2012 Charlottesville Challenger Preview, Draws, Monday Order of Play
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
ATP Challengers are always some of my favorite events. They’re a chance to see many of tennis’ breakthrough stars before they make it big time up close and personal for a very low cost. Tennis East Coast’s Steve Fogleman plans to attend a few days at the Charlottesville Challenger and asked me to analyze the main draw. Monday’s Order of Play is available here.
Singles Preview: Printable Draw Here
1: Jesse Levine
2: Alex Bogomolov Jr.
3: Michael Russell
4: Mischa Zverev
5: Ryan Sweeting
6: Bobby Reynolds
7: Tim Smyzcek
8: Denis Kudla
Jesse Levine sits at a career high ATP ranking of 69 and is the top seed. After a second round appearance at ATP Vienna, he looks to finish the year strong. Levine has posted one challenger title in Dallas this year, along with second round showings as a qualifier at the French Open and Wimbledon. He opens with a tough matchup against Jack Sock, who his first challenger in Tiburon earlier this month and also made the third round of the US Open. This match could go either way and the winner will get Izak Van Der Merwe or a qualifier in the second round.
Aussie and former University of Tennessee standout JP Smith had his best result witht a win at the Winnetka Challenger in July. He opens against Colombian all courter Robert Farah, who made the final at the Aptos challenger and is 3-4 at the ATP level. Two of those wins came from a round of 16 appearance at ATP Barcelona. The winner of that matchup will get veteran American Bobby Reynolds, who made the semis at the Sacramento and Tiburon challengers (or a qualifier).
Mischa Zverev is a former top 50 player and is red hot going into this event, winning a futures event in Texas and making two finals in a row at the Tiburon and Sacramento challengers. Zverev draws wild card Somdev Devvarman, a Charlottesville resident and former University of Virginia standout. Devvarman was formerly ranked in the top 70 but had to undergo shoulder surgery and was out for 8 months. His first event back was the London Olympics, where he represented India. He has played less than ten tournament matches this year.
Daniel Kosakowski is just now breaking in into the top 250. You may remember his three set battle against Aljaz Bedene during the US Open qualies. Speaking of quaifying, he opens against a qualifier. Kosakowski won two futures events in a row after losing in the final round of US Open qualifying and also made a semi in Sacramento.
Donald Young has dipped his way back into challengers and back out of the top 150. He’ll open with Michael Lammer of Switzerland. Lammer is a slightly noted doubles player. The winner of that match will face Denis Kudla or Daniel Smethurst. Kudla won the Lexington challenger in July.
Alex Bogomolov has fallen out of the top 100 after a rough year and is also back playing challengers, opens with the aptly named Tennys Sandgren. Sandgren has won four futures events this year. The winner will get Tsung-Hua Yang or Austin Krajicek.
Ryan Sweeting has also had a downswing this year, opens with Rhyne Williams, JP Smith’s teammate at Tennessee. Rhyno gave Andy Roddick a competitive match at the US Open after qualifying.
Ironman Mike Russell is an even .500 on the ATP world tour this year and most notably made the semis at ATP Houston. He nabs a qualifier in the first round and will play the winner of Alex Kuznetsov vs. Sam Groth. Groth is a huge server who broke the ATP Record for fastest serve at the beginning of the year with a 163 mph rocket. Kuznetsov is coming off a futures final.
Former Stanford standout Bradley Klahn will play wild card Michael McClune, who also hails from California. The pride of Milwaukee, Tim Smyzcek is also near his career high ranking of 153, and will square off with wild card Alex Domijan.
As you can see, the Charlottesville challenger offers a wide and varied field, from veterans grinding on, guys in their prime looking to hit their peak and youngsters looking to make a name for themselves. It truly is anyone’s tournament to win, like most events on the Challenger circuit and USTA Pro circuit.
Dark Horse: Jack Sock
Sock will have a tough first round ask against Levine, but he is in the right form for an upset. It would get easier from there against Van Der Merwe and likely Farah or Reynolds followed by Zverev or Young in the semis. They’re all winnable matchups for the rising youngster.
Zverev d. Sock
Russell d. Bogomolov
Zverev d. Russell
Doubles Preview: Printable Draw Here
Top seeds Treat Conrad Huey and Bobby Reynolds open with wild cards Drew Courtney and Christian Harrison and the winner will get the winner of Sock/Jenkins vs. Adrei Daescu/Adam Hubble.
Devin Britton the former NCAA champ and Ole Miss Rebel and his partner Austin Krajicek open against a qualifying team and will meet the winner of Bogomolov/Young vs. Kuznetsov/Zverev. This is quite an interesting first round match up, as Young and Bogie have probably have had two of the worst years for ATP players this year in singles, and Kuznetsov and Zverev are good friends who seem to hang out on the circuit a lot together. These are fun pairings.
Aussies John Peers/JP Smith open against Sandgren/Williams in what is an interesting matchup between former teammates Williams and Smith. It’s surprising that they didn’t pair up together. Peers played college Tennis at Baylor and is a tall, lanky player. Smyzcek/Sweeting open against the wildcard tandem of Brendan Evans and Jarmere Jenkins.
Former USC teammates Robert Farah and Steve Johnson will team up against the big serving Carsten Ball and the Gooch, Chris Guccione, both represent Australia, in what should be an exciting battle and they will meet the winner of Kudla/Levine vs. David Rice and Sean Thornley a doubles duo from Great Britain.
Look for on-site tournament coverage from Tennis East Coast later in the week!