Super Sunday: Shocks and Surprises Occur In Bstaad and Umag
Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
This weekend was one of the busiest of the year for the 2016 ATP Tour with a total of seven events taking place as well as the Davis Cup. Amongst the seven was a duo of European qualifying tournaments in Croatia and Switzerland. Those events saw a series of shocks and surprises with the lower ranked players outdoing the achievements of the draw favourites.
The Swiss Open: Top seed Thiago Monteiro Strolls into the main draw
The qualifying draw for the 49th Swiss Open was perhaps one of the easiest for top seed Brazilian player Thiago Monteiro. The 22-year-old is currently at a ranking high of 122nd in the world and won his first Challenger titles earlier this year in Aix En Provence, France. Playing in Gstaad, he had the luxury of receiving a first round bye in qualifying. Targeting a spot in the main draw, Monteiro faced Italy’s Matteo Trevisan, who upset sixth seed Miki Jankovic in the first round. The top seed eased into the main draw by crushing Trevisan 6-2, 6-1, in just 57 minutes.
A total of five home players participated in the qualifying draw, however, only one of them was successful. Former top-200 player Yann Marti reached his first ATP main draw for two years by upsetting two seeded players. After stunning Argentine second seed Marco Trungelliti 7-6(2), 6-3, he encountered tougher resistance from seventh seed Tomas Lipovsek Puches. Puches achieved a ranking best of 250th in April this year. In the roller coaster encounter, Marti battled past the seventh seed 6-0, 3-6, 6-4, to reach his fourth Gstaad main draw.
Czech veteran Jan Mertl rolled back the years with his duo of straight sets wins. The 34-year-old was granted an easier draw in his section after third seed Nicolas Kicker crashed out at the first hurdle to Adrien Bossel. Facing Bossel in the final round, Mertl managed to win 6-1, 6-3, despite only managing to get 49% of his first serves in. He will now be bidding to get his first ever ATP main draw win at the age of 34.
Finally, fourth seed Tristan Lamasine came through qualifying for a second consecutive week following his triumph at the Swedish Open. The Frenchman recently achieved a milestone in his career by successfully qualifying for Wimbledon, his first grand slam main draw. His SW19 experience was short-lived after a straight sets loss to Viktor Troicki. At the Swiss Open he booked a showdown with Agustin Velotti after battling past Italy’s Marco Bortolotti 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3). He managed to squeeze into a qualifying place by defeating Velotti 7-5, 7-5, winning just five more points than his opponent.
First round matches:-
Q Yann Marti SWI Vs Q Jan Mertl CZE (head-to-head of 1-1)
Q Thiago Monteiro BRA Vs WC Antoine Bellier SWI (first meeting)
Q Tristan Lamasine FRA Vs Radu Albot MDA (head-to-head of 1-1)
Croatian delight for Enrique Lopez-Perez in Umag
Almost 500 miles away from the Swiss Open, the qualifying competition at the Croatian Open saw a duo of players produced milestone wins on the ATP Tour.
Spanish world No.201 Enrique Lopez-Perez has reached his maiden ATP main draw with a 6-4, 7-5, win over Argentina’s Juan Pablo Paz in the final round of qualifying. Lopez-Perez, who received a bye in the opening round, has already won back-to-back future titles in China earlier this year and reached the final of a Challenger tournament in Turin, Italy. Regardless of his performance in the main draw, the Spaniard is set to break the top-200 for the first time in his career.
Lopez-Perez wasn’t the only player to reach his first ATP main draw. Another was 25-year-old Serbian Nikola Cacic. Cacic has been ranked as high as 281st in 2014 before falling down the rankings after missing all of last year due to injury. Since returning to the tour, he has won a Futures title in Croatia, his first since 2014. He achieved the breakthrough by dismissing Czech player Michal Konečný 6-3, 6-2.
A more familiar name to grab a qualifying spot was Brazil’s Andre Ghem. Since achieving his ranking high of 118th last year, Ghem has dropped outside the top-200 and hasn’t reached the semifinal at a tournament since a Brazilian Challenger event last September. Nevertheless, he has given his season a much needed boost with a hard fought 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over Croatian wild card Kristijan Mesaroš. Ghem will now be bidding to win his first ATP main draw match since the 2013 Dusseldorf Open, when he upset Juan Monaco in the first round.
Grabbing the final Umag qualifying spot was Austria’s Michael Linzer. Linzer secured his place by defeating two top-five players. In the opening round, the 26-year-old dismissed Spanish fifth seed Oriol Roca Batalla 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. Then in his final match, Linzer fired five aces during his 6-2, 6-4, win against French third seed Axel Michon.
First round matches :-
Q Andre Ghem BRA Vs Renzo Olivo ARG (Ghem leads the head-to-head 2-1)
Q Michael Linzer AUG Vs 8 Jiri Vesely CZE (first meeting)
Q Nikola Cacic SRB Vs Aljaz Bedene GBR (Bedene leads the head-to-head 1-0)
Q Enrique Lopez-Perez ESP Vs 7 Martin Klizan SLO (first meeting)