Double German joy as Zverev and Berrer lead 2015 Miami Open Men’s Qualifiers
Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
The final day of qualification took place at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami. Out of the 24 seeded player’s in the 48-strong field, only six player’s managed to reach the main stage on a day which consisted of both the expected and the unexpected.
Alexander Zverev rounded off his impressive display during the qualifying event with a hard fought three sets win over 24th seed Thiemo de Bakker. Zverev, who stunned top seed Joao Sousa in the first round, was made to come from a set down to beat Bakker 6-7 (2-7), 6-4,6-3, in a match which lasted nearly two and a half hours. The win has given the 17-year-old German his first ever place in a main draw of an ATP Masters event. Last week at the ATP Irving Challenger Zverev produced his best win of the year by beating world number 48 Jerzy Janowicz to reach the quarterfinal.
Zverev will be joined in the main draw by another German, Michael Berrer. 34-year-old Berrer was pushed all the way by 22nd seed Kenny de Schepper as he edged the Frenchman out in a deciding match tiebreak. Throughout the match the former world number 42 was solid on his serve as he was broken only twice during the two hour and 45 minute match as he won 6-3,4-6,7-6 (7-3). Berrer has played at the Miami Masters five previous times before this year with his best result being the second round of the tournament in 2008 and 2010. After qualifying in Indian Wells last week, where he reached the third round, his result in Miami moves his number of qualifications for ATP events in 2015 to 4 (Doha, Zagreb, IW, and Miami).
Third seed Benoit Paire suffered a disappointing straight sets loss to Alejandro Falla. In the lead up to the tournament, Paire appeared to be loving the Miami life when he posted a picture on his Instagram account on March 21st of a pool party that he attended. Unfortunately is seems like the Frenchman had much more fun there than on court today as Falla cruised to a 6-4,6-1, victory. The Colombian has only dropped eight games during the qualifying rounds.
Steve Darcis is the highest ranked player to qualify for the main draw as he produced a straight forward 6-4,6-3, win against Norbert Gombos of Slovakia. The Belgian remained unbroken on his serve throughout the match. He will now be bidding to win his first main draw match in an ATP Masters tournament since the 2012 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. He joins Berrer as another veteran serve and volleyer in the draw.
Damir Džumhur booked his place in the main draw with a 6-4,6-2, win against unseeded Croatian Mate Delic. The Bosnian, who created history for his country by reaching the third round of the 2014 Australian Open, will now play in his first ever Masters main draw. Dzumhur is just the second Bosnian to ever play in Masters series main draw.
Australian tennis fans may be gutted that Nick Kyrgios has pulled out of Miami however James Duckworth has given a smile back on their faces as he knocked out 6th seed Alejandro Gonzarlez 6-2,7-5 (7-5). The success in qualification by Duckworth follows an impressive run at Indian Wells. The 23-year-old came through qualifying and knocked out Dominic Thiem in the first round before being knocked out by Fernando Verdasco. Duckworth took part in “ATP University” recently, and looks to be ready to enjoy the ATP lifestyle.
One of the biggest surprises of the entire qualification draw came in the form of Adrián Menéndez-Maceiras. Before this week, Menéndez-Maceiras hasn’t won a match in the qualification rounds for a Masters event nevermind the main draw. He ended his dismal losing streak in the first round when he knocked out Tobias Kamke. Today the Spanish world number 126 made it two wins in a roll as he recovered from a first set hammering to beat Taro Daniel 1-6,6-3,6-3 for a place in his first ever Masters main draw.
Robin Haase enjoyed a 7-5,6-4, win against Lukas Lacko. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Dutch player, however, as Lacko began the match in dominating form as he stormed to a 4-1 lead. Unfortunately, he was unable to hold on to the lead as Haase triumphantly battled back. The turning point occurred when Lacko lost his serve whilst 4-1 up in a game which consisted of 12 deuces. Haase level things up at 5-5 before taking the first set 7-5. Then in the second set Lacko faltered on his serve twice which guided Haase to the win.
Édouard Roger-Vasselin reached the main draw for the fourth consecutive year after a 6-2,6-3, victory over former junior world number six Chase Buchanan. Roger-Vasselin has so far throughout his career only won five matches in a main draw of a Masters tournament of which two were in Miami. He previously had a good week in Indian Wells, just like Haase and Berrer.
Dustin Brown failed to keep hold of his first set lead after being knocked out by Ruben Bemelmans. After losing the first set in a close tiebreak, the Belgian battled to a 6-7 (4-7), 6-4,6-2, win to make his first Masters main draw since 2012. The win against Brown will be a massive confidence boost to the Belgian after he recently suffered two consecutive losses at the start of this month to player’s ranked outside of the top 250 (Henri Laaksonen, 344 and Dimitar Kutrovsky, 296).
Tough learning curve for the teenagers
Two of the last matches in qualification featured upcoming talents Elias Ymer and Omar Jasika.
Ymer faced world number 146 Austin Krajicek of the USA. The Swedish teenager looked on course to make his Masters main draw debut as he lead his rival by a set and a break. Things then started to unravel for Ymer as Krajicek broke back and took the second set to force it into a deciding set. The momentum generated by the teenager was rapidly disappearing as the American surged to a 3-0 lead in the final set to have a strong hold of the proceedings for the first time in the match. Ymer had no resolution to combat the Americans final set surge as Krajicek took it 3-6,6-4,6-3.
Meanwhile 2014 US Open boy’s champion Jasika put up a brave battle against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic but was knocked out 6-4,4-6,6-3. Both Krajicek and Krajinovic qualified for third ATP events on the season.
Qualifiers placement in the main draw:
Q Alexander Zverev (GER) – Sam Groth (AUS)
Q Michael Berrer (GER) – Q Alejandro Falla (COL)
Q Steve Darcis (BEL) – Malek Jaziri (TUN)
Q Damir Džumhur (BIH) – Q James Duckworth (AUS)
Q Austin Krajicek (USA) – Denis Istomin (UZB)
Q Robin Haase (NED) – WC Kyle Edmund (GBR)
Q Adrián Menéndez-Maceiras (ESP) – Tim Smyczek (USA)
Q Édouard Roger-Vasselin – Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
Q Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) – Juan Monaco (ARG)
Q Filip Krajinović (SER) – Dušan Lajović (SER)
Even in this Masters level event, all of the qualifiers will have at least an outside chance to win their matches.