2014 Charlottesville Challenger (@CvilleTennis) Preview & Predictions
Chris De Waard, Tennis East Coast
ATP Challenger Tour
Charlottesville, VA, USA
27 October – 2 November
Prize Money: $50,000
Seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Sam Groth (87)
2: Tim Smyczek (99)
3: Denis Kudla (128)
4: Michael Russell (129)
5: Gastao Elias (138)
6: James Duckworth (140)
7: Rajeev Ram (142)
8: Frank Dancevic (143)
The last direct acceptance is Tennys Sandgren, ranked 309th.
First round match-ups to watch
(3) Denis Kudla – Wayne Odesnik
A tricky opening round for Kudla against one of the most dangerous non-seeded players in the draw. Odesnik has been struggling with injury in his last couple of tournaments, but if he is fit he could pose a serious threat to Kudla, who got upset by Jordan Thompson in the first round of his last tournament at the Tiburon Challenger.
(8) Frank Dancevic – Rhyne Williams
A good chance for Williams against a struggling Dancevic. Dancevic is on a six match losing streak, including three Challengers, in which he lost to players outside of the top 250. Williams has been having problems with his temper lately, but if he can keep his cool here, he has an excellent chance to advance.
Top seed Sam Groth clearly is the favorite in this half. He has been holding his own on the main tour and should have no problems reaching the final. Fellow seeds Dancevic, Michael Russell and James Duckworth haven’t been in their best form and outsiders like Williams, Odesnik and Taro Daniel probably don’t have what it takes to eliminate Groth. For Daniel, this is a great opportunity to reach the semi-final, since he is placed in the section with Russell and Duckworth.
Tim Smyczek has been performing well at the American Challengers and will be happy that Sam Querrey finally isn’t in the draw. Groth is a great player as well, but not on Querrey’s level. He does have the dangerous youngster Stefan Kozlov in his section, however, as they are projected to meet in the second round. #7 seed Rajeev Ram is set to meet a slumping Ryan Harrison in the second round, if the latter gets past wild card Mitchell Frank. The upper section has an interesting opening round between Tennys Sandgren and James McGee, the winner of which will face #5 seed Gastao Elias in the second round.
Groth > Daniel
Smyczek > Elias
Groth > Smyczek