Radu Albot, Andrey Golubev Head to Main Stage at St. Petersburg Qualifying
Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
The St. Petersburg Open qualifying draw featured 21 Russian players which equalled to 65% of the draw. Despite the high Russian presence, none of them were able to qualify for the main draw of their home tournament.
Heading the field was Moldova’s Radu Albot who overcame a threatening first round match to qualify for the main draw. Facing world number 743 Mikhail Ledovskikh, Albot required over two hours on the court to win 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3. Despite the low ranking, Ledovskikh has been ranked as high as 151 back in 2008. After his first round scare, Albot reaffirmed his position as the top seed in the draw with two comfortable victories. In the second round, he defeated Alexandr Igoshin 6-4, 6-2. Then in the final round, he dropped three games against Valery Rudvev (6-3,6-0).Embed from Getty Images
Albot is currently ranked 99th in the world, 14 places below his career high. This year he became the first Moldovan in history to break into the ATP top 100. He claimed his first Challenger title for two years in Kolkata back in February. Albot will play 7th seed João Sousa in the first round at St Petersburg. He has played the Portuguese player twice before (both in 2013). During the Davis Cup Albot stage a big comeback from two sets down to beat Sousa. Meanwhile, in his other match at the Poznan Challenger, he lost 6-1, 6-2.Embed from Getty Images
Andrey Golubev’s route to the main draw was more convincing with three straight sets wins over a trio of Russian players. In the first round, he dismissed 17 year-old Kirill Kivattsev (6-1, 6-2) followed by another straight set win over world No.496 Evgeny Elistratov. His final opponent was Evgeny Tyurnev, who stunned 5th seed Nikola Mektic in the second round. Tyurnev was unable to produce another shock against Goulbev as the Kazakh player won 6-4,6-2.
Golubev is ranked 154 in the world which is a substantial distance from his 2010 career high of 33. This season has been disappointing for Golubev who is yet to reach the last four in a tournament. His 2015 main draw win-loss leading up to his first round match is 10-21. In the first round in Russia, he will play Benjamin Becker. Golubev last played Becker in 2010 when he lost 6-0,6-2.
Alexandre Sidorenko booked his place in the main draw after two surprise victories over the 7th and 3rd seed. Sidorenko is known best for winning the 2006 Australian Open boys title. His junior success has failed to progress to the pro tour with the Frenchman achieving a ranking best of 145 in 2009, currently he is ranked 508. In the second round, he defeated Estonian 7th seed Vladimir Ivanov. Ivanov is ranked 101 places higher than Sidorenko. In the final round, he faced a another stiff test against Russian third seed Alexander Kudryavtsev. The Frenchman was trailing a set and 4-2 before staging a mighty comeback to take the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Sidorenko will play in his first ATP World Tour main draw match since the 2010 BMW Open. In the first round he played Evgeny Donskoy. Sidorenko was the only qualifier to play on the first day of the main draw. Playing against a player ranked almost 400 places higher than him, the Frenchman prevailed 6-2, 6-4.
Finally 22-year-old Belarussian Yaraslav Shyla booked his placed in the final after defeating junior world No.43 Alexander Bublik (6-3,6-4). Shyla has won 2 Futures titles in his career and is currently ranked 366th in the world. Following his successful qualifying campaign, he will play in only his third ATP main draw event. In the main draw he will play Evgeny Donskoy.