Former NCAA star Sarkissian to make ATP Main Draw debut in Bogota (Weekend Qualifying Wrap Up Bogota/Bastad) Steen Kirby and Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
ATP Bogota Qualifying
2015 Claro Open Colombia Qualifying Recap
2014 NCAA championship runner-up Alexander Sarkissian, a graduate of Pepperdine University, highlights the list of qualifiers for the ATP Bogota main draw. Three other players booked their spots in the draw via qualifying on Monday alongside him.
Sarkissian, who has been fantastic this season, posting a 43-15 record at primarily the futures level, with a few challengers mixed in, including Gimcheon where he took the title on hard courts, beat Juan Montes and Facundo Mena by a combined score of 24-7 in games. The California native will now face the unseeded John Millman in a winnable round 1 match, as he makes his ATP main draw debut. Given his results since turning pro, and his success in college, I’m sure we will see more of him in the future at the ATP level.
26 year old doubles specialist Marcelo Demoliner,a Brazilian, will also be making a surprise appearance in an ATP main draw. Demoliner beat Jesus Francisco Felix, Marco Chiudinelli, a Swiss veteran, and former GA Tech product Kevin King to qualify. His first round match will be against Illya Marchenko, another unseeded hard courter.
23 year old Alejandro Gomez will be making his ATP main draw debut in front of supportive home fans, Gomez beat Andres Molteni in a close three setter in round 2, and prior to that beat Felipe Rojas in straights. He completed qualifying with a routine win over Juan Ignacio Londero. Gomez is unlikely to find much success in his debut as his first round opponent is the accomplished veteran Marcos Baghdatis.
Last but not least, qualifying top seed and grass court specialist Matt Ebden also found success on the quick courts in Bogota. He beat doubles specialist Colin Fleming in three sets, and then beat Juan Sebastian Gomez to qualify. Ebden will get a winnable round 1 match against Tatsuma Ito to start off with.
Top seed Paul-Henri Mathieu was one of four men to successfully qualify for the main draw of the 68th Swedish Open, which takes place on clay.
The Frenchman was impressive throughout the three rounds as he didn’t drop a set. After beating wild card Daniel Windahl and Australia’s Peter Luczak, who came out of retirement to play qualifying for fun, Mathieu set up a final round match against 5th seed Giovanni Lapentti. The Ecuadorian player is currently ranked 75 places below Mathieu. Lapentti, who hasn’t played in a Grand Slam since the 2009 US Open, best result of 2015 was a runner-up position at the ATP Cali Challenger last May. Mathieu experienced little difficulty as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-3, victory after an hour and 13 minutes.
31-year-old Rogério Dutra Silva qualified for his first ATP tournament main draw since April following a 6-2,6-4, win against Stéphane Robert. The Brazilian is yet to win a title in 2015 but came close in the ATP Milan Challenger, where he was runner up to Federico Delbonis. Prior to Robert, Silva also produced a solid win against tricky opponent Mischa Zverev. Zverev stunned Dominic Thiem and Andreas Seppi last month in Stuttgart but has recently encountered some disappointing results. Silva hasn’t won a main draw ATP level match since Sao Paulo in February 2014.
Andrea Arnaboldi endured a tough final match against Belarus’s Maxim Dubarenco to progress to the main draw. After a close opening set, which consisted of two breaks of service for the Italian, Arnaboldi battled to win 7-6(5), 6-3. The Italian was full of confidence coming into Bastad following his run to the last eight of a Challenger event in Todi, Italy. The 27-year-old justified his wild-card into the Italian event by defeating Victor Hanescu and Andrej Martin before prevailing to Matteo Donati.
Finally Julian Reister was the only man to beat two seeded players during the qualifying competition. In the second round, he produced a 6-3,6-4 win over 4th seed Renzo Olivo to set up a final match with 8th seed Constant Lestienne. World No.334 Lestienne reached his first ATP main draw in Estoril earlier this year. The Frenchman was however no match for Reister as the German won 6-4, 6-3.
