2014 Tashkent, Tiburon and Rennes ATP Challenger Recaps
Chris De Waard, Tennis East Coast
The seeds didn’t disappoint as three of the four top seeds made it to the semi-finals. The one who didn’t make it, top seed Dusan Lajovic, lost 7-6(5) 7-5 to Borna Coric in the quarterfinal, which was always going to be a hard match for him. Fellow top seeds Sergiy Stakhovsky, Lukas Lacko and Adrian Mannarino all had tough quarterfinal matches as well, as all three of them needed three sets to get the job done. In the semi-finals Lacko managed to beat Coric in two tight sets, while Stakhovsky followed a similar pattern against Mannarino. In the final it was a lot less close, however, as Lacko easily dispatched Stakhovsky 6-2 6-3 to win the title. Lacko’s victory saw him rise sixteen ranking spots to #83, while Stakhovsky jumped ten spots to #62.
Contrary to the situation at Tashkent, seeds were bombing out left and right here. Only three of them survived the first round, two the second and top seed Sam Querrey was the last one standing in the semi-finals. Qualifier Matt Reid managed to profit from #4 seed Peter Polansky pulling out and getting replaced by a lucky loser, as he made it all the way to the semi-final. In the bottom half another qualifier reached the semi-final, Nils Langer, after trashing #6 seed Thiemo de Bakker 6-1 6-3 in the first round. He almost managed to go a step further, but John Millman beat him 5-7 6-2 7-5 for a place in the final. There he faced the #1 seed and undisputed favorite Sam Querrey, who reached the final without losing a set. The final was no different, as Querrey beat Millman 6-4 6-2 to claim his third Challenger title in just as many weeks. Querrey rose eight spots to #40, while Millman made a big jump of 121 spots to #285.
Rennes provided an even worse scenario for the seeds, as none of them went through to the semi-finals. #1 seed Jan-Lennard Struff lost to Robin Haase in the second round, who then lost to wild card Enzo Couacaud in a dramatic match after missing three match points: 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(4). Unfortunately Couacaud had to dig so deep that he was forced to retire from his semi-final match against Nicolas Mahut in the first set. In the bottom half Steve Darcis took out Dustin Brown in the semi-final, after which he reached the final by beating Marsel Ilhan, who took out two seeds in Thomaz Bellucci and Andreas Haider-Maurer. Darcis was very convincing in the final, as he beat Mahut 6-4 6-2 to win the first Challenger title of his comeback. With this result he re-enters the top 200 at #172, jumping 81 spots. Mahut dropped six spots to #108, as he was defending the title.