.”
Under scorching 91-degree conditions, the opening match pitted the veteran finishing up his prolific career with more than $7 million of prize money going up against the youngster who just turned pro in April from Tokyo, Japan playing in only his sixth pro match.
Moritani matched Hrbaty stroke-for-stroke, breaking the Slovakian on several occasions to easily take the first set.
“When the draw was released and I saw I was going to play Hrbaty, I felt I needed to make sure I covered all shots on court and wait for his errors in order to win,” Moritani added.
Hrbaty held serve early in the second set to take a 2-1 lead before more unforced errors led to another break in serve. In fact, three unforced errors by Hrbaty and a service return winner has Moritani jump out to a 4-2 advantage.
It was only a matter of time as the Japanese appropriately ended the match with an ace down the line to end it.
“I wasn’t aiming,” Moritani said about the match-ending ace. “I just swung and prepared for a return.”
Right before this match, the tournament had an opening ceremony with the U.S. Navy Color Guard and Guam’s First Lady Christine Calvo in attendance. Hrbaty gave some opening remarks along with tournament director Torgun Smith.
Two Guam Entries
Only two players are entered from Guam: Daniel Llarenas and 16-year-old Joshua Cepeda. Cepeda fell to Neishit Vakil from India 6-3, 6-2.
Action continues all week with the singles and doubles finals set for Sunday. There are a total of 34 international competitors in the tournament.
[fbshare url=”http://www.gspnlive.com/tennis/hrbaty-drops-first-round-match/” type=”button”] [fblike url=”http://www.gspnlive.com/tennis/hrbaty-drops-first-round-match/” style=”standard” showfaces=”false” width=”450″ verb=”like” font=”arial”]
[/sixcol_five_last][useful_banner_manager_banner_rotation banners=69, 38, 53 interval=8 width=120 height=600 orderby=rand]
GPS Sports Calendar