Challenger of Dallas
USTA Pro Circuit
February 4-February 9, 2013
Prize Money: $100,000
The always-popular indoor hard court Challenger of Dallas at the T Bar M Racquet Club is this week and a strong field has come to play.
Top 8 seeds
1: Jesse Levine
2: Michael Russell
3: Tim Smyczek
4: Rajeev Ram
5: Matt Ebden
6: James Blake
7: Vasek Pospisil
8: Alex Bogomolov
The top seed is 81 in the world and the lowest seed is 132.
First round matchups to watch:
Frank Dancevic vs. Vasek Pospisil
Dancevic and Pospisil are Canadian Davis Cup Teammates and just for that reason, this is an interesting matchup. Dancevic looks to be in hot form as he steamrolled Marcel Granollers in his opening Davis cup singles rubber. Meanwhile, the younger Pospisil seems to be recovered from mono that sidelined him for the opening month of the season.
Tennys Sandgren vs. Mischa Zverev
Zverev reentered the top 140 with a finalist showing in Maui, while Sandgren is at a career high ranking of 219. Zverev will be favored but Sandgren has indoor experience and could pull the upset.
The newly minted Canadian Jesse Levine will be looking to crack the top 80 with a good showing here. He opens with Bradley Klahn, followed by Izak Van Der Merwe or Marcelo Demoliner. In the quarters, he should meet the Dancevic/Pospisil winner, but a qualifier or Michael Yani are also options.
Rajeev Ram opens with Daniel Kosakowski and then the winner of the battle of young Americans, Rhyne Williams vs. Austin Krajicek. After that, he could play Australian Open Mixed Doubles champ Matt Ebden, who is coming off successful Davis Cup duty for Australia. Ebden opens with Alex Kuznetsov followed by the Sandgren/Zverev winner.
Michael “Muscles” Russell, who made the semis in Maui, opens with the entertaining Jimmy Wang. Then, Russell will play a qualifier or Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The quarters could find find him across the net from the struggling 6 seed/wild card James Blake or Denis Kudla.
Tim Smyczek opens with Ryan Sweeting before meeting the winner of Rik De Voest and wild card Robby Ginepri. The quarters could see Smyczek taking on Alex Bogomolov (who opens with Denys Molchanov) or Steve Johnson (who opens with Bobby Reynolds).
Dancevic d. Ebden
Smyczek d. Russell
Dancevic looks to be in great form with a good draw while Ebden should do well here. Smyczek just beat Steve Johnson in Maui, so expect a repeat.
Dancevic d. Smyczek
With a Heilbronn semi final and a good DC performance already under his belt this early part of the season, I’ll go with Frankie D.