Dutch Delight For Ernesto Escobedo and Dennis Novikov In Den Bosch
Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
As Novak Djokovic claimed his maiden French Open trophy, American tennis fans were having their own celebration following a successful weekend of qualifying at the Ricoh Open in the Netherlands.
This year is the 27th edition of the tournament. Top seed and two-time champion David Ferrer will be hoping to win his first title on the grass since 2012. Players standing in Ferrer’s way include former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Bernard Tomic and the fast serving Ivo Karlovic.
The qualifying draw provided the perfect opportunity for the lower ranked players to rise to the main draw. It was an opportunity that became a reality for an American pair after six out of the eight seeds failed to book their place in the main draw.
Ernesto Escobedo kicked off his campaign with a hard fought 7-6(6), 7-6(4), win over seventh seed Ryan Harrison. The 19-year-old Californian-born player is currently enduring a roller coaster season after reaching his first Challenger final in Brazil in April. Since then, he endured a trio of disappointing early round losses. Despite the recent setback, Escobedo has managed to progress to his first ATP main draw after he defeated Swiss third seed Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 7-5. The world No.264 faced no break points during his second qualifying match as he won 87% of his first service points. This week was the third ATP qualifying draw in Escobedo’s career.
Joining Escobedo in the main draw will be sixth seed Dennis Novikov. The 22-year-old is currently ranked 146th in the world and has only been able to win four main draw matches this year. Playing in s-Hertogenbosch for the first time in his career, novikov recovered from an opening set blip to see-off the Czech Republic’s Michal Konecny 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-2, in the first round. The triumph resulted in an all-American clash with Austin Krajicek. Boasting a 2-1 winning head-to-head against Krajicek prior to the match, Novikov extended his winning record by taking the match 7-6(4), 7-6(5). Impressively the Russian-born American faced no break-points and produced 13 aces to move to the main draw.
Beside the American triumphs, the highest seeded to qualify was second-seeded Lukas Lacko. The former top-50 player has only played in two ATP main draws this year going into the Dutch tournament as he tries to return to the top-100. Starting off his qualifying draw against Israel’s Amir Weintraub, the Slovakian took the match 6-2, 6-3, in less than an hour. Next up for Lacko was Alejandro Falla, a player who has reached two ATP finals in the past. The Colombian was no match for Lacko as the second seed saved six out of eight break points to win 7-5, 6-3. During his career Lacko has won 49 matches on the ATP Tour, however, only one of them have occurred this year.
Completing the quartet of qualifiers is Russia’s Daniil Medvedev. The 20-year-old has enjoyed some promising results in recent weeks. At the Bordeaux Challenger he reached the quarter-finals as a qualifier and came through two rounds of qualifying at the Nice Open last month. At S-Hertogenbosch, he continued his encouraging performance on the tour with an opening win over fifth seed Mischa Zverev (6-1, 6-4). In the final round of qualifying he produced the biggest upset of the draw when he defeated world No.106 and top seed, Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 6-1. Impressively Medvedev won 92% of his first service points during the shock win.
The main draw matches
Q Dennis Novikov USA Vs Dudi Sela ISR
Q Daniil Medvedev RUSSIA Vs Horacio Zeballos ARG
Q Lukas Lacko SVK Vs Nicolas Mahut FRA
Q Ernesto Escobedo USA Vs Aljaz Bedene GBR