Week 17 (Challengers): Athens [Konc]; Rome 2 [De Kinsele]; Tallahassee [Bruce]
Status Athens Open
April 19-25, II
Hard - 85,000+H ($100,000+H)
Seeds: (cut: Kim Roger Olsen - 196)
1. Kim Vollan
2. David Champion
3. Atthaphol Sae-ul
4. Ivars Emsis
5. Li Ming-Wang
6. Aksu Emrem
7. Matt Bre
8. Ninteh Doh
(1/WC)Vollan, K vs. Konc, A
Renard, B vs. (Q)De Koning, N
Räihä, M vs. Zakov, Y
Olsen, KR vs. (6)Aksu, E
(3)Sae-ul, A vs. Doungtong, A
Mutch, J vs. Thompson, H
Wetzel, S vs. (Q)Pettersson, Z
Chasiotis, D vs. (8)Doh, N
(5)Li, M-W vs. Puder, O
Lubbers, M vs. (WC)Samaras, M
Banks, R vs. (WC)Pangalos, P
Hewitt, P vs. (4)Emsis, I
(7)Bre, M vs. Zeman, V
(Q)Valsson, G vs. (Q)Blagojević, M
Georgilas, T vs. Aleksejev, T
Vuka, I vs. (2)Champion, D
A strong draw with 100 points on the line, a few highly ranked players not keen on playing more clay than they have to turn out in Greece. Kim Vollan returns (again) from injury as top seed, while the likes of David Champion and Jason Hall conqueror Ivars Emsis make up a strong field. It is a tough week for the CWLanders - Baton Rouge champion Randy Banks chose against moving slightly east to Florida and made the trip yesterday to Athens. Lucky for him he starts on Tuesday with wildcard Petros Pangalos, but second round clash with Emsis awaits. His returning needs to be on against the Latvian giant who gives up very few breaks.
Meanwhile seventh seed Matt Bre starts against struggling Czech player Václav Zeman. It is a tough match against a good player, but if he can win that a quarter final with Champion awaits.
Prediction: David Champion def. Atthaphol Sae-ul
Roma Open II
April 19-25, II
Clay - $35,000+H
Seeds: (cut: Luca Rossi - 222)
1. Gregor Gorshkov
2. Maarten Berg
3. Dênis Rodrígues
4. Michael De Kinsele
5. Martti Korpinen
6. Thomas Velten
7. Pablo Scalforo
8. David Lebègue
(1)Gorshkov, G vs. (Q)Neaga, N
Wleft, P vs. Rossi, L
Pelayo, F vs. (WC)Ciano, A
Marzec, R vs. (6)Velten, T
(4)De Kinsele, M vs. (WC)Vicini, S
Rio, B vs. Rizzo, O
Mary, C vs. (Q)Kukeyev, M
Jerez, R vs. (7)Scalforo, P
(5)Korpinen, M vs. Fosdike, M
Romero, L vs. Rojas, A
(Q)Palumbo, D vs. Schaap, T
Boman, P vs. (3)Rodrígues, D
(8)Lebègue, D vs. Eisenhauer, M
Molina, M vs. Volkoff, E
(Q)Abondio, D vs. Kulić, N
Pellegrini, M vs. (2/WC)Berg, M
Two East CWLanders compete in the draw in Rome which stages its second Challenger in as many weeks. There's a stronger draw as the likes of Gregor Gorshkov and Maarten Berg - two very talented players - start their European clay seasons properly. Maarti Korpinen has a tough start against Mikel Fosdike of France ranked No. 145, but it gets easier against one of the Chileans and clay journeyman Dênis Rodrígues in the quarters.
Phoenix Wleft meanwhile starts against local Luca Rossi before staring down a daunting second round clash with top seeded Russian Gregor Gorshkov. Ouch.
Prediction: Maarten Berg def. Gregor Gorshkov
Might be good to fit new sign-up Burridge in as a late wildcard, but I'm guessing you may have simmed this round already.
