Mike Cahill had never beaten Colin Dibley. After the opening set yesterday in the first round of the Volvo Tenniss Classic at George Washington University's Smith Center, it looked as if the streak would continue.
Dibley, who had to win three times to qualify into the main draw of 32, uned his rocket-like serve and overpowered Cahill in the first set, 6-3. But Cahill rallied in the second to take the 12-point tie breaker, then won the final set and the match, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.
"The first two sets he was unbelievable," said Cahill, ranked 67th in the world. "I just had to scrap and hang in there. I was so damn determined to hit his serve back.
"I was a little more eager than he was (at the end)," said Cahill. "Basically, I think he just got tired."
In other opening round matches, Tomaz Smid upended Zeljko Franulovic, 6-2, 6-3; Brian Teacher downed Bernie Mitton, 6-1, 6-3, and Andrew Pattison beat Tom Gorman, 6-3, 6-4.
Three seeded players will be featured in today's matches. Eddie Dibbs, seeded No. 1, plays Bruce Manson in the evening session that begins with a doubles match at 5 p.m. At the 10 a.m. seesion, No. 5 Raul Ramirez takes on Jeff Borowiak and No. 6 Tim Gullikson meets Eliot Teltcher.
Dibley won his first set after the score was tied at 2-all. He captured three straight games, two at lova, and won the first set on an ace.
Cahill broke Dibley in the second set for a 4-2 advantage. Dibley returned the favor in the next game and each held service until the tie breaker.
Dibley went ahead, 4-2 in the tie breaker when Cahill returned a serve into the net. Dibley then double-faulted, hit two shots out (one wide, one long) and found himself behind, 5-4.
A Dibley winner off a soft lob tied it, but Cahill earned the set with two shots that Dibley couldn't handle.
Cahill broke Dibley in the fourth game of the final set to lead, 3-1.
"When I broke him to go up 3-1, that was the match right there," said Cahill.
Dibley qualified on a slower surface, and he said that hurt him. "It was so much faster today," he said. "I was catching the ball so late. I didn't play well.
"I thought I had the most chances (to win) but I let them slip away. I think I had a good chance to win it in two straight."
Teacher earned his first singles victory this year. He handled Mitton easily with a consistent serve and few errors.
"I felt I played pretty well," said Teacher, who married Kathy May, a highly competitive player on the women's tour, on Feb. 6 this year. "I hadn't been serving well and today I did."
"He served well and he really didn't miss any," said Mitton, who arrived from Los Angeles Saturday night. "I've got not excuses. He just played well."
Pattison broke Gorman's serve three times. The final break came in the seventh game of the final set, giving Pattison a 4-3 advantage. Each held service the rest of the way.
Smid went up 3-0 in the first set and 5-2 in the second against Franulovic.