2015 Glasgow Challenger Day 2 Report: Home Brits Including Marcus Willis Score Round 1 Wins
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
Due to travel I missed the first day of the Glasgow event, on the Aegon GB Pro Series but I am here for days two, three and four. The first match on the main court was a women’s singles qualifying match between Alice Matteucci [ITA] and Isabelle Wallace [GBR]. The 17 year old Brit is ranked 683 in the world, over 200 places behind her 18 year old opponent. However it was Wallace that came out firing as she held to 15 and broke her opponent the next game. Matteucci seemed to be struggling with serve, hitting 3 double faults on her way to being broken. The Italian called a medical time out at the end of the game and unfortunately retired 2 points later. A rather disappointing way to start the tennis day.
After getting a brief look at some of the womens talent on display, it was time for the first mens singles match of the day. The number 4 seed Andrej Martin faced Germany’s Nils Langer. Both players struggled on serve in the first set, serving below 50% and hitting a combined 8 double faults. Martin missed his opportunity to serve at the first set a 5-4, but it didn’t matter in the end as he the Slovak dominated the tiebreak to take the first set 7-6. There were some absorbing rallies, and good all court play from both players but ultimately the world number 185 was too strong. Martin breaks Langer to take the match in straight sets.
My attention soon turned to court 8 as the match between eighth seed Matteo Viola, and British qualifier Marcus Willis was about to begin. Willis has defeated Daniel Evans to qualify for the event, so he was coming into the match in good form; and he soon showed it. Using his big serve and variety, the Brit took apart his Italian opponent in less than an hour. 6-2,6-2 was the final result, resulting in a rather tame exit for the number eight seed. As for Willis, watching this match made me wonder why Willis is ranked 357 in the world. He has certainly showed that he has the talent to be ranked a lot higher. His use of the slice, drop shot and serve were particularly impressive today.
Whilst Willis was busy defeating Viola, another Brit took to the court on number six. Roughly 100 places separate Daniel Smethurst and Andrea Arnaboldi in the rankings, but that didn’t matter to the British wildcard. The match was as tight as you can get, but Smethurst managed to squeak the lead, 7-5. The Brit’s ability to come to the net effectively was causing the fifth seed problems, but Arnaboldi seemingly found a way to counter it. The Italian broke to serve for the set, but the Smethurst remained headstrong and broke back to make it 5-4. The set seemed destined for a tiebreaker at this point, and that’s what we got. Smethurst got the early mini-break and raced ahead to a 6-1 lead. Arnaboldi was game enough to save three match points, but at 6-4, Smethurst delivered an un-returnable serve to seal the match. The good fortune of the British players continued.
There was a guarantee that another British player would advance to the second round as an all British clash was next on court 6. Edward Corrie faced Alexander Ward in what turned out to be on of the more one sided matches of the afternoon. Ward came out of the blocks firing serves like Ivo Karlovic, but it wasn’t too long before Corrie took control of the match. 100 places separated them in the rankings, and it certainly showed as Corrie tightened his grip on the match with his more aggressive play. The world 243 broke to win the first set, and early in the 2nd set on his way to sealing a comfortable 6-3,6-3 victory.
The last British hopeful was a local player named Ewan Moore. He faced Italian Roberto Mancora, who is ranked 233 in the world. It was all too easy for Mancora as he raced to a straight sets win in under an hour.
In other results, Maxime Authom straight setted Ireland’s Louk Sorensen for the loss of two games. Tristan Lamasine dispatched his qualifier opponent, Pirmin Haenle in straight sets 6-2,7-6. Finally in the only three setter of the day, Pedja Krstin came from a set down to beat higher ranked opponent Jozef Kovalik 3-6,6-3,6-3.
The action will continue tomorrow with the rest of the ATP challenger first round matches, and the start of the ITF women’s singles main draw featuring Tennis Atlantic’s own, Conny Perrin.