July 15, 2006: Newport is certainly turning out to be a good location for Mark as he advanced to the final today defeating Melzer 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 6-0. This is Mark’s first appearance in a final in almost 3 years! (The last was the Heineken Open in September 2003). Mark had a very slow start against Melzer with problems getting first serves into the court. Once he settled back and stopped trying to ace every serve he got more balls in play and was able to build to win the points. In the second and third sets Mark finally got his serve firing and practically steam rolled Melzer. In tomorrow’s final he’ll be playing Gimelstob whom he holds a 2-1 lead with their last match in 2000. Mark has also received a Special Exemption into the RCA Championships in Indianapolis starting July 17th. His first round opponent there will be Hyung-Taik Lee of Korea. A Special Exemption (SE) are given when a player who has entered the qualifying round for the a tournament is playing in the semifinals of the previous tournament (ie. Mark had entered the RCA qualifiers but can’t make them as he’s still playing in Newport, thus he gets a SE to the main draw). They’re not that common since usually the players who make it to the semis are ranked high enough that they wouldn’t need to qualify. (thanks to Vittorio and Ruth for the RCA info!)
July 14, 2006: Go Mark! For the first time since the Ordina Open in June 2005, Mark has advanced to the semifinals of a tournament. It may not be a Slam or Masters, but still it’s a good milestone. To advance Mark got some revenge on Fish for his past three losses, defeating him 7-6 (9-7), 6-3. He managed to overcome some erratic moments which is another good sign. Next up is Melzer, whom he’s only played once – a win at Wimbledon 2000.
July 12, 2006: Mark won his second round match in Newport today 6-3, 6-4 over De Voest. Mark’s opponent in the third round will be the winner of the Fish and Alvez match.
July 11, 2006: Mark has won another match! This time 6-4, 6-2 over Goldstein in the first round of the Hall of Fame Championships. Next Mark will play De Voest of South Africa (ranked 140) in the second round.