2014 ATP Bangkok, Como Challenger Recaps
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
Top seed Go Soeda fought through his US Open disappointment, where he lost in the first qualifying round against Oscar Hernandez, to comfortably go through to the semi-final without dropping a set. However, he got upset by unseeded 18 year old Hyeon Chung, who went through after a tough three set match, 6-4 2-6 6-4. This tournament was a great place to be for the new generation, as another unseeded youngster in the other half of the draw made a deep run as well: 20 year old Jordan Thompson.
Thompson showed incredible form as he didn’t just beat the higher ranked opponents on his path: he obliterated them. First up was second seed James Duckworth in the second round, as the Australian fell 6-2 6-4 to his younger countryman. In the quarterfinal, sixth seed Kyle Edmund had no chance as Thompson comfortably beat him 6-3 6-1. A similar pattern followed in the semi-final, when third seed Luca Vanni fell 6-1 6-3.
An all-youngster final between Chung and Thompson it was, in which Chung went down 2-5 in the first set, but ultimately ousted Thompson 7-6(0) 6-4 to win his first title on the Challenger tour. Needless to say that their rankings will rise significantly after this success: Thompson jumps approximately 50 spots from his current ranking of #278, while Chung will crack the top 200 for the first time and lands around 185th spot, a jump of 65.
Prior to the tournament the biggest question was where qualifier Viktor Troicki would end up in the draw, since that was bound to change the entire dynamic. He ended up in top seed Facundo Arguello’s quarter, which set them up for a bombshell meeting in the quarterfinal. They both made it there and Troicki showed he is the former top 20 player between them, comfortably winning 6-3 6-2. Another qualifier on the comeback trail, Jurgen Zopp, finally showed some good form and set up a semi-final meeting with Troicki after he took out two seeds playing in their home country: fourth seed Filippo Volandri (6-3 6-1) and sixth seed Potito Starace (3-6 7-6(4) 6-0).
In the bottom half, the seeds fell like flies, as #3 seed Adrian Ungur and #7 seed Marco Cecchinato lost in the first round, while #2 seed Pierre-Hugues Herbert and #5 seed Victor Hanescu lost only one round later. Louk Sorensen and Ilija Bozoljac took advantage as they made it to the semi-final, in which Sorensen scraped by Bozoljac 4-6 6-2 6-4.
However, Troicki was clearly the man of the tournament as he beat Zopp 6-3 6-4 and Sorensen 6-3 6-2 to take the first title of his comeback and his third overall Challenger title. This, of course, means a huge ranking jump for the Serb, rising from 408 to around 260. Sorensen posted a new career high ranking as he broke the top 200 for the first time, landing around the 185th ranking spot.