Qualifier Jones upsets Melzer at Heineken Open

Associated Press

1/8/2013 12:36:42 AM

AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Australian qualifier Greg Jones produced the largest upset in the first round of the Heineken Open on Tuesday when he beat sixth seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer 7-6 (7), 6-2.

The 23-year-old Jones, whose ranking slumped from 187 to 373 during 2012, posted his first ever win in an ATP Tour match at the expense of the 29th-ranked Melzer.

Tall, rangy and powerful, Jones matched the 31-year-old Melzer shot for shot in the first set, which went into a tiebreak without a break of serve on either side. In the breaker, he came from 6-4 down to win it 9-7 then, growing in confidence, claimed the second set in 30 minutes.

Another qualifier to win was Igor Sijsling, who beat Dutch compatriot Robin Haase 3-6 6-3 7-5.

Jones, who won three matches in qualifying, attributed his strong start to 2013 to hard work during the recent off-season.

"It's a pretty good feeling," he said. "I had a pretty rough year last year which my ranking shows.

"I trained really hard in Melbourne with a couple of guys, a couple of fellow Aussies, during the off-season and physically I'm just feeling a lot better on the court."

Jones seemed anything but a 373-ranked player in his centre court performance on Tuesday. He was both powerful and accurate, serving strongly and working his way into points with strong and deep ground strokes.

Melzer was also sound in the first set but seemed to lose his way in the second, making an increasing number of unforced errors.

In other first round matches on Tuesday, Lukas Lacko of Slovakia beat Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, 6-3, 6-3 and Santiago Giraldo of Colombia swept past Go Soeda of Japan 6-1 6-0 in less than an hour.

Alejandro Falla of Colombia was leading Grega Zemlja 6-4, 3-1 when the Slovak retired in the second set. Canadian qualifier Jesse Levine beat New Zealand wild card. Dan King-Turner 6-2, 6-2.