Julien Reister GER v Alexander Zverev GER – First meeting
Rogerio Dutra Silva BRA v Federico Delbonis ARG – Rematch of the 2015 Milan Challenger final. On that occasion Delbonis won 6-1, 7-6 (6).
Andrea Arnaboldi ITA v Jerzy Janowicz POL – Janowicz won their only previous meeting which was at the 2010 Trani Challenger.
Paul-Henri Mathieu FRA v Jeremy Chardy FRA – Chardy leads the head-to-head 3-1, however, their most recent meeting was in 2012.
Finally a day without rain at Roland Garros! I started my day watching from my favorite spot in the stands Alex Zverev-Igor Sijsling and Elias Ymer-Blaz Rola.
The Swedish young gun Ymer confirmed the good impression I had against Marcora and gave a lesson to Rola until 6-2 5-0, then he lost focus and had to save a break point on 6-2 5-3. Apart from this little choke it was another solid performance for him. Ymer d. Rola 6-2 6-3
I could not believe my eyes watching Sijsling-Zverev tied on 6-6: The Dutchman had dictated every rally and was by far the best player on court. He missed a lot of easy shots during first set but managed to stay focused during tiebreak while Zverev was wasting mental energies discussing with umpire about marks.
"You are crazy! You are wroooong! And you dont want overrule now" Zverev to umpire. Sick angry. Disagree on the mark of Sijsling ace. #RG15
As he often does, Sijsling fell apart from nowhere and in a few minutes he was 76 03. He is an unpredictable player, capable of big shots and big chokes. I went to other cours from there but came back to record Zverev’s reaction after the end of the match
Sijsling d. Zverev 7-6 2-6 7-5
I later attended Gastao Elias-Guido Pella, I arrived when Elias was 0-3 down third set but he fought on every single point and managed to comeback: he later saved a match point with a great serve. Pella won a 30 shot rally on 5-5 15-40 but then Elias broke him and served it out. It was an intense, and close match. Elias d. Pella 7-5 5-7 7-5
On the opposite court I could see Jana Cepelova having a MTO on 3-6 0-3 down..she lost 0-6 a few minutes later. Katerina Bondarenko d. Cepelova 6-1 6-0
I later moved to Veronica Cepede Royg that had on paper a very tough match against Laura Siegemund but as I wrote yesterday she looked great against CiCi Bellis so I was looking for a confirmation of that, and found it. Cepede Royg was again extremely solid and defeated her opponent in straights.
Cepede Royg d. Siegemund 6-3 7-5
Cepede Royg confirming the very good impression from yesterday
Jared Donaldson trashed the Indian Ramkumar Ramanathan as I expected: the (extremely loud) Indian gave everything on court but won only 2 games: The American Donaldson is in tremendous form. Donaldson d. Ramanathan 6-2 6-0
Andrea Arnaboldi- Pierre-Hugues Herbert resumed from 15-15 and they arrived to 25-26 with a pretty clear edge for Arnaboldi, as Herbert was not as clutch that said, credit to Herbert that played great risky tennis when needed.
Arnaboldi won the longest match in RG qualies with this winning return.
Arnaboldi d. Herbert 6-4 3-6 27-25
Quick impression from the huge serve of Beatriz Haddad Maia (who beat Nastassya Burnett 6-3 6-3) and for the amazing classy tennis of Alexa Glatch: her backhand slice his amazingly effective and I was glad to watch also two dropshot returns. The clean play produced a 7-6 6-2 victory for her over Ekaterina Bychkova.
