Day 4 Qualifying Report From Roland Garros 2015 Stefano Berlincioni for Tennis Atlantic
My last day at Roland Garros, an unbelievable experience for me.
Started the day at Marco Cecchinato- Michael Berrer. The Italian was dictating every rally at the beginning of the match but as soon as he took the lead for 4-2 he had to face an improved Berrer. Cecchinato suddenly lost the plot and on 4-4 literally mentally checked-out and regrouped a bit only at 4-6 0-3. He kept shouting to his box “He is not missing a single ball”.
I greatly enjoyed Gasparyan’s one handed backhand and Glatch’s classy tennis.
Elias Ymer played another solid match even if he almost choked in the end, here is the short video of final point
I watched for a while Gastao Elias-Facundo Arguello. Elias was very nervous from 7-5 5-2, he started being less aggressive and Arguello sensed his opponent choking. They went to the tiebreak where Arguello played terrible tennis and at changeover over made a sign to his box miming “We can go home now”. He double faulted on mp. Arguello will not be going home however, as he reached the main draw as a lucky loser, and his reward is Andy Murray. Elias will face Benoit Paire.
Arguello at 1-5 changeover made a sign to his box….like we can go home
I moved to Luca Vanni-Andrey Golubev for their third set. Vanni was always the second best in rallies and had to save 0-30 on 0-0 and on 1-1 and also 15.40 on 3-3. He broke from nowhere Golubev on 4-3 and managed to hold without risks. He saved all the key points with his huge serve. At the end of the match as usual was very kind with everyone asking him an autograph or a selfie.
Last ATP matches that I attended was Jared Donaldson-Nikoloz Basilashvili. It has been a great match, the best I watched in 4 days. Both played at great level and intensity, it is a pity that one of them could not qualify, both deserved. Donaldson lost 3 tough games from *2-1 to 2-4 in the third set and then he surrended.
I watched for a couple of other WTA matches: completely unimpressive Teliana Pereira (playing defensive and moonballing tennis, with also the bad habit of shouting a couple of seconds later than her shots) qualified over Laura Pous-Tio and Andrea Hlavackova won over Anatasia Rodionova in a match where you could smell the reciprocal “hate” in the air. In their last meeting they didn’t shake hands at the end of the match. I had to go to airport in the middle of second set
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.
My first day ever at Roland Garros. My first day ever at a Slam. A dream come true for a tennis fanatic like me.
The weather forecast was poor, and in fact we had a lot of showers that due to high winds, blew over relatively quickly.
I had some personal favorites to watch and none of them disappointed me: win or lose if you give everything on court and you are nice with fans at the end of the match you will have my appreciation.
The most expected match of the day was probably Hyeon Chung-Jared Donaldson and the American young gun trashed his opponent. It has to be said that Chung was probably tired and surely not enough trained on clay but Donaldson played a superb attacking tennis. I think I watched the match near to Chung’s father, a Korean man dressed with a suit cheering for him (today was Chung’s birthday). Donaldson d. Chung 6-0 6-1
I was looking forward to watch the talent of Lamine Ouahab and he didn’t disappoint me: from the very first games firing sick winners and untouchable dropshots. He was up a break in the third set against the Colombian veteran Alejandro Falla, and missed by 2 centimetres a break point for *4-1 then he collapsed due to tiredness: in last game he only served and volleyed. Falla d. Ouahab 6-3 3-6 7-5
On the same court Taro Daniel and Dustin Brown played an intense match with Dreddy playing his usual great to watch no margin tennis and Daniel being very solid from baseline, in the end also here the more consistent player, Daniel, won the match. Daniel d. Brown 6-3 5-7 7-5
Filippo Volandri and Alex Zverev won both a first set tiebreak and an easy second set but at least Austin Krajicek fought until the en against Volandri, an Italian veteran, while Horacio Zeballos tanked especially the last game serving on 6-7 0-5. The Argentinean ripped his T-shirt on 6-7 0-4 and kept on playing without changing it. Zverev d. Zeballos 7-6 6-0, Volandri d. Krajicek 7-6 6-1
I was curious to watch the 16 year old Corentin Moutet as I had a good impression from him last year during an Under 18 ITF event in Italy and he performed quite well in last months ITF Pro Tour. He disappointed me because he played with very childish attitude, complaining with himself after every point and was on the verge of crying. He even got a penalty point after he destroyed his racquet. His tennis is quite good considering his age but the attitude is surely to be improved. Michael Berrer d. Moutet 6-2 6-2
The most epic match of the day was Luca Vanni- Adrian Ungur. I watched the first games and Vanni was playing extremely well as he went two breaks up. He won the first set and I came back for the second set tiebreak where he played horrible tennis from 3-3. The third set was full of drama. The rain stopped the match a couple of times and both players could not convert easy chances with opponent serving 15-30. Until the first rain break I would have picked Ungur to win the match as Vanni looked quite fatigued but especially after the second break Vanni played very aggressive. Ungur lost the match because he framed 3 shots when serving 40-15 on 14-15. The players were cordial towards each other on court, trusting each other on calls and applauding the great shots of their opponent. The funniest moment of the day was when Vanni served on 6-6 third set, he won the point and he went for return: he thought he was 1-0* up in the final tiebreak but was just 15-0 because at RG they don’t have final set tiebreak and he didn’t know. Everyone laughed. Vanni d. Ungur 6-4 6-7 16-14
I watched the end of the match between Luke Saville and Farrukh Dustov with Australian players close to me (Daria Gavrilova and Thanasi Kokkinakis): was amazing to see them cheering so much…and they helped! Saville managed to win from break down in third set. Saville d. Dustov 3-6 7-6 6-4
I am from Italy and I have to say a lot of Italians played solid matches today: Volandri, Thomas Fabbiano, Marco Cecchinato, Matteo Viola, Andrea Arnaboldi…just Roberto Marcora lost to Elias Ymer who is a great young talent and played an aggressive match.
Another possible epic match was Mathias Bourgue against Brydan Klein but when I arrived on 7-7 third set Bourgue failed to convert two break points and after that Bourgue started cramping and Klein held and broke for the match. Klein d. Bourgue 3-6 6-2 9-7
Award for loudest cheering of the day is for Constant Lestienne’s fans: I didn’t manage to watch a single point of that manage but I could hear his fans from every court.
I loved every single moment there (well, apart from the 10 euros hotdog menu!) and I can’t wait to go again tomorrow.
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.