Tallahassee Tennis Challenger
Tallahassee, FL, USA
April 19-25, II
Hard - $50,000
Seeds: (cut: Aleksander Alitspritsin - 198)
1. Ivan Čeljar
2. Fok Zhenyu
3. Julian Day
4. Brett Read
5. Hugh James
6. Waylon Jones
7. Sam Lazzeri
8. Felipe Menon
(1)Čeljar, I vs. (Q)Hashimoto, D
Ficher, A vs. (WC)Delgado, D
Russell, A vs. (Q)Franklin, R
(Q)Kurtović, T vs. (7)Lazzeri, S
(3)Day, J vs. Natale, J
Robinson, R vs. Thorpe, S
Langley, R vs. Holland, J
(WC)McDonald, M vs. (5)James, H
(6)Jones, W vs. Henson, E
Bruce, R vs. (Q)Adams, J
Alitspritsin, A vs. Cartwright, T
Williamson, J vs. (4)Read, B
(8)Menon, F vs. Griffen, J
Tadić, A vs. Daniels, R
Blundell, M vs. (WC)Narang, I
Murray, A vs. (2)Fok, Z
We move from Louisiana's capital to Florida's as a star-studded field appears in Tallahassee. Croatia's Ivan Čeljar is the top seed following a final appearance in Johannesburg last week, while the likes of Fok Zhenyu and Julian Day also make an appearance. Four CWLanders (two from the East and two from the West) also compete with the winner taking 80 points to their PTA rankings.
Rick Langley made the final in Baton Rouge last week and is again unseeded here. He's destined for a second round clash with former World No. 51 Hugh James the fifth seed. Despite that, James has fallen to No. 94 now and faces a red hot Langley who, ranked No. 126, will be eager to push closer to the world's top hundred players. His conqueror from last week Randy Bruce is drawn in the other half rendering a rematch somewhat unlikely.
Roy Daniels has blown hot and cold this season, but has a cruisy draw to the quarters at least where Fok Zhenyu could await. Also conspicuous in that second of the draw is the name Ishant Narang. Most may know him better as Suryakant Singh, but he has insisted on this new psuedonym for reasons unknown. Despite his ranking of No. 165, some West CWLand media outlets have made a big deal out of it suggesting East CWLand brainwashing is behind his erratic behaviour. He faces Morton Blundell first up who is a struggler in singles having received a late wildcard following the cut-off date.
Finally, for the first time since his straight sets loss to Kim Vollan in the second round of the French Open last season Brett Read returns to action. Sidelined with personal issues for nearly a year, Read is still ranked No. 90 in the world having once been as high as No. 16 back in February of Season I. Read has been back in training over the past few months and has competed in some pennants level tennis in the west, but defending big points in the coming weeks he will need to find his feet very quickly to avoid plumetting down the rankings. He's seeded fourth here and begins against Justin Williamson - a player who will give him a big workout.
Prediction: Julian Day def. Waylon Jones
CW Herald - Athens
Banks, Bre charge into second round
Seventh seed Matt Bre and Westerner Randy Banks have taken their opening matches at the Status Athens Open in Greece. Returning to Challenger level, the seventh seed Bre claimed a straight sets win over the Czech Republic's Václav Zeman as he fired down six aces and cracked some great forehand winners in an entertaining match.
Zeman has been an underachiever on the tour but is always dangerous which makes Bre's victory all the more impressive. After taking the first set 7-5, Bre came from a break down in the first game of the second set to secure a 7-5, 6-3 win with some positive thinking against the left hander's serve.
Banks, meanwhile, had it tougher as he failed to back up his win in Johannesburg with a convincing display against Petros Pangalos. While he was ultimately victorious 3-6, 6-0, 7-6(0), Banks struggled early with apparent jet lag against the World No. 244 and faced two break points at 3-4 in the third set.
Banks' game came together at the right time as he learned from the second set to string points together to secure the win and a second round clash with Ivars Emsis of Latvia.
Elsewhere, Wimbledon quarterfinalist and top seed Kim Vollan looked restricted as he was beaten by doubles specialist Andrej Konc in three sets in his return to action. The Norwegian was joined in the casualty pile by eighth seed Ninteh Doh (in news that will please R. Bowenburg) and fifth seed Li Ming-Wang.
CW Herald - Rome
Korpinen survives French scare
Fifth seed Martti Korpinen has survived a big scare against France's Mikel Fosdike to advance to the second round in Rome in three sets. Korpinen was cruising at 6-0, 1-0 before the Frenchman strung eight games together on the trot to lead the second set 2-0.
Staring down the barrel and a disappointing first round exit, the East CWLander fought bravely to break back against the run of play with a magnificent reaching volley to deny the Frenchman a double break. In a tense deciding set, the pair stuck close together to be level at 4-4 before Korpinen held to love with some great clutch serving.
Serving to stay in the match, Fosdike had two game points at 40-15 before Korpinen strung three points together and brought up match point with a ballsy drop shot. While he didn't convert that, he converted his second with a forehand passing shot to set up a clash with Leonel Romero of Chile.
There was no luck for his compatriot Phoenix Wleft who was ousted by local veteran Luca Rossi. Wleft was a slight favourite on most betting sites but never got out of first gear as the economical Rossi secured a 6-3, 6-3 victory with some confident if not defensive tennis.
