Yeah, yeah. I’m way behind on this (as I noted last night, it’ll be more like a midview than a preview), but I’m determined to go through with it anyway. Better later than never, no? Plus I get to seem like I’m smart by predicting upsets that have already happened. Everybody wins! (Except for the players who lost, of course.)
We gots three events on the Challenger Map this week:
Courmayeur, Italy (Indoor Hard, €30,000 plus some good, old-fashioned hospitality):
Hmmm. I don’t know if I’m just having an off day today or what, but I’m having a hard time getting very excited about this one. And you know if I’m having trouble getting excited about a tournament, then something’s either wrong with me or with it.
Simone Bolelli is the top seed here, but we all know he’s not going to win. Then again, I thought the same thing about the Turin Challenger last year and look what happened (hint: he won).
I’m pleased to see Lithuanian #2 (behind “Richard” Berankis, of course) Laurynas Grigelis has made it through qualifying. I’ll never forget that fifth live rubber the honorary Italian (he trains there and speaks the language fluently) played against Dan Evans last year, when Big Grig became a national hero and Dan continued to cultivate his national doormat status.
Everyone gave Evans such a hard time for that one, because he lost to a guy outside the Top 500, but I would tell anyone who listened back then that Laury played well above his then-521 ranking. Less than 11 months later, my sentiment has been somewhat borne out as Grigelis will likely enter the Top 400 next week. He’ll play 27 year-old Dutchie Matwe Middelkoop in the first round, with the winner