Steen Kirby, Courtney Massey, Niall Clarke and Joe Craven, all of Tennis Atlantic, got together on Google Hangouts to discuss the 2015 ATP and WTA Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open Draws, making their predictions and previewing all of the action from March 12-March 22. In addition, Joe, who was a credentialed journalist at the GB vs. USA Davis Cup tie in Glasgow, gave some insights on that experience, and a discussion of the 2015 World Group round was held. Last, and certainly not least, Steen and Courtney debated on whether the Indian Wells tournament should be moved or demoted, with Steen saying yes, and Courtney saying no, while Joe also gave his 2 cents. Check out the link below and enjoy! Comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.
After the match fixing scandal featuring Denys Molchanov, which I already elaborated on in my preview, karma unfortunately didn’t strike down upon him. At the side of Andrey Rublev he managed to take down the doubles title. In the singles draw top seed Mikhail Kukushkin was out after the first round, getting ousted by Alex Kuznetsov, 6-2 4-6 6-3. Kuznetsov won another long match against Chase Buchanan in the second round, 6-4 3-6 7-6(0), before falling in his next match to the surprising semi-finalist Marco Trungelliti in yet another three set match, 1-6 6-3 6-4. Tim Smyczek gave the crowd plenty of entertainment as well, beating James McGee 3-6 6-4 7-5 in the first round after saving three match points, after which he went on to beat Ryan Harrison 6-2 3-6 6-1 in the second.
#5 seed Denis Kudla got easily beaten by John-Patrick Smith in the second round, falling 6-1 6-4. Smyczek in his turn beat both Smith and Trungelliti in straight sets to secure himself a place in the final. In the bottom half it became painfully clear that Ryan Sweeting isn’t ready for this level yet, falling 6-0 6-2 to Guido Andreozzi in the first round. The world number one in juniors, Andrey Rublev, made a great impression as he beat #3 seed Blaz Rola in the first round and played arguably the highest quality match of the tournament against Rajeev Ram, falling 3-6 6-2 7-5 in the quarterfinal. Ram beat #2 seed Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-7 6-4 6-3 to set up a place in the final against Smyczek, but that turned out to be a very anticlimactic one. Ram was forced to retire at 6-2 4-1 down due to illness, handing the title to Smyczek. It was nevertheless a big occasion for Smyczek, as he re-entered the top 100 at #80, nearing his career high ranking of #73. Ram jumped fourteen spots to #125.
This tournament turned out to be an absolutely brutal one for the seeded players, with only two of them making it out of the first round, of which one advanced further than that. The lucky one was #8 seed Hyeon Chung, who didn’t drop a set on his way to the semi-final. Benjamin Mitchell, who took out top seed James Duckworth 6-4 3-6 7-5 in the second round, reached the semi-final, where Alex Bolt took him out in a marathon match, 3-6 6-1 7-6(3). Chung faced all kinds of difficulties as well in his semi-final, as lucky loser Matthew Barton pushed him to the brink. Eventually Chung managed to prevail 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3 to set up a place in the final against Bolt. Here Chung’s convincing scorelines continued, as he beat Bolt 6-2 7-5 to take down his second Challenger title. Quite the feat for an eighteen year old! Naturally this result gave Chung a career high ranking, rising twenty-two spots to #129. Bolt also scooped up a career high ranking, jumping twenty-three spots to #168.
This was another tournament where the seeds struggled. Only top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov and #3 seed Ruben Bemelmans managed to get through to the semi-finals. Especially the exit of #8 seed Matteo Viola was most brutal, losing 6-2 6-2 to qualifier Marcus Willis in the first round. In the same section #2 seed Michal Przysiezny fell in the first round as well, losing 5-7 6-4 6-2 to David Guez. Guez managed to reach the semi-final, where he lost 6-3 7-5 to Bemelmans. Niels Desein turned out to be the surprise of the tournament. Having already ousted #7 seed Tim Puetz 6-3 6-2 in the first round, he absolutely humiliated Nedovyesov in the semi-final, leaving him no chance in a 6-1 6-1 obliteration.
