Tiafoe, Klizan lead 2015 ATP Winston-Salem Qualifying Pack
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Four qualifiers joined the large Winston-Salem Open field for 2015, as they demonstrated their good form in advance of the 2015 US Open.
Two of the players set to feature at the open, Martin Klizan, and young gun American Frances Tiafoe were the stars of the qualifying draw.
Klizan, a top 40 player, was a surprise entrant in the qualifying draw, and will now look to boost is below .500 hard court record this year at the main draw level with a good run in Winston-Salem. The Slovakian beat Eric Quigley in round 1 and Deiton Baughman in round 2 before finishing his sweep of American qualifying competitors with a straight set win over in-form American Bjorn Fratangelo who found his hopes of playing in an ATP main draw for the second straight week stopped in their tracks. Klizan scored a minor upset over Dominic Thiem in Cincinnati and is likely to get through round 1 given the lower ranked and less talented Marsel Ilhan is his opponent.
Frances Tiafoe failed to win a match in his main draw opportunity in Atlanta this summer, but he’ll get another crack at his first ATP main draw win as a professional against James Duckworth in the opening round in Winston-Salem. The confident 17 year old beat Patrick Daciek. Radu Albot, and fellow American Ryan Harrison to qualifying, beating the experienced baseline grinder Harrison in three sets, as he recovered from a first set breadstick to get the win. Tiafoe has already been awarded a main draw wild card for the US Open, so he gets to bypass qualifying, and he’s he has a lot of tennis ahead as he will also be playing in the US Open Juniors as he’s still 17 and got a wild card for that tournament.
Joining Klizan and Tiafoe in the main draw are a pair of Europeans, Marco Cecchinato and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Cecchinato normally prefers clay, but he has a surprisingly positive 7-6 hard court record on the season now, after blazing through qualifying without a set dropped against Andrew Carter, Skander Mansouri and Wil Spencer. He’ll open against Aljaz Bedene in round 1, another player who prefers clay.
Herbert, a 24 year old Frenchman and quasi doubles specialist, continued his success at the ATP qualifying level this season and relied on his serve to get past Kimmer Coppejans, Kevin King and Sekou Bangoura without dropping a set. Herbert had one of the tougher draws to qualify, so his results have been impressive in North Carolina and he’ll have a great chance to get a win over ATP veteran Sergiy Stakhovsky in round 1.