Clothilde De Bernardi won another match that on paper should not have won. I was impressed by Anett Kontaveit’s power yesterday but the girl from Corse managed to dismantle it alternating hard hitting to moonballing. I didn’t expect De Bernardi to win against Larcher De Brito nor today so I would not be surprised at all if she will win tomorrow: she has a great support from the public and she seems to enjoy playing tennis. De Bernardi d. Kontaveit 2-6 6-4 6-4
I was curious to watch for the first time the talent of Ons Jabeur and she didn’t disappoint me, her volley and her dropshots were amazing but the lack of fitness cost her the match at the end of third set. She plays an aggressive and risky tennis so when tired errors come quite easily. She was very angry at the end of the match
At the end of this match I moved to Calvin Hemery- Radu Albot: I knew that Hemery saved 5 mps during second set and was leading by two breaks in the third. I came back when he got broken on *4-1 and was expecting him to choke so close to the biggest win of his career. He played superb games on *4-3 and on *5-4, playing with low margin but everything stayed in: Albot could not believe his eyes. At the end of the match Hemery was shaking his legs as at beginning of cramping: not sure if because of the tension or tiredness. Hemery plays a very aggressive tennis and has a good serve, one to watch for sure in next months. Hemery d. Albot 2-6 7-6 6-4
What a long day once again! As tennis was played at Roland Garros for over 12 hours on court from 10 am to 9.30 pm when last match was suspended due to darkness.
I will begin by discussing a match played at the end of the day: Andrea Arnaboldi – Pierre-Hugues Herbert has been (and still is!) a pretty epic match. Arnaboldi started playing great attacking tennis (*5-2 up), I left on 6-4 and it was clear that the Frenchman had stepped up his level. I came back later on 5-5 third set and players kept holding quite easily. Arnaboldi missed a really feasible passing shot when he had the one and only match point. Match will be resumed tomorrow from 15-14 Arnaboldi.
I didn’t watch many other men’s matches, just the end of Norbert Gombos-Yoshihito Nishioka (The Japanese saved 2 mps, the second one with an incredible dropshot, and after that Gombos lost his compsure, and the match in abrupt fashion), and the third set of Radu Albot- Liam Broady with the Moldavian being more consistent and pulling out a win. I also caught the the end of Aleksandr Nedovyesov-Yuki Bhambri, as Bhambri won again, forcing his opponent to play too many risky shots.
Nishioka d. Gombos 2-6 6-2 8-6 Albot d. Broady 6-7 7-6 6-2 Bhambri d. Nedovyesov 6-3 3-6 9-7
Luca Vanni against Thomas Fabbiano was a strange match, until the beginning of second set Fabbiano looked like he would bet the winner, but then some clouds helped Vanni, because without the sun he looked fresher, and started playing more aggressive. Fabbiano was just defending and Vanni had an easy time winning the match from a set down.
I don’t follow WTA that much but I know women’s tennis is famous for being full of drama, and today we had at least two epic matches.
First one was Michelle Larcher De Brito against Clothilde De Bernardi. I admit that I went to this match just because some Portuguese fans asked me on Twitter. To my pleasant surprise it was a great match with both players hitting hard and looking for winners! I didn’t expect De Bernardi being so good and I thought she was done when she went from *2-1 40-15 to 2-4 during third set. The great support fo the public helped the Frenchwoman who refused to give up and managed to go *5-4 up when it started raining. Larcher De Brito was desperate for the De Bernardi comeback and started crying, asking the umpire to stop the match for the rain. The umpire rejected her request and a few seconds later the Portuguese woman was crying again but going off the court.
De Bernardi d. De Brito 4-6 6-2 6-4
Out of focus but I love this pic. That commiserating look could have been mine. Sad to watch girls crying on court pic.twitter.com/SM8rvbGPLE
Kania obviously won and here is a short video that shows how that happened
Kania d. Kudryavtseva 7-5 6-4
Earlier I watched Anett Kontaveit against Kat Stewart and I have to say I was very very impressed by the Estonian Kontaveit. She has stunning power and Stewart was outplayed there. When I was on the stands I heard a guy telling to Kontaveit’s coach “It’s over” on 6-3 3-0, the coach replied “Never say that!”. That was pure jinxing because Stewart fought and came back but Kontaveit managed to win the second set tiebreak.
I watched also first set of the 16 yo Tessah Andrianjafitrimo and the girl has been quite impressive: short and with a pretty weak serve but she moves very well and from baseline is dangerous. Surely one to watch in the future, she beat Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in straights.
