Smyczek Shocked: Tuesday’s Top Seed Defeat at Charlottesville Challenger
Steve Fogleman, Tennis East Coast
Charlottesville’s top seed, Tim Smyczek, fought a grueling battle against world #313 Saketh Myneni at the ATP Challenger in this Virginia city today. Trouble was, Smyczek of Milwaukee’s best wasn’t good enough for Myneni, who may have played the match of his career in mixing it up just enough to befuddle the world #83.
That’s why you’ve got to play the matches. Myneni bested a player 230 rungs above him. It’s the wacky world of Challenger tennis, where every man’s a dark horse waiting to emerge from the shadows of the dimly-lit indoor facilities where these sorts of things are decided.
Another excellent match for viewing, if I do say so myself, was Chase Buchanan’s three set nail-biter over Austin Krajicek. The two have played each other before, and they both took advantage of that knowledge. By the time it was over, Buchanan was a bit better and he was in a very, very good mood seconds after walking off court after 2 1/2 hours.
Donald Young quietly beat the pants off of Josh Milton, who is a misanthrope on court, but an affable man off of it.
Also not close was Filip Peliwo’s 2 and 2 on Bjorn Fratangelo. Fratangelo was 2-0 h2h on Peliwo, but that was on clay.
Tennys Sandgren sailed past Laurent Rochette, and was good enough to indulge us for a few after his work was done for the day.
Rounding out the short matches, Kevin King knows these UVA courts from his GA Tech days, and made Jose Hernandez know it, winning 6-3. 6-1.
Rhyne Williams won in straights, but Britian’s David Rice, or “Ricey” as they call him, made Williams work for it.
Peter Polansky also did straight sets, but just like the Williams-Ricey match, it was a crazy competitive second set for Noah Rubin, who was joined by his McEnroe Tennis Academy retinue. The thoughtful and demur Polansky had some very encouraging words for Rubin during our post-match interview, but the audio went haywire during that part of the video. Sorry, Peter!
Jesse Levine prevailed over Steve Johnson in yet another competitive two-setter.
And just seconds ago, Somdev Devvarman came back to beat Jarmila Gajdosova’s ex-husband, Sam Groth, in three.
For background, there was a hay load of hemming and hawing about the officiating today. I sit on the baseline opposite the line judge to take photos, so I was the only person at the event who saw exactly what they saw. I’ve got to say that most of the players were right today when they expressed incredulity at the calls.
It started with Denys Molchanov, who lost the first set on a questionable call, a ball he insisted several times was “7 centimeters out”. How’s that for a good eye? Americans can only guesstimate to the inch. I really wish that the metric system had taken hold here. He won the final two sets to prevail.
Myneni and Buchanan both argued about calls today and they also won. In a losing effort, Laurent Rochette was furious about match point over Tennys Sandgren and was screaming in profane French all the way to training.
Tim Smyczek was making his point to the chair ump a full five minutes after the match had concluded. Smyczek is one of the great sports on the tour, as he always begins with “You know, I respect everything that you do…”.
Now that all the good tennis has already been played, the crowds should start showing up tomorrow.
BTW: I have a great story to share with you about ‘video rights’ when I get safely home. It involves a guy with a dream catcher/puka shell tight leather necklace. Remind me to tell it.
ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2013
COURT 7 start 11:00 AM
 M Russell (USA) vs T Sandgren (USA)
Not Before 12:00 noon
[WC] M Frank (USA) vs  D Young (USA)
 R Ram (USA) vs P Polansky (CAN)
Not Before 5:30 pm
S Devvarman (IND) / S Singh (IND) vs [WC] M Frank (USA) / M Styslinger (USA)
[WC] J Jenkins (USA) vs T Angelinos (GRE)
COURT 9 start 1:00 PM
 J Cluskey (IRL) / M Neuchrist (AUT) vs D Rice (GBR) / S Thornley (GBR)
 S Groth (AUS) / J Smith (AUS) vs S Johnson (USA) / T Smyczek (USA)
[Q] J Hernandez (DOM) / M Pokrajac (CAN) vs  A Krajicek (USA) / T Sandgren (USA) – After Appropriate Rest