This set us up for an all Belgian encounter between Desein and Bemelmans, which seemed to go in Bemelmans’ direction when he was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set. However, he failed to find a first serve, and Desein played some absolutely brilliant points to punish that. Bemelmans dropped serve and eventually capitulated in the tiebreak, with the match ending in a 7-6(4) 2-6 7-6(4) victory for Desein. It meant his first Challenger title, coming at the ripe age of 27. It also resulted in a new career high ranking of #155, improving forty spots. Bemelmans landed at #141, an improvement of twenty-three.
For more in depth reports of this tournament, check out the recaps of our onsite reporter Niall Clarke, which were posted throughout last week. He also did an excellent interview with runner-up Bemelmans, which is definitely worth reading!
An Interview With Ruben Bemelmans (@rubenbemelmans) From the GlasgowChallenger Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
Ruben Chatting with Niall
During my time in Glasgow I caught up with world number 163 Ruben Bemelmans. We discussed the Glasgow tournament, Davis Cup, and much more.
Of course you are playing Glasgow this week. How are you finding it thus far? “As a city I haven’t been able to go around, but I have been here for Davis Cup and it was very nice. As for the tournament, I believe that organisation with the shuttles could be a bit better for transportation. But it’s been a great tournament with a lot of players and a good level, and it’s always good to play in the UK.”
In your first round match against Adam Pavalsek you were a set and a break down. Tell us your thoughts on the match and how you adjusted to come from behind and win? “I just kept fighting. I didn’t feel my best because I played a tournament last week and came in on Monday, so I had to adjust to the balls and the courts. But I just kept fighting and I think I played more solid on the important points than him (Adam).”
How confident are you in taking home the title this week? “Title? I have to play second round first, so I am looking at it round by round. Obviously I have to play better to go further, but I am feeling good and confident. If I can keep raising my game and fighting round by round, who knows what will happen.”
You made the main draw at the Australian Open, but lost to Ivo Karlovic in the first round. How was your experience in Melbourne?” “To play Ivo isn’t as much fun as playing the other guys. He’s got a big serve, and he was on fire that day because he played amazing from the back. I played him a few times and I was a bit better from the back on them occasions, but in that match he smacked forehands everywhere so I had little chance. But I qualified with a lot of confidence, and now I am playing good so it was a good start to the year for me.”
You will be competing with Belgium in the Davis Cup next month and you will be facing Switzerland. What are your thoughts on that upcoming tie? :A lot depends on if the two big names will come (Wawrinka and Federer). It’s always a big question mark if they will come, but the latest news I heard was that Federer isn’t playing, but you never know he might decide to play the week before. If they both come it will be really tough for us. Of course we have David Goffin, Steve Darcis and myself as the number three, so it will be interesting if only one or neither of them come.”
Goffin of course has had a lot of recent success. How is that inspiring you as a fellow Belgian player? “I think what he achieved last year was unbelievable. I won’t say I will be able to do that, but it certainly pushes you for me, and makes it possible. We have practiced together and a lot of the time it was even, so I think you need to strike at the right time and be lucky, but you also need a lot of skill. But of course, David’s success is pushing everybody in Belgium to get better.”
What do you feel you have to do to become a consistent ATP main draw player? “I think I proved yesterday that if you keep fighting you are never done. The key for me is to keep going for every shot and not be afraid to make mistakes. It’s no secret in tennis that you have to keep going and work hard, so that’s what I need to do.”
What are your main goals for the 2015 season? “My first goal is to make the main draw at Roland Garros. I have no points to defend until the summer so everything I take now is a bonus. I picked up some points last week which will take me to around 150 in the world, so I think it’s a fair goal. My overall of course is to make the main draw in all the grand slams though.”
Thanks to Ruben for taking time out of his day to chat with Niall in Glasgow!