Quick impressions also in regards to Nastassja Burnett (outpowered Lin Zhu), Elizaveta Kulichkova (far from being impressive against Yi-Fan Xu), and Naomi Broady (great performance on serve against Cagla Buyukakcay).
Burnett d. Zhu 6-2 6-1
Kulichkova d. Xu 6-2 6-2 Broady d. Buyukakcay 6-1 7-6
I watched the second set of Veronica Cepede Royg-CiCi Bellis and that set was surprisingly a bagel. Bellis didn’t play bad tennis at all but on clay she didn’t manage to find a way to hit through the short girl from Paraguay. Cepede Royg played an excellent match, perfect from baseline.
2015 Roland Garros Men’s Qualifying Preview and Predictions Chris de Waard, Tennis Atlantic
The start of the Roland Garros men’s main draw is nearing, but first we will have 128 players competing in the qualifying draw, who will be battling it out for sixteen coveted spots in that main draw.
2015 RG Men’s Qualies Predictions
Top 16 seeds (of 32 total)
1: Hyeon Chung
2: Alexander Zverev
3: Facundo Bagnis
4: Blaz Rola
5: Dustin Brown
6: Luca Vanni
7: Norbert Gombos
8: James Ward
9: Alejandro Gonzalez
10: Kimmer Coppejans
11: Alejandro Falla
12: Adrian Menendez-Maceiras
13: Guido Pella
14: Aleksandr Nedovyesov
15: Tobias Kamke
16: Austin Krajicek
First round match-ups to watch:
(4) Blaz Rola – Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo
Ramirez Hidalgo is 37, but has only improved since the start of this year. Almost out of the top 250 in February, he now is ranked inside of the top 200 again after two semi-finals and two quarterfinals on the Challenger circuit. He is also exactly the type of player Rola might struggle with at this moment. Rola is coming off bad losses against world #515 Rogerio Dutra Silva and #250 Giovanni Lapentti in his last two tournaments.
This is the biggest chance of one of the highest seeds getting knocked out. Brown has been struggling the entire year, first one the main tour and recently even at the Challengers. Daniel knew a rocky start to the year, changing his schedule in an attempt to become more capable on hardcourts, but ever since switching back to clay his results have improved, with the highlight being his title at Vercelli last month.
(11) Alejandro Falla – Lamine Ouahab
Ouahab very nearly made the cut and it will be interesting to see how he will perform here. He is obviously infamous for only bringing his best tennis when he plays in Morocco, repeating that this year with three Futures titles, a Challenger title and a quarterfinal at the ATP 250 of Casablanca, where he beat world #24 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round.
(14) Aleksandr Nedovyesov – Yuki Bhambri
An unfortunate draw for Nedovyesov, drawing a Bhambri who is arguably playing the best tennis of his career, after struggling with injury for a long time. Bhambri comes off a clay final in Samarkand, where he lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili.
Edmund has shown good consistency on clay in recent times, reaching three Challenger quarterfinals in a row, but it’s clear that it’s not his best surface. This is not the case for Melzer, who just comes off a dream run at the ATP 250 event of Munich, where he beat #42 Pablo Andujar (by retirement), #44 Dominic Thiem and took a set off #26 Philipp Kohlschreiber in the semi-final.
18-year-old top seed Hyeon Chung is currently ranked #69 and came into the qualifying event after missing the entry deadline due to a misunderstanding from the Korean tennis association, with the Roland Garros organization making a very unique exception in handing him a wildcard. Naturally, Chung is the big favorite to qualify, with perhaps Nikoloz Basilashvili being the only player that can threaten him on a good day.
The second section knows a similarly big favorite in Alexander Zverev, also 18. Up until recently this might not have been the case due to Zverev’s results being seriously lacking, but recently he has really picked up his game. This saw him winning the Heilbronn Challenger and entering the top 100 last week. He faces Horacio Zeballos in the first round, who is a shadow of his former self and lost 6-4 6-2 to Zverev in the first round last week. The other players in this section don’t have clay as their favorite surface and perhaps Marius Copil is the only one who can threaten Zverev, in the final qualifying round.
