2013 Knoxville Challenger (@KnoxChallenger) Preview, Predictions
Most of the Charlottesville Challenger participants and a few additions will make their way a little ways down the road to Rocky Top Tennessee for the Knoxville indoor challenger, a 50k USTA Pro Circuit Event.
Knoxville 2013 Challenger
USTA Pro Circuit/ATP Challenger Tour
Knoxville, TN, USA
November 3-November 10, 2013
Prize Money: $50,000
Top 8 Seeds
1: Tim Smyczek
2: Denis Kudla
3: Jack Sock
4: Michael Russell
5: Donald Young
6: Ryan Harrison
7: Rajeev Ram
8: Alex Kuznetsov
First round matchups to watch:
(3)Jack Sock vs. Peter Polansky
Jack Sock returns to the US to face an in-form Peter Polansky in an interesting battle. Sock last played European indoor events after Asia and has done nothing notable this fall. Polansky, meanwhile, made the final in Charlottesville and continues his good form but after a monumental punch in the gut collapse against Michael Russell in the final, Polansky could be mentally out of things for this one.
(6)Ryan Harrison vs. Rhyne Williams
The first meeting between these two Americans will take place in front of Williams’s home fans in Knoxville and he seems to be in good form after reaching the semis in Charlottesville. Harrison, like Sock, last played European indoors, and did nothing of note after playing Asia with the same result. I think Rhyne will knock him off here.
(4)Michael Russell vs. Jarmere Jenkins
Russell, the Charlottesville Champion, continues to maintain a top 100 ranking at an advanced age and continues to put together some great grinding tennis. This is a rematch from Charlottlesville and he beat Jenkins in straights but it was a competitive match. Russell puts in a lot of roadwork and Jenkins should be fresher and more experienced, thus it will be interesting to see if he can make inroads this time.
Tim Smyczek, coming off an opening round loss in Charlottesville, will face a qualifier with Steve Johnson/Laurent Rochette on deck and one of Sam Groth/JP Smith/Max Neuchrist/Alex Kuznetsov awaiting the quarters of an out of form section. JP Smith is a former Tennessee Volunteer and will have local support.
Russell/Jenkins will play Ed Corrie or Jose Hernandez, with probably Harrison/Williams waiting in the quarters. Williams may face his best friend and former Tennessee teammate Tennys Sandgren in round 2 if Tennys beats Denys Molchanov.
Denis Kudla is another American who last played European indoor tennis without making a splash. He will open with Rik De Voest, followed by a qualifier or Jarryd Chaplin, a local UT wild card who hails from Australia. Rajeev Ram, a pair of qualifiers, or Theodoros Angelinos await in the quarters. Angelinos is the highest ranked Greek player and upset Alex Kuznetsov in Charlottesville round 1.
Sock/Polansky will play Austin Krajicek/David Rice in round 2 with Donald Young/Saketh Myneni or Nils Langer/Brandon Fickey awaiting in the quarters. Fickey is another UT wild card and an American. Myneni and Young both made quarters in Charlottesville and are in good form.
Williams d. Smyczek
Young d. Kudla
Williams d. Young
Going with the local fave to take the title but again this Is a hard prediction to make with players who face each other a lot and have good and bad days on tour.
—Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast