May Challenger Recap, Focus on American Qualifiers in Paris
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
An-Ning Challenger (April 29-May 5, 2013)
Marton Fucsovics improved to a career high ranking of 251 and took the title in this 50k Chinese challenger on clay over James Ward. Fucsovics beat Dino Marcan in the semis while Ward beat Tsung-Hua Yang. Yang had upset Tatsuma Ito in the quarterfinals.
Johannesburg Challenger (April 29-May 5, 2013)
In the Jo’burg 100k challenger, Vasek Pospisil worked his way to a win over Michal Przysienzy on hard courts. Pospisil beat Mate Pavcic in the semis, while Przysienzy beat Lukas Lacko, the top seed.
Napoli Challenger (April 29-May 5, 2013)
Former top 30 player Potito Starace, who has seen his ranking collapse out of the top 200, pulled it together and beat fellow Italian Alessandro Giannessi on clay after beating David Guez in the semis. Giannessi beat Filippo Volandri in the semis.
Ostrava Challenger (April 29-May 5, 2013)
In the Czech Republic, on clay, the teenage lefty Jiri Vesely won his 2nd challenger title of the year, this time over Steve Darcis after beating qualifier Miloslav Mecir in the semis. Darcis upset top seed Lukas Rosol in the semis, and had upset Jan Hajek before that. Jaroslav Pospisil upset 2 seed Aljaz Bedene in the opening round.
Tunis Challenger (April 29-May 5, 2013)
In Tunis on clay, Adrian Ungur topped Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in 3 sets to take the title. The veteran Ungur beat Florent Serra in the semis while Schwartzman took out Kenny De Schepper. Top seed Marcel Granollers was upended by wildcard Lamine Ouahab, who was once a top 120 player, in Round 2.
Karshi Challenger (May 6-May 12, 2013)
On hard courts in Uzbekistan,top seed Teymuraz Gabashvili defeated Radu Albot for the title. Gabashvili beat Ti Chen in the semis while Albot beat Prakash Amritraj.
Kun-Ming Challenger (May 6-May 12, 2013)
In another Chinese challenger on hard courts, Alex Bogomolov took his 2nd challenger title of the year over Rik De Voest, who is also having a good year. Bogo is back knocking on the door of the top 80 and beat JP Smith in the semis while De Voest beat Tsung-Hua Yang, who made yet another Challenger semi.
Rio Quente Challenger (May 6-May 12, 2013)
On hard courts in Brazil, top seed Rajeev Ram beat Brazilian Andre Ghem in 3 sets to take the title. Ram beat James Duckworth in the semis, while Ghem beat Fabio De Paula.
Rome-2 Challenger (May 6-May 12, 2013)
Aljaz Bedene beat Italian Flippo Volandri on clay to take the title. Bedene beat Federico Del Bonis in the semis, while Volandri beat Matthias Bachinger, who had upset top seed Albert Montanes in Round 2.
Bordeaux Challenger (May 13-May 19, 2013)
In Bordeaux on clay, Gael Monfils got his game in form and took out Michael Llodra for the title. Monfils beat David Goffin in the semis of a loaded field, while Llodra beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The field included four young Americans: Denis Kudla, Steve Johnson, Jack Sock and Rhyne Williams, but they all lost their opening round matches.
Busan Challenger (May 13-May 19, 2013)
On hard courts in Korea, Dudi Sela beat Alex Bogomolov, denying him of his 3rd Challenger title this year. Sela beat Jimmy Wang in the semis while Bogomolov beat James McGee. A lot of seeds fell early in this event, as top seed Rendy Lu lost to Enrique Lopez-Perez (ranked 292, a career high), 2 seed Lukas Lacko lost to Ze Zhang and 5 seed Go Soeda lost to countryman Hiroki Moriya.
Samarkand Challenger (May 13-May 19, 2013)
In Uzbekistan on clay, Teymuraz Gabashvili won again, beating Oleksandr Nedovyesov after toppling Pere Riba in the semis. Nedovyesov beat Farrukh Dustov in the semis and it was a good showing for Dustov, who has otherwise endured a miserable year. Filip Krajinovic upset top seed Jiri Vesely in the opening round.
French Open Qualifying (May 21-May 24, 2013)
The qualifiers are:
Andreas Beck over Antonio Veic
Steve Darcis over Simon Greul
Pere Riba over Andreas Haider-Maurer (LL recipient)
Julian Reister over Farrukh Dustov
Somdev Devvarman over Wayne Odesnik
James Duckworth over Dusan Lajovic
Daniel Munoz De La Nava over Illya Marchenko (LL recipient)
Vasek Pospisil over Frank Dancevic
Jan-Lennard Struff over Teymuraz Gabashvili
Pablo Carreno-Busta over Vincent Millot
Jiri Vesely over Stephane Robert
Maxime Teixeira over Pavol Cervenak
and the 3 Americans:
Steve Johnson over Adrian Ungur
Denis Kudla over Arthur De Greef
Jack Sock over Facundo Arguello
AND Rhyne Williams who lost to Michal Przysiezny but will play him again as a lucky loser.
USTA Har-Tru Wild Card Challenge=Success
That means of the 7 Americans entered in qualifying, only Tennys Sandgren, Tim Smyczek and Robby Ginepri failed to win a round, while Wayne Odesnik lost in the final round of qualifying. Sock especially is a surprise, as he hasn’t had much success on clay before but routined promising clay courter Facundo Arguello in the final round. I’m usually a harsh critic when it comes to USTA player development, but I must say, the switch to that 3 week set of Har-Tru Green Clay events, plus the match most of them played at the Bordeaux Challenger sure seemed to help the up and coming Americans get better on clay and get more experience.