Third seed Facundo Bagnis has been playing on green clay in the United States in the lead-up to Roland Garros, with very mixed results. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him go out against one of Renzo Olivo, Andrea Arnaboldi or Denis Kudla in the final qualifying round. Arnaboldi and Kudla face off in a very interesting first round clash, in which Arnaboldi has to be marked the slight favorite, despite Kudla being the seeded player (#30).
The fourth quarter is a highly interesting one, with a bunch of players who could go through. As said, Rola and Ramirez Hidalgo face off in the first round, but Roberto Carballes Baena, Elias Ymer and Thiemo de Bakker are placed in this section as well and might be more likely than fourth seed Rola to go through, with De Bakker coming off a final in Bordeaux last week. Although the Dutchman is highly inconsistent and might well return to mediocrity this week. Carballes Baena plays Peter Gojowczyk in the first round, but the German is just coming back from a lengthy injury lay-off and it’s far from certain if he is healthy enough to be a factor here. Carballes Baena might just have the consistent game to come through this section.
To qualify from this quarter: (1) Chung, (2) Zverev, Arnaboldi and Carballes Baena
As mentioned, fifth seed Brown has a horror draw against Daniel, with the Japanese clay court specialist actually being the slight favorite in their match. The main draw spot will highly likely be reached by someone in the top section, with Marton Fucsovics also being in the mix. The bottom section is headed by Michal Przysiezny and is unlikely to produce someone who can threaten the three candidates from the top half.
Sixth seed Luca Vanni has been one of the revelations this season, making a breakthrough out of virtually nowhere at Sao Paulo, where he reached the final and almost took down the title, but eventually fell to Pablo Cuevas after a long battle. He has a tricky opening round against Adrian Ungur, but should come through and reach the main draw after beating the highly unpredictable Andrey Golubev in the final qualifying round.
Seventh seed Norbert Gombos heads a section that could go either way. Outside of him, Yoshihito Nishioka and Guilherme Clezar all have a fair shot at qualifying as well. #23 seed Farrukh Dustov is in atrocious form at the moment and is unlikely to play a role. Given that Gombos and Clezar aren’t in the best form of their lives either, this might be a golden opportunity for 19-year-old Nishioka to come through.
The eighth section is very hard to predict, with a wide variety of players having a shot at going through. James Ward and James McGee don’t have clay as their best surface, with with highly unpredictable players like Christian Lindell, Christian Garin and Daniel Munoz-De La Nava being their competition, being solid might just prove to be enough.
To qualify from this quarter: Daniel, (6) Vanni, Nishioka and (28) Munoz-De La Nava
Ninth seed Alejandro Gonzalez heads this section, but he comes off a demolition job in the first qualifying round of Rome, where he lost 6-2 6-0 to Thomaz Bellucci. The other seed here, Albert Montanes, seems to be heading towards retirement, which makes this an interesting opportunity for Andre Ghem or Antonio Veic, who face off in the first round. With Ghem being the more consistent of the two, this might be a golden opportunity for the 32-year-old to qualify for his first Roland Garros, although Gonzalez will still be the favorite to go through.
Tenth seed Kimmer Coppejans is hard to ignore in the next section, playing the tennis of his life. Last month he reached two Challenger finals on clay, winning one of them and it’s unlikely that anyone in his section will trouble him. Radu Albot might come close, but he is more at home on hardcourts.
As mentioned, eleventh seed Alejandro Falla faces off against cult hero Lamine Ouahab in the first round. If we pretend that Ouahab is a normal player this is a draw from heaven for him, if he beats Falla he is projected to play Niels Desein/Maxime Authom and Rui Machado/Alexander Kudryavtsev, but since Roland Garros isn’t played in Morocco it’s just as likely he will lose 6-2 6-2 to Falla. Nevertheless, given that this section has no other stand-out favorite, I might as well let my hopes guide me and predict him to go through.
Closing this quarter is a section headed by Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, the 29-year-old Spaniard who is making an unexpected rise and is playing the tennis of his life, nearing the top 100. Based on recent form I have to go with Gerald Melzer, however, who is also a lot more at home on clay than Menendez-Maceiras. Nicolas Jarry, Potito Starace and Kyle Edmund are dangerous outsiders in this section.
To qualify from this quarter: (9) Gonzalez, (10) Coppejans, Ouahab and Melzer
Thirteenth seed Guido Pella has been in more than excellent form, taking down titles in San Luis Potosi and Sao Paulo, plus reaching a final and semi-final in Heilbronn and Santos, making him the big favorite to advance from this section. Pella has an interesting rivalry with Facundo Arguello, the other seed here and the only one who could potentially threaten him, with their head to head being 3-3. They have met twice this year, remarkably with Pella taking the first meeting 6-4 6-3 and Arguello the second one 6-2 6-3. Nevertheless, Pella should be marked the favorite.
The next section might go between two unseeded players, Yuki Bhambri and Jason Kubler, with Bhambri having the edge. Bhambri is severely underranked after coming back from injury, which he showed by reaching the Samarkand final last week. He is a favorite against fourteenth seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the first round and against the other players in this section as well, which includes Jurgen Zopp and Matthias Bachinger.
Fifteenth seed Tobias Kamke heads the by far weakest section of this draw, which also includes Evgeny Donskoy, Iliya Marchenko and Somdev Devvarman. Not only is Kamke on an eleven-match losing streak, none of the other players is strong on clay. Normally Pere Riba would be the favorite here, but he hasn’t played all year due to injury and is far from certain to be match fit. No matter who goes through, he will likely be a very easy opponent in the first round of the main draw.
The final section should be a prey for Marco Cecchinato, who won the Turin Challenger two weeks ago and is in excellent form. He has a very favorable draw against players who don’t favor clay, with the only competition perhaps coming in the final qualifying round, where he is projected to face Austin Krajicek or Filippo Volandri, both of whom will be a solid underdog against Cecchinato.
ATP Rome qualifying for 2015 was stacked as numerous players who regularly feature in ATP main draw competition were forced to enter the qualifying tournament to try and earn a place in the Masters main draw.
While ATP regulars such as Denis Istomin, Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Jurgen Melzer, and Pablo Carreno Busta failed to qualify, Alex Dolgopolov and Thomaz Bellucci were the highlights of the qualification field. Dolgopolov, who has slipped to 73 in the rankings, after formerly being a top 20 player, defeated Roberto Marcora, and then Federico Delbonis without dropping a set. Martin Klizan, a beatable opponent, awaits him in round 1.
Bellucci, who qualified in Madrid, and reached the quarters in Istanbul as well, will open with another qualifier, Diego Schwartzman, in the main draw. He defeated Alejandro Gonzalez with a bagel, and then beat Ivan Dodig, who continues to struggle, in straight sets. Schwartzman, a semifinalist in Istanbul, beat Andrey Kuznetsov, then scored a minor upset over Benoit Paire in three sets, as he won the first and third sets.
A pair of Italians qualified on home soil in Rome, Andrea Arnaboldi, a 27 year old ranked just outside the top 200 with extremely limited ATP experience upset Mikhail Kukushkin in round 1, in three sets, and then beat his countryman Stefano Napolitano on Rome’s famed red clay to qualify. He’ll have a tough opponent in the form of David Goffin in round 1 of the main draw. Thomas Fabbiano, a 25 year old who is also just outside the top 200 in the rankings, added to the home fan’s delight as he qualified with an upset victory over young gun Andrey Rublev. Fabbiano in fact scored a pair of upsets as he beat Joao Souza in the previous round. His first round opponent Richard Gasquet will be a big step up however.
Last but not least, Dusan Lajovic and Marsel Ilhan both joined the main draw. Lajovic, a 24 year old Serb nearing the top 70, beat Marco Cecchinato, an Italian, and then upset Borna Coric, as the young guns have not fared well in Rome thus far. He won both of those matches without dropping a set, and he’ll look to improve his clay court record in the main draw now, as he will face the accomplished Juan Monaco. Ilhan, the great Turkish hope, did one better than his loss in the final round qualifying of Madrid, as he defeated Gianluca Mager to qualify, and prior to that, he upset the in-form Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straight sets. Ilhan has a very winnable round 1 match with Adrian Mannarino next up.
2015 Glasgow Challenger Day 2 Report: Home Brits Including Marcus Willis Score Round 1 Wins Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
Due to travel I missed the first day of the Glasgow event, on the Aegon GB Pro Series but I am here for days two, three and four. The first match on the main court was a women’s singles qualifying match between Alice Matteucci [ITA] and Isabelle Wallace [GBR]. The 17 year old Brit is ranked 683 in the world, over 200 places behind her 18 year old opponent. However it was Wallace that came out firing as she held to 15 and broke her opponent the next game. Matteucci seemed to be struggling with serve, hitting 3 double faults on her way to being broken. The Italian called a medical time out at the end of the game and unfortunately retired 2 points later. A rather disappointing way to start the tennis day.
After getting a brief look at some of the womens talent on display, it was time for the first mens singles match of the day. The number 4 seed Andrej Martin faced Germany’s Nils Langer. Both players struggled on serve in the first set, serving below 50% and hitting a combined 8 double faults. Martin missed his opportunity to serve at the first set a 5-4, but it didn’t matter in the end as he the Slovak dominated the tiebreak to take the first set 7-6. There were some absorbing rallies, and good all court play from both players but ultimately the world number 185 was too strong. Martin breaks Langer to take the match in straight sets.
My attention soon turned to court 8 as the match between eighth seed Matteo Viola, and British qualifier Marcus Willis was about to begin. Willis has defeated Daniel Evans to qualify for the event, so he was coming into the match in good form; and he soon showed it. Using his big serve and variety, the Brit took apart his Italian opponent in less than an hour. 6-2,6-2 was the final result, resulting in a rather tame exit for the number eight seed. As for Willis, watching this match made me wonder why Willis is ranked 357 in the world. He has certainly showed that he has the talent to be ranked a lot higher. His use of the slice, drop shot and serve were particularly impressive today.
Whilst Willis was busy defeating Viola, another Brit took to the court on number six. Roughly 100 places separate Daniel Smethurst and Andrea Arnaboldi in the rankings, but that didn’t matter to the British wildcard. The match was as tight as you can get, but Smethurst managed to squeak the lead, 7-5. The Brit’s ability to come to the net effectively was causing the fifth seed problems, but Arnaboldi seemingly found a way to counter it. The Italian broke to serve for the set, but the Smethurst remained headstrong and broke back to make it 5-4. The set seemed destined for a tiebreaker at this point, and that’s what we got. Smethurst got the early mini-break and raced ahead to a 6-1 lead. Arnaboldi was game enough to save three match points, but at 6-4, Smethurst delivered an un-returnable serve to seal the match. The good fortune of the British players continued.
There was a guarantee that another British player would advance to the second round as an all British clash was next on court 6. Edward Corrie faced Alexander Ward in what turned out to be on of the more one sided matches of the afternoon. Ward came out of the blocks firing serves like Ivo Karlovic, but it wasn’t too long before Corrie took control of the match. 100 places separated them in the rankings, and it certainly showed as Corrie tightened his grip on the match with his more aggressive play. The world 243 broke to win the first set, and early in the 2nd set on his way to sealing a comfortable 6-3,6-3 victory.
The last British hopeful was a local player named Ewan Moore. He faced Italian Roberto Mancora, who is ranked 233 in the world. It was all too easy for Mancora as he raced to a straight sets win in under an hour.
In other results, Maxime Authom straight setted Ireland’s Louk Sorensen for the loss of two games. Tristan Lamasine dispatched his qualifier opponent, Pirmin Haenle in straight sets 6-2,7-6. Finally in the only three setter of the day, Pedja Krstin came from a set down to beat higher ranked opponent Jozef Kovalik 3-6,6-3,6-3.
The action will continue tomorrow with the rest of the ATP challenger first round matches, and the start of the ITF women’s singles main draw featuring Tennis Atlantic’s own, Conny Perrin.