Gulbis, Chung Highlight 2015 ATP Montreal Qualifiers
Steen Kirby and Leich Sinha, Tennis Atlantic
A diverse field of qualifiers claimed their sports in the 2015 ATP Montreal, Rogers Cup main draw this weekend in what was a competitive qualifying tournament. The headliner was Ernests Gulbis, who may be coming out of what has been a season long slump, and beat both Blaz Rola and top qualifying seed Nicolas Mahut, the latter in a close three sets, to qualify. Gulbis was ranked as high as #10 in the world last year, and has six ATP titles, but he’s endured a dreadful season, and perhaps the summer will help regenerate him and his focus.
Along with Gulbis, young gun Hyeon Chung also made the main draw. The 19 year old Korean with a whippy backhand is in great form on the US Open Series thus far (3-1), and dominated both of his matches, the first against Kelsey Stevenson, and the second against Alejandro Gonzalez. Chung has a bright future ahead and we are likely to see him in many Masters main draws to come.
Like Gulbis, Alexandr Dolgopolov has endured a poor season, but the perpetual top 20 talent, who has now been on tour for a while, won a pair of tough matches over Dudi Sela and Alejandro Falla to qualify. Dolgopolov is 4-1 in his last five matches, and should serve as a dark horse threat on hard courts in the Montreal draw. He has two ATP quarterfinals on hard courts this year and also reached the round of 16 in Miami, pushing Novak Djokovic to three sets.
Two other veteran presences on tour also qualified, Yen-Hsun Lu used his baseline ball striking talents to easily dispatch David Volfson and Brayden Schnur, dropping jut three games in four sets of tennis. Mikhail Youzhny snapped a long losing streak, as the Russian surprisingly found form and whipped his one handed backhand to wins over J.P. Smith and Pierre-Hugues Herbert without dropping a set.
Lastly, two Americans qualified north of the border in Quebec as Donald Young snapped a cold streak and beat Rajeev Ram with ease after slipping past Edouard Roger-Vasselin in three sets. He will face off with his countryman Denis Kudla, who continued his fantastic form with routine wins over Ryan Harrison and James Duckworth, both of whom were challenging opponents on paper. Young is 6-1 against Kudla in the h2h, but Kudla clearly has an edge in form.
In the main draw Dolgopolov will have a punchers chance at an upset against Grigor Dimitrov, a fellow shotmaker, Gulbis faces one of his best friends on tour Dominic Thiem, Lu will have a chance to avenge his defeat to Vasek Pospisil in Atlanta and Youzhny faces a struggling Viktor Troicki in a winnable match.