TENNIS star Ričardas Berankis will enter tomorrow afternoon’s Australian Open action well rested following his opening round battle with Dutchman Igor Sijsling on Monday.
Ričardas Berankis takes on Dutchman Igor Sijsling at Australian Open. Photo by Alex Tigani

The Melbourne Park affair was always anticipated to be a thriller considering the 24-year-old Lithuanian and his opponent were ranked 85th and 84th respectively.

However, few would have predicted that the on court battle would last for 198 minutes.

In fact, such was the competition across the five set affair that Sijsling, who conquered the first set 6-2, also fell agonisingly short of defeating Berankis in total points won (175:174).

While sunburn and nausea were patriotically endured by members of the Berankis Brigade (a gathering of fans from the Australian Lithuanian communities); Berankis also showcased lapses in the fourth set which, eventually, stretched out the day’s action.

This fourth set in particular saw the Dutchman claim one game via four straight aces.

Thankfully, Berankis would find his feet and display some clever tricks himself including a backward tap over the court’s net.

Statistics: (Berankis:Sijsling)

Aces 7:14
Double faults 4:6
1st serves in 108/173 (62 %): 106/176 (60 %)
1st serve points won 81/108 (75 %): 76/106 (72 %)
2nd serve points won 33/65 (51 %): 39/70 (56 %)
Break points won 5/14 (36 %) a piece
Winners 7:14
Unforced errors 4:6
Total points won 175:174

Berankis’ focus is now on South African Kevin Anderson who stands tall - not only in the world rankings at 15th but also physically at 203cm, towering over the 175cm Lithuanian.

Note* this opponent is not to be mistaken with fellow South African Jean Anderesen who Berankis defeated in April, 2014 while representing Lithuania in the Davis Cup.

Tomorrow’s match will take place on court 13 at Melbourne Park from midday (roughly 3 AM Vilnius time).

The Berankis Brigade supporters group ask all fans to dress in Lithuanian national colours!

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