2016 Wroclaw, Morelos and New Delhi Challenger Recaps
Chris De Waard, Tennis Atlantic
Top seed Evgeny Donskoy held match points against Jeremy Chardy in the first round of the glamorous 500 event in Rotterdam a week earlier, but it was back to the grind for him in Wroclaw this week. He started off well in his first two matches, but then the Rotterdam scenario repeated itself against Konstantin Kravchuk in the quarterfinal, with the seventh seed winning 7-6(4) 6-7(9) 6-4. In the second section veteran Marco Chiudinelli began an excellent run by beating Daniel Evans, fifth seed Mirza Basic and Alexander Kudryavtsev to set up a semi-final encounter with Kravchuk. It didn’t stop there for Chiudinelli, as he ousted Kravchuk in two tight sets, 7-6(8) 7-6(4).
In the bottom half another veteran would have a dream run. Jan Hernych, 36, came through qualifying and immediately made an impact in the main draw by beating third seed Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, 4-6 6-2 7-6(5). Eventually he went all the way to the the semi-final, where he met second seed Dustijn Brown, who cruised tot he draw and didn’t drop a set. That would change against Hernych, however, as the 36-year-old beat Brown 7-6(5) 6-4 for a place in the final, his first since 2012. There the younger of the two would prevail in the veteran encounter. Chiudinelli, 34, won 6-3 7-6(9) to claim his first Challenger title since 2009. He gained thirty-seven ranking spots and landed at #146, while Hernych rose eighty-one spots to #269.
The tournament lost its top seed beforehand as Victor Estrella Burgos withdrew and ninth seed Giovanni Lapentti took his spot. Lapentti lost his first round to Alessandro Giannessi, who took full advantage of the opportunity and reached the semi-final after beating sixth seed Alexander Sarkissian 2-6 6-1 6-3. There he faced fourth seed Alejandro Gonzalez, who had no problem getting rid of Giannessi in a 6-3 6-1 beatdown.
In the bottom half the top seeds held their own, resulting in both second Horacio Zeballos and third seed Gerald Melzer reaching the semi-final without too many problems along the way. They fought out a major battle, with Melzer eventually coming through in three hard-fought sets, 6-7(1) 6-3 6-4. The final against Gonzalez was easier for he Austrian, winning 7-6(4) 6-3 to take down his fourth Challenger title. He also reached a career high ranking of #116, rising twenty spots. Gonzalez rose eleven spots to #143.
Another top seed who didn’t get far here, with Yuki Bhambri getting upset by Joris De Loore in the first round, 6-4 7-6(4). De Loore lost the next round to Flavio Cipolla 6-4 7-6(2), who in his turn lost 6-3 6-2 to third seed Stephane Robert in the semi-final. Robert faced fourth seed Saketh Myneni in the final, who decimated second seed Kimmer Coppejans with the same score in the semi-final, 6-3 6-2.
So the final came down to two players who absolutely trashed the opposition on their way. Robert won his quarter- and semi-final respectively 6-2 6-0 and 6-3 6-2, while Myneni did so 6-4 6-1 and 6-3 6-2. Robert would be the one to continue the trend however, as the 35-year-old beat Myneni 6-3 6-0 to close out his spectacular run and win his seventh Challenger title, and the first one in five years. He rose twenty-two ranking spots to #139, while Myneni rose eight spots to #158.