2015 Glasgow Challenger Day 4 Report: Pliskova a winner, Cox and Corrie Reach Quarters Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
My few days in Glasgow have been eventful. I have witnessed a lot of talent from both the ATP Challenger and ITF women’s tour, and It’s been very exciting and interesting. To start my final day, I watched women’s number two seed, Kristyna Pliskova face Great Britain’s Freya Christie. It was a tight affair in the first set, but the Czech managed to break at 5-5 and serve out the set comfortably. It looked like Pliskova was going to ru away with the match, as she broke early in the second and had opportunities to extend her lead. However Christie kept fighting, and the 17 year old soon found herself having opportunities of her own to take the lead in the second. The number two seed’s big serve and groundstrokes eventually took their toll as just like the first set, Pliskova broke at 5-5. The Czech soon raced to a 40-0 lead and three match points, but they went as quick as they came as came. Christie hadn’t given up the match just yet and fought to try get herself back on level terms. Pliskova was having none of it as she soon wrapped up the match to win 7-5,7-5.
Speaking after the match Pliskova said: “She was playing really well, and I didn’t expect it to be so tough. I also didn’t play as great as yesterday so that’s why it was so close, but I am happy I got through” “My key shot is the serve” she added. “It is my biggest weapon, and I am happy when I hit aces, so it’s most important to my game” When asked about her 2015 goals Pliskova answered: “This year I want to be in the top 100, which isn’t that far, so maybe I can reach top 50 but we’ll see”
Whilst Pliskova was defeating Christie, another Brit took to court six, albeit with reverse fortunes. Naomi Broady faced Russia’s Marta Sirotkina in the women’s singles, with hope of booking a quarter final spot. The match started fairly close, but the Brit found herself a set up after breaking her Russian opponent at 5-4. Broady continued that momentum into the second set, breaking early to establish a 2-0 lead. Sirotkina broke straight back however, showing her opponent she hadn’t given up the fight just yet. Despite the Russian’s best attempts to get back into the match, Broady proved to be too strong. Using her aggressive play, The Brit ran away with the second set 6-1 to secure another straight sets victory.
Next up on court six, it was an all British affair as wildcards Daniel Cox and Daniel Smethurst competed for a quarter final place. The first set lacked any real quality, as breaks were plenty. Cox improved tenfold however, whilst Smethurst struggled to play himself into the match. Cox took the first set 6-4 and didn’t look in any sort of trouble afterwards. An early break was followed quickly by another, and then another as Smethurst got more and more frustrated. The second set passed by quickly as Cox bageled his opponent with relative ease. 6-4, 6-0 was the final result as Cox booked his quarter final place.
Cox advances to the quarters-photo credit Glasgow challenger/Tennis Scotland
The next British hopeful to play on court six was Marcus Willis. The world number 357 was impressive in his round one victory over Matteo Viola, so I was looking forward to seeing if he could back it up against Maxime Authom. It didn’t bode well for the Brit in the early stages as he found himself a break down after the first game. After a comfortable hold by the Belgian, Willis found himself under more pressure on serve, but this time he managed to hold. Authom wouldn’t budge on his serve despite his opponent getting better and better, and as a result he took the first set 6-4. With Willis’ ground game ever improving he started to look more like the player who beat Dan Evans and Viola. The Brit soon found himself a break up in the second, with the match seemingly turning in his favour. Willis served out the set to level the score at 1-1 and have momentum in his favour. The qualifier seemingly had the match in his grasp with an early break, but Authom began getting himself into more of Willis’ service points and quickly broke back. From then on, Authom was in control, and despite Willis’ best attempts to get back in the match, Authom broke and served out the match to win 6-4,3-6,6-3 in a great contest.
I then went to catch the second set of Ruben Bemelmans vs Jonathan Eysseric, which was an interesting encounter. Both men showed their talents, but Bemelmans was just the little bit better at everything, and comfortably won 6-2,6-3.
During the conclusion of that match, number four seed Andrej Martin and Edward Corrie started their clash on court six. From what I gathered from my brief glimpses of the first set, it was a break-fest. Corrie got off to a flyer, getting an early 2-0 lead. However it was soon surrendered as Martin quickly broke back and broke again to go 3-2 up. Corrie broke back during the set, and then broke to win the set 6-4 in what seemed like a strange match. When the Bemelmans/Eysseric match had finished, I rushed over to catch the second set of this interesting encounter. At this point, Corrie had broken early in the second set and looked in control. The Brit led 5-3, but failed to serve the match out, as the game Slovak fought hard to keep himself in the match. It went to a tiebreak in which Martin drew the first mini break. His lead was short-lived as Corrie broke back and took the lead which gave him 2 match points at 6-4 In the breaker. The first was saved by Martin, who held on his own serve to put pressure on the Brit to see it out on his own serve. This time, Corrie didn’t make a mistake. The Brit upset the number four seed 6-4,7-6 to add yet another British name to the Quarter Final line up.
Corrie is another winning Brit-photo credit Glasgow challenger/tennis Scotland
Elsewhere, there were wins in the men’s singles for: Alexandr Nedovyesov, Roberto Marcora, and Niels Detsein. David Guez received a walkover. In the women’s there were wins for Nina Zander, Lesley Kerkhove, Katy Dunne, Ana Bogdan, Ysaline Bonaventure, and Stephanie Foretz.
That concludes my daily reports of Glasgow. It’s been a great few days and I will definitely come back next year if I can.
You can check out the final results in Chris De Waard’s recap this weekend.
2015 Glasgow Challenger Day 3 Report: Bemelmans fends off Pavlasek, Naomi Broady advances Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
Another cold day in Glasgow meant another day of tennis for me to enjoy. Despite the freezing temperature outside, there was a lot of hot action in the Scotstoun leisure centre today.
Firstly I went to court 4 to see our own Conny Perrin take on the number five seed Ysaline Bonaventure. It was a fairly hot tempered affair, which contrasted nicely to the weather. Bonaventure’s lefty serve and flat groundstrokes were enough to see her take the lead in the opening set, but at 5-3 the Belgian failed to serve it out. Perrin tried to use her variety to wrestle control from her opponent, but soon enough the Swiss found herself a set down. Bonaventure continued that momentum in the second set securing an early break whilst her coach cheered her on next to me. Both players were very much amped up during the match. Both players threw their rackets to the floor in frustration, and had words with the umpire about questionable line calls. Bonaventure however managed to keep her cool enough to serve out the match. 6-3,6-4 being the final result to the Belgian who was a bit too powerful for Perrin.
Speaking after the match Perrin told me that it was a ‘difficult’ match and that Bonaventure adapted well to everything she tried. Conny also told me that the courts are playing very slow, so it was difficult to hit through her opponent.
Next up was the number one seed in the mens singles Alexsandr Nedovyesov vs Peter Torebko of Germany. The Kazakh’s possessed the bigger weapons, but he was also wildly inconsistent. The German had his own struggles on serve, with his percentage being 35 for the whole match. There were plenty of breaks in this one, as both players struggled to really get a grip on serve, the most significant example coming at the end of the first set. Nedovyesov served for the set but couldn’t convert, and then in a reverse of fortunes Torebko had his chance to serve for it at 6-5, but the German also failed to close out the set. Therefore we were treated to a tiebreaker, which was largely dominated by the Kazakh, who’s forehand and ability at the net proved too much for his opponent. Tempers flared during the match with both men getting visually frustrated because they couldn’t hold on to serve and build an advantage. In the end Nedovyesov gained the upper-hand and earned the chance to serve for the match. In what became the familiar theme in this match, the top seed struggled closing it out, but In the end he got the job done to take the match 7-6,6-4.
It was back to the women’s for my second viewing of young Brit Isabelle Wallace. The 17 year old however fell easily to fellow qualifier Chloe Paquet 6-1,6-1. A big lesson for the young Brit.
I stuck around to see an all British clash as third seed Naomi Broady faced Tara Moore in the women’s singles. The big serving Broady raced into a 5-1 lead in the opening set, and was looking like she was going to run away with the match. Moore had other plans however, and she battled back to get the score to 5-3 before eventually losing the set. The second went pretty much the same, with Broady’s aggressiveness getting the better of her more defensive opponent. The third seed raced into a 5-2 lead and a chance to serve out the match. What proceeded was by far the longest game of the match as match points and break points came and went like the sun in Britain. Broady remained strong enough to seal the match 6-3,6-2, but it wasn’t as easy as the scoreline suggests.
