Rain forces Irving Tennis Classic to play semifinals, finals on Sunday

Posted Saturday, Mar. 15, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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For the first time in its three-year history, the Irving Tennis Classic was interrupted Saturday by rain.

Not a bad record for an event held outdoors in North Texas in March, but the rain did come at a bad time for the $125,000 ATP Challenger event, forcing both semifinal singles matches to be moved to Sunday, along with the doubles championship and the singles final.

Both semifinal matches will resume at 11 a.m. at Four Seasons Resort and Club, followed by doubles, which will not start before 1 p.m. The singles final won’t start until 2 p.m. at the earliest. Tickets for Saturday’s matches will be honored Sunday.

After an early rain shower delayed the start of Saturday’s first semifinal between No. 3 seed Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic and Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, tournament officials decided that both semifinals would be played simultaneously, using the Grandstand Court for the second semifinal between two-time NCAA champion Steve Johnson and Tobias Kamke of Germany.

Both matches got under way shortly after 3 p.m., but both were midway through the first sets when a light rain halted play. Heavier rains followed and the decision was made at 6 p.m. to move both matches to Sunday.

The match between the No. 47-ranked Rosol and No. 83 Stakhovsky had already become intriguing with some words exchanged. The match was also a contrast in styles between the power game of Rosol and the finesse of Stakhovsky. Both players converted early break chances and were on serve with Stakhovsky holding a 4-3 lead when play was stopped.

Rosol arrived in Irving coming off a second-round loss last week in Indian Wells, Calif., to No. 6-ranked Andy Murray in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. In 2012, Rosol upset Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon.

Stakhovsky also left his mark on Wimbledon, defeating seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer in the second round last year at the All England Club, ending the Swiss great’s streak of 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances.

The other semifinal was stopped with Johnson up 3-2. He is attempting to extend his streak of singles victories in North Texas to 10. He won two World TeamTennis matches against the Texas Wild in July, then added five more victories last month to win the championship at the Challenger of Dallas at T Bar M Racquet Club.

He has cruised through the first three matches this week, including Friday night’s 6-3, 6-1 victory over former Baylor star Benjamin Becker.

Johnson is in his second full year as a pro after playing at USC. He reached the semifinals at last month’s ATP Tour event in Delray Beach, Fla.

Rusty Hall, 817-390-7816 Twitter: @RustyHall10s

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