Maarten Berg received a wildcard into the draw and was seeded second, but clearly wasn't expecting such fight from Marco Pellegrini who won 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. Also out was eighth seed David Lebègue and seventh seed Pablo Scalforo.
CW Herald - Tallahassee, FL
Read back with good win
Former World No. 16 Brett Read's journey back to the PTA tour begun today with a convincing three-set win over Justin Williamson. While the fourth seed in Florida would have expected more from himself, he bookended his match with some clinical tennis to deny the American an upset.
While Williamson claimed the second set in a tiebreaker having been 2-5 down in the set, he was unable to deal with the consistency of Read who - although lacking huge power - looked as steady as he did twelve months ago as he controlled the rallies and even added a few winners to his game.
Dropping the second set merely seemed to motivate him as he brushed off some cobwebs to secure a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-1 win. He will need to improve against Aleksander Alitspritsin in the round of 16, but the signs are good.
Also victorious was Rick Langley who showed no signs of fatigue following Sunday's final in Baton Rouge. Langley overcame a spirited display from Jimmy Holland to the tune of a 6-4, 6-3 victory to advance to the round of 16.
He will play fifth seed Hugh James who accounted for 16-year old Michael McDonald love and four, but it was Langley's attractive tennis that will excite most West CWLanders as he hit nearly double the winners that Holland managed.
Making it three CWLanders through was Easterner Ishan Narang who returned with a come-from-behind win over Morton Blundell. There has been much speculation over Narang's return and his recent name change from Suryakant Singh, but his tennis didn't suffer as he served fourteen aces and just two double faults in a clinical display against the Bahamas No. 1.
Narang dropped just a game on serve and played top shelf tennis at regular intervals during the match as he caught Blundell 5-7, 6-0, 7-6(0). His crisp forehand and smart serving in the second set and third set tiebreaker were features of his play as he set up a clash with Australia's Adam Murray in the second round.
Murray was too good for second seed Fox Zhenyu as he won in three sets, while Waylon Jones was beaten by struggling American veteran Eric Henson.
I won . Yippie!!!!
Btw, It's Ishan Narang SBI not Ishant(as in the WAC fast bowler).
Yay! Nice comeback :cool:
CW Herald - Athens
Banks slays Goliath while Bre carves up "geyser"
Johannesburg champion Randy Banks has pulled off a dramatic upset as he defeated Latvian fourth seed Ivars Emsis in three sets. Emsis is the tallest ranked player and last month famously defeated Jason Hall in Miami, but here in Athens struggled to overcome the West CWLander.
Banks was not broken once all match while picking up two of his own in a dull serve-heavy affair. As a small crowd watched on, Emsis fired down twenty-four aces but still couldn't win as Banks was always too good on serve and played fine defensive tennis returning.
His 6-4, 6-7(1), 7-5 win sees him meet Oleg Puder of Russia in the quarter finals after Puder stormed past Michael Samaras in straight sets.
A cross-CWLand semi final could be on the cards after seventh seed Matt Bre handed Gunnar Valsson a flogging. The Icelandic qualifier won just four games as the East CWLander staked his claim as one of the tournament's favourites with a clinical display.
Valsson made just four winners all match as he lacked the power on either side to trouble the seventh seed. Bre, meanwhile, only dropped games because of his own mistakes and will have to tighten that up against Taavi Aleksejev of Estonia in the next round.
Aleksejev was immense as he stunned second seeded Australian David Champion 6-3, 6-3 to knock the second of the top forty rankers in the draw out.
SBI, if I win this tournament, what will my ranking end up being?
CW Herald - Rome
Insipid Korpinen blows big chance
Having watched third seed Dênis Rodrígues struggle to a three set win over junior Tommy Schaap on Wednesday, Martti Korpinen would have seen a giant opportunity to do some damage in Rome. But today he produced an abysmal display filled with unforced errors and temper tantrums as Chile's Leonel Romero coasted to a straight sets win.
The World No. 110 has taken the unorthodox tactic of qualifying for big tournaments rather than boosting his ranking on the Challenger circuit, but his return did not go to plan as he made far too many errors against Romero with some erratic strokemaking.
After dropping the first set with another backhand error, Korpinen attracted the ire of the chair umpire as he threw his racquet across the ground and into the net. He repeated that act in the second set and was deducted a point for his efforts.
To his credit, he looked sufficiently sheepish following his 2-6, 3-6 defeat and apologised to the crowd for his actions.
Around 80, I think morgie.
What more can you expect from these Ossies?
Seriously though, Korps proving he should focus on doubles with that performance.
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