Speaking post match Broady said: “Tara is a really good player, and we know each other’s game really well. So when it gets down to the last few points and you know you are close, you start over thinking it a little bit. She also had nothing to lose in the end, so she decided to go for her shots a little more and it made it difficult for me”
Broady made the main draw at Wimbledon in 2014, making it to round two before being defeated by Caroline Wozniacki. She spoke of her experience: “It was amazing. Caroline is the same age as me, and I have known her since juniors, and she’s such a great player, so I was happy we had a reasonably competitive match. I managed to play on court 1 too which was incredible, as I had the home fans behind me. Most players think Wimbledon is the best grand slam, but it’s a bit more special for the British players.”
The final men’s singles match on court six was an interesting match between Adam Pavlasek and Ruben Bemelmans. Pavlasek competed in the Hopman cup for the Czech Republic, and Bemelmans competed in the Australian Open, losing to Ivo Karlovic in the first round. The Czech was under pressure in his first service game, but he pulled through and broke his Belgian opponent in the next game. Pavlasek held serve for the rest of the set to secure it 6-3. You got the sense that Bemelmans was working his way into the match more and more as the first set went along, and in the second set he started to turn the match around in his favour. The Belgian took it 6-3 with some impressive shots helping him level the score. Pavlasek however didn’t let losing the lead get to him, because he soon re-established it in the third set; breaking Bemelmans to love at 2-1. The Czech held out to serve for the match, but Bemelmans kept fighting and soon found himself level on the scoreboard. It was only a few games later when the turnaround was complete, as he took the third set 7-5 to complete the closest encounter I have witnessed this week.
Whilst Pavlasek and Bemelmans were going at it on court 6, an upset was brewing on court eight. Number two seed, Michal Przysiezny was in the top 100 a year ago, but 12 months on, he has found himself losing in the opening round of a challenger event. France’s David Guez came from behind to defeat the Pole 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in what looked like a thrilling encounter.
Other results in the men’s singles included Britain’s Daniel Cox beating Matwe Middelkoop in straight sets, 6-4,6-1. Axel Michon also finds himself in the second round after Yan Marti retired from a set and two breaks down. There were also wins for Julian Reister, Niels Desein and Jonathan Eysseric.
In the women’s, there were victories for top seed Maryna Zanevska and number two seed Kristyna Pliskova.
I’ll be back for my final day in Glasgow, hoping for some more great tennis.
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.
The last direct acceptance is Daniel Nguyen, ranked 302nd. Mardy Fish is also back in action, playing his first tournament since August 2013, in the doubles draw together with Mark Knowles. They will play top seeds James Cerretani and James Cluskey in the first round.
By the time I am writing this, a highly controversial first round encounter between Denys Molchanov and Agustin Velotti has already taken place. There is no doubt that Molchanov fixed the match. Velotti started out as the underdog, but as he LOST the first set 7-5, his odd had dropped to 1.16. Unexpectedly, Velotti went on to win the next two sets, with $900,000 getting matched on Betfair and Molchanov putting on an awful acting performance as he acted disappointed after missing some ridiculously easy shots. You can watch the entire match here and see the spectacle for yourself: http://new.livestream.com/ATP/dallas2015court1/videos/75819670
Unfortunately, I have been following match-fixing in tennis since 2007 and the offenders get away with it in pretty much every instance. All we can do is spread the word after every case and hope things will finally change, urging the ITF and their Tennis Integrity Unit to do their jobs.
This will be an interesting encounter between two bad boys, hotheads, whatever you want to call it. Fact is they are often their own worst enemy, losing their cool on the court and losing matches because of it. Both had a good start to the season, but immediately regressed after that. Harrison won the Happy Valley Challenger, after which he lost first rounds to Wayne Odesnik and Dennis Novikov, while Williams got through the qualifying draw of Brisbane, but lost to world #877 Sandro Ehrat in the second round of the Maui Challenger last week.
