2014 Indore, San Juan ATP Challenger Recaps
Chris De Waard, Tennis East Coast
There was a big difference between the seeds in the top and bottom half, as they held up in the former and fell like flies in the latter. I predicted #6 seed Yuki Bhambri to go all the way, but he lost in the second round to Ramkumar Ramanathan. The same happened to #7 seed Kimmer Coppejans, while the #2 and #4 seeds Alexander Kudryavtsev and Hiroki Moriya lost even sooner, both in straight sets. The way things unfolded resulted in a surprising semi-final between the home country players Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni, ending in an easy victory for Myneni: 6-2 6-1. Myneni won a gold medal at the Asian Games in mixed doubles two weeks ago, partnering with Sania Mirza.
In the top half, only #3 seed Somdev Devvarman failed to live up to his seeding, as he lost 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 to Liang-Chi Huang in the second round. Huang fell to #8 seed Stefano Travaglia in the quarterfinal, who in turn lost to top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the semi-final. The final saw another big surprise, as Myneni beat Nedovyesov 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 to claim his first ever Challenger title. A huge jump in the rankings followed, rising 168 spots to #283. Nedovyesov climbed a modest five spots to #113.
In San Juan, there was no such thing as seeds getting upset, as the only two who didn’t live up to their seeding (Zeballos and De Bakker) weren’t expected to make that big of a dent anyway.
Top seed Diego Schwartzman needed to overcome a thriller in the quarterfinal against #8 seed Guido Andreozzi to make it through: 2-6 7-6(4) 7-6(5). The same thing went for #3 seed Alejandro Gonzalez against Facundo Bagnis: 7-5 4-6 6-3. However, Gonzalez got absolutely hammered by #2 seed Joao Souza in the semi-final, receiving a double breadstick. Schwartzman came through as well for his sixth Challenger final of the year, while Souza went up for his fourth. The match ended with the exact score their previous match two years ago ended, a 7-6 6-3 win for Schwartzman, who took home his fourth Challenger title of the year and a new career high ranking of #77, rising twelve spots. Souza entered the top 100 at #97, jumping seven spots.