Teens Rublev and Munar among qualifiers at 2015 Barcelona Open
Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
As Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych battled it out in the final of the Monte-Carlo Masters. Things were also heating up in Barcelona as the final stage of qualifying for the ATP Open Banc Sabadell commenced with four seeded player’s booking their place in the main draw.
Top seed James Ward produced a convincing match as he dropped only five games against Portugal’s Rui Machado. Going into the match the British number three had to overcome a tough three set match against wildcard entrant Eduard Guell Bartrina, a Spanish 16-year-old who is ranked 50th in the juniors. Fortunately for Ward he didn’t encounter such difficulty against Machado in the deciding round as he remained unbroken through the match to ease himself to a 6-2, 6-3, victory.
Andrey Rublev’s progression from juniors into the pro circuit got yet another boost as he knocked out second seed Norbert Gombos 7-6(4), 6-3. The world junior number one produced his first ever main draw Masters win last month when he beat Pablo Casrreno Busta in three sets at the Miami Open. It wasn’t all plain sailing during the match, however, as Gombos opened a commanding lead in both sets (5-2 in the first and 3-1 in the second) before the current French Open boy’s champion battled his way back to take both sets.
Rublev wasn’t the only junior to reach the main draw as Spain’s Jaume Munar produced a 6-2, 7-5, win against Argentina’s Pedro Cachin. Munar was the runner-up to Rublev in last year’s French Open Boy’s final. In the first round the 17-year-old was leading 6th seed Daniel Munoz de la Nava 6-3, 5-4, before he retired due to an apparent issue with his left knee. At 835th in the world, Munar will be the lowest ranked player in this year’s draw.
Dutch third seed Thiemo De Bakker endured two close sets before edging his way past Germany’s Peter Torebko. After losing his first two service games of the match, Bakker started started to generate more consistency on court against Torebko to enable him to take the 7-5, 6-4, victory. Bakker has only played in the tournament once before which was in 2010. On that occasion he produced back to back top 20 wins over Juan Carlos Ferrero and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the semi-finals.
During the only three setter match in the final round of qualifying, Marton Fucsovics spent over two hours on court to beat Kenny de Schepper. The Hungarian 7th seed came from a set down to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2). He had two opportunities to take the final set 7-5 but failed to convert as Schepper forced things into a deciding tie-break. Unfortunately for Schepper in the final, he suffered three consecutive breaks of serve as Fucsovics surged to the win.
The final qualifier into the Barcelona main draw is Yuichi Sugita. The Japanese world number 140 came into the qualifying draw with good form following his run to the final of the ATP St. Brieuc Challenger in France where he lost to Nicolas Mahut. St. Brieuc had been his first Challenger final since October last year. During his Barcelona qualifying campaign Sugita only dropped a total of five games (one against Juan Lizariturry in the first round and four to Oriol Roca Batalla in the final round).
The teens, Rublev and Munar both got interesting round 1 matchups against Benoit Paire and Fernando Verdasco respectiely, while Sugita will face Thomaz Bellucci, Fucsovics will face Andrey Kuznetsov, de Bakker takes on Elias Ymer, and Ward gets a winnable match with Marsel Ilhan