The second section here is a really exciting one, with loads of interesting players having a shot to advance to the semi-final. Tim Smyczek, James McGee, Rhyne Williams, Ryan Harrison and Denis Kudla all fit that profile. Smyczek undoubtedly will be full of confidence after his showing against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, which also got him praise for a supreme moment of sportsmanship. There is a very good chance this will be the tournament that launches him back into the top 100 again.
It’s hard to look past second seed Teymuraz Gabashvili here. He landed in a section with a couple of low ranked players and is projected to face #6 seed Victor Hanescu in the quarterfinal, who has been on the way back for quite some time now. In the top section Rajeev Ram and Blaz Rola are likely to battle it out for a place in the semi-final, which should be a close encounter.
The last direct acceptance is Maverick Banes, ranked 353rd.
Second round match-up to watch
(8) Hyeon Chung – Radu Albot
18 year old Chung is a big prospect, who will undoubtedly crack the top 100 within a couple of years. He reached the semi-final of the Hong Kong Challenger last week, where he lost to Tatsuma Ito. With a lot of seeds going out early here in Burnie this week, he has an excellent chance to go far and crack the top 150 for the first time in his career.
Top seed James Duckworth should be able to go deep in this tournament and at the very least reach the final. That could create a very big result for him, as a tournament victory would give him a top 100 position for the first time in his career. He had a great start of the year, reaching the quarterfinal of Brisbane after beating Gilles Simon and Jarkko Nieminen, plus reaching the second round at the Australian Open. In the bottom section home player Alex Bolt has an excellent opportunity to come through and face Duckworth in the semi-final.
As mentioned, Hyeon Chung has a great shot at reaching the final. For that to happen he will likely have to go through the winner of last week’s Hong Kong Challenger, Kyle Edmund, in the quarterfinal and Matthew Ebden in the semi-final.
Aegon GB Pro-Series Glasgow – The Scottish Championships
ATP Challenger Tour
Glasgow, United Kingdom
2-7 February 2015
Prize Money: $42,500
Seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Aleksandr Nedovyesov (128)
2: Michal Przysiezny (170)
3: Ruben Bemelmans (173)
4: Andrej Martin (175)
5: Andrea Arnaboldi (178)
6: Julian Reister (181)
7: Tim Puetz (183)
8: Matteo Viola (190)
The last direct acceptance is Yann Marti, ranked 267th.
First Round Match-Up To Watch
(3) Ruben Bemelmans – Adam Pavlasek
Pavlasek got an opportunity to play the Hopman Cup last month, giving him some excellent practice against high ranked players like John Isner, Fabio Fognini and Vasek Pospisil. He even managed to beat Fognini, although that unfortunately isn’t really a feat these days. Bemelmans is erratic as ever, but he did well to qualify for the Australian Open, before losing in straight sets to Ivo Karlovic in the first round.
Top seed Aleksandr Nedovyesov is a bit of a headcase, but if he can keep his composure this time around, it’s an excellent opportunity to reach the semi-final. The other seed in his section is Andrea Arnaboldi, who is a lot more comfortable on clay courts. In the other section, Tim Puetz should be marked a favorite to reach the semi-final. The German reached a new career high ranking of #163 after reaching the first round of the Australian Open, falling in four sets to Donald Young, and could well break the top 150 in this event. If he faces Nedovyesov that could prove to be a cracker, given they already played each other this year at the Happy Valley Challenger, with Nedovyesov winning in a third set tiebreak.
Second seed Michal Przysiezny leads the pack here and should be able to reach the semi-final without getting himself into a lot of trouble. Although that of course is easier said than done, given his form in recent times, which saw him slip from inside of the top 60 to outside of the top 180 within a year. In the top section I would give Julian Reister, Adam Pavlasek and Ruben Bemelmans all a fair shot to reach the semi-final, but given the quick conditions Bemelmans has to be favored.
The conditions here are faster than during their Happy Valley marathon match, so this time around I would give Puetz the slight edge, who is better on faster surfaces. Bemelmans – Przysiezny is a coin toss between two of the most erratic players on tour, which at the same time makes it a highly interesting encounter to hope for.