TORONTO - The longer a match goes, the better Vancouver's Vasek Pospisil seems to play.
Pospisil was certainly better as the match lengthened on Monday as he beat Italy's Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) in their first-round match at the Rogers Cup.
"I don't know what it is," the 22-year-old said. "The longer matches go sometimes the better I feel on the court and I start swinging freely and the muscle memory takes over kind of and I guess I don't think as much and my abilities take over and it's probably an advantage for me."
Pospisil — Canada's No. 2 ranked player behind Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont. —needed to win a third set tie-breaker to take the match. He will play Juan Monaco in the next round.
Seppi, 28, who entered the tournament ranked 26th in the world, took advantage of a service break to win the first set but then Pospisil took over and withstood the Italian's third-set rally.
"It obviously was a very close match," Pospisil said. "I had the momentum in the second set and kind of gave it back to him and was able to raise my game. I had chances in the third and didn't take them, the early ones, but hung in there."
Pospisil, who entered the tournament ranked 104th in the world but has been as high as 85th this year, competed in the Londono Olympics last week.
He said coming back to Canada and winning Monday was a big moment for him.
"Obviously any win in the Rogers Cup in Canada is more special," he said. "It was my third top-30 win so I don't have too many of those right now and it is obviously a big one in front of a Canadian crowd."
With the first set at 3-3, Seppi broke Pospisil's serve and maintained the advantage to take the set.
Pospisil returned the favour in the second set when he took a 3-1 lead by breaking Seppi's service in the fourth game.
But Pospisil let Seppi back into the set when he flubbed an easy overhand shot at the net. He had the advantage at deuce at the time and the simple shot would have allowed him to take a 4-1 lead in the set. But Seppi took advantage of the opportunity and rallied to take the game and break serve and the set stood at to 3-2 for Pospisil.
Seppi got even in the set at 4-4 and won the first two points on Pospisil's serve in the next game but the Canadian recovered and held serve and broke Seppi's serve to take the second set.
Pospisil got another service break to take a 2-0 lead in the third set then held his own to go up 3-0 and he was serving for the match at 5-3 when Seppi broke his service again and held his own to draw even at 5-5.
Pospisil had five match points before finally putting it away.
Earlier, Peter Polansky of Thornhill, Ont., breezed through the first set of his first-round match. But then it all fell apart for the 24-year-old from of Thornhill, Ont., as Australian Matthew Ebden stormed back to take the match 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The first set took just 19 minutes as Polansky, a wild-card entry in the tournament, dominated.
"In the first set, his level just, he just wasn't there," Polansky said. "He was missing almost every single ball. And then he almost 360'd from there."
The tempo of the match changed in the second set as Ebden, also 24, took the first three games after an adjustment in tactics. The rallies were longer but even then Polansky had a chance in the first game to continue his first-set dominance.
"I had those two break points at 15-40 in the first game on his serve in the second set," Polansky said. "He held that game and then I got broken in the next game. After that it was just — you can call it a disaster."
Ebden will play Mardy Fish in the next round of the tournament.
Both players had difficulty holding service in the second set but it cost Polansky more. Ebden again broke his serve to force the third set.
Ebden took a 2-0 lead in the final set. Polansky battled back to even it at 2-2. But Ebden surged ahead 5-2 before Polansky got back to 5-3 and had double-break point before Ebden rallied to put the match away.
"It's very frustrating, especially having a big tournament like this, such a great opportunity," Polansky said. "Not just playing in this tournament but the draw that I had, just so many chances to be had. Just wasn't able to perform today."
Polansky came into Rogers Cup at his career-high ranking of No. 155 in the world.
"I still need to work on just being more consistent," he said. "Not from my groundstrokes but just my level of play and being able to keep up my good level for three, four matches in a row
"I think it's important to work on those bigger points. I've got to be able to convert those bigger points. Like at 6-0, 15-40, if I converted one break point I would have been up a break and it's a whole different story. Maybe he would have kept playing the way he was."