Kokkinakis, Gimeno-Traver headlining ATP Madrid 2015 Qualifiers
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The ATP quality player heavy Mutua Madrid Open qualifying concluded Sunday with five seeded players, and two unseeded players filling out the qualifying spots, while a lucky loser was also placed in the draw, due to Tommy Robredo pulling out of the tournament with an injury.
Aussie young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis improved to a remarkable 13-0 in qualifying at the ATP level this year as he scored big wins over Matteo Viola and Janko Tipsarevic to qualify. Tipsarevic has been improving his results since returning from injury, and he’s had success in Madrid before, but Kokkinakis was clutch and won a third set tiebeak 7-4 to advance in three sets, after dropping the second set.
Daniel Gimeno-Traver continued his tremendous run of form over the past few weeks on clay, the 29 year old Spanish grinder, who reached the final in Casablanca, the semis in Bucharest, and the quarters in Istanbul, will now have a chance to improve his results at the Masters level. He rolled over Javier Marti and Marsel Ilhan, as neither were a challenge compared to Roger Federer, who he took a set against in Istanbul.
Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia was 1-4 in his last five matches on clay going into the Madrid qualifying, but he scored a pair of quality wins, as he defeated Kenny De Schepper in 3 sets, and then upset Joao Sousa in 3 sets as well. Sousa would later be placed in the draw as a lucky loser though, so his day wasn’t entirely ruined. Gonzalez has struggled this season, but perhaps this run in qualifying can be the spark he needs to carry him into the summer.
Albert Ramos will be another Spanish player in the main draw of Madrid, the 27 year old lefty with his spinning shots beat Ivan Dodig via 3rd set retirement and then rolled over Ricardas Berankis to qualify. He’s actually struggled on clay this year, but historically it’s been his best surface, and he’s looking to make some noise in the main draw. Right now he’s been very unpredictable.Embed from Getty Images
Thomaz Bellucci, is another left handed qualifier, the Brazilian beat Michael Berrer, and then Federico Delbonis (in a nailbiting third set tiebreak), to qualify, he comes off the quarterfinals in Istanbul and he’s a threat on clay as well.
The unseeded qualifiers were Alejandro Falla, a Colombian veteran (and lefty), and Luca Vanni, an Italian veteran having his career best year in pro tennis. Falla, who has been poor on ATP main draw clay over the past three seasons (4-13 since 2012), will have a chance to improve that record. He upset Sergiy Stakhovsky, and then beat Roberto Carballes Baena, a Spaniard, to qualify. Vanni, who had a miracle run to the Sao Paulo final as a qualifier not that long ago, beat Carlos Berlocq and then Nicolas Mahut in three sets to snap a four match losing streak and place himself in his first ever Masters 1000 main draw.Embed from Getty Images
Gimeno-Traver has been drawn against Nick Kyrgios in a highly anticipated round 1 clash of in-form warriors, Bellucci has been given a winnable match against Jeremy Chardy in round 1, Gonzalez will face American Steve Johnson, Vanni will do battle with non-clay courter Bernard Tomic, Falla will face a fatigued Philipp Kohlschreiber, Kokkinakis will have a great chance to beat Sam Querrey, Ramos will face Istanbul finalist Pablo Cuevas, a possibly fatigued opponent, and Sousa will face Jerzy Janowicz as the lucky loser.Embed from Getty Images