2013 Savannah Challenger Preview
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
After Sarasota, the USTA Pro Circuit swings into Savannah for the 2nd stop on the Har-Tru USTA French Open Wild Card Challenge.
USTA Pro Circuit
Savannah, Georgia, USA
April 20-April 28, 2013
Prize Money: $50,000
Top 8 seeds:
1: Mardy Fish
2: Michael Russell
3: Ryan Harrison
4: Alex Bogomolov
5: Rhyne Williams
6: Jack Sock
7: Wayne Odesnik
8: Tim Smyczek
Savannah has a similar field to Sarasota, with wild card recipient Mardy Fish being the notable addition.
Mardy Fish, who hasn’t played since Indian Wells, will open with veteran Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, which is a pretty tough matchup. The winner will face a qualifier or wild card Sekou Bangoura. In the quarters, it could be a qualifier, Sarasota champ Alex Kuznetsov, Frank Dancevic or Rhyne Williams.
Ryan Harrison lost in the 1st round in Sarasota and continues to struggle. He try to change course against Mischa Zverev, a talented but terribly inconsistent veteran, followed by Bobby Reynolds or Ze Zhang. In the quarters Sarasota finalist Wayne Odesnik, Sarasota semifinalist Denys Molchanov, wild card Mitchell Krueger or a qualifier are the choices.
Michael Russell will play Bradley Klahn before Steve Johnson or wild card Tennys Sandgren. In the quarters, it could be Sarasota semifinalist Somdev Devvarman, a qualifier, Facundo Arguello or Tim Smyczek.
Alex Bogomolov will take on Denis Kudla then Donald Young or a qualifier and in the quarters Jack Sock, Teymuraz Gabashvili, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and Peter Polansky are all options.
Ramirez Hidalgo d. Odesnik
Arguello d. Stebe
Once again, the conundrum of picking between aging clay court specialists like Ramirez Hidalgo or young Americans with limited clay experience such as Williams is upon us. That being said, 35 year old RRH, while being only 2-6 on the year, has been playing all his matches at the ATP level and this will be his first challenger of the year. That experience should give him the edge, though Williams did beat him in Houston. Odesnik, who has little standing in his way to the semis will likely be fatigued at that point.
Arguello continues to be a raw talent and he did beat Harrison in Sarasota. Smyczek is a tough draw, but a qualifier or Devvarman should be a bit easier than Klahn or Johnson.
Stebe was in the past predicted to be ranked a lot higher at this point and his development has been slower than expected. But a very open section of the draw made up of struggling veterans and hard court players means he should make the semis.
Ramirez Hidalgo d. Arguello
Experience should trump youth in this one.