2013 Winnetka Challenger Preview
Nielsen Pro Tennis Championship
USTA Pro Circuit
Winnetka, Illinois, USA
July 1-July 6, 2013
Prize Money: $50,000
Apologies for the late preview. With Wimbledon going on, it can be easy to forget that the USTA Men’s Pro Circuit is back. This time they’re in Winnetka, Illinois on hard courts, with $50,000 in prize money on the line and ATP Challenger Tour points.
Top 8 seeds
1: Alex Bogomolov
2: Steve Johnson
3: Jack Sock
4: Tim Smyczek
5: Somdev Devvarman
6: Mischa Zverev
7: Donald Young
8: Bradley Klahn
This is a very typical USTA challenger field.
First round matchups to watch:
(4)Tim Smyczek vs. Yuki Bhambri
Smyczek, who went an even 3-3 on grass this year, switches back to his preferred hard courts and will take on formerly top 200 player Yuki Bhambri. Bhambri hasn’t played since April because of injury. At only 20, Bhambri is still considered a player with potential, but he has some work to do in order to catch up with some of his peers. This is their first meeting.
Alex Bogomolov has a respectable hard court record this year and is back near the top 80. He starts with Erik Chvojka and then Adrian Bossel or Eric Quigley. Quigley is a former Kentucky Wildcats player while Bossel has had a decent futures record.
In the quarters, Bogo could face Mischa Zverev/Tennys Sandgren or Evan King/Jason Jung. Zverev notably made quarters in Halle before being double-bageled by Roger Federer. Sandgren, meanwhile, is on a pretty bad losing streak and hasn’t notched consecutive wins at any event since March. King is a former Michigan Wolverines standout and was the 2013 Big Ten athlete of the year.
The Smyczek/Bhambri winner will face Christian Harrison or Adam Feeney and Harrison should be pretty happy to get back on hardcourts after a couple of European clay losses in a row.
Bradley Klahn is at a career high ranking of 178, even with 2 straight losses on grass. He opens with Farrukh Dustov, who has been competitive on both clay and grass recently. After that, Robby Ginepri or a qualifier will be his opponent. Ginepri hasn’t played a tournament match in a month.
Newly minted top 100 player Steve Johnson, who lost in the opening round of Wimbledon, will play Michael McClune before facing Michael Venus or Ante Pavic. In the quarters, Johnson should face Somdev Devvarman, if Dev can beat a qualifier. Dev will also have to play Saketh Myneni or Dennis Nevolo of the University of Illinois, a wild card recipient. Johnson just beat Devvarman on grass in Nottingham.
Jack Sock is busting on the door of the top 100 and opens with Fritz Wolmarans and then Austin Krajicek or Alex Bogdanovic. In the quarters, Sock should face Donald Young, but also watch out for wild card Jarmere Jenkins. Jenkins plays a qualifier in the first round, like Donald Young, and he should play Young in R2. Jenkins just won a futures title and made the final in another recent futures tournament. He’s riding a hot streak right now.
Bogomolov d. Smyczek
Sock d. Devvarman
Not easy to pick, but Bogo should get out of the top section. Smyczek has a slight edge over Klahn, and Sock should beat Young/Jenkins. I’ll also go out on a limb and pick Devvarman over Johnson from the bottom section. Smyczek has a 2-0 h2h on Bogo, but I think Bogo is playing better right now and their last meeting was in 2010. Sock should avenge Devvarman for a loss on grass in the Nottingham Challenger.
Sock d. Bogomolov
That would be a rematch of a match that I was in the stands for in Atlanta last year. Sock should edge past Bogo again if this final comes to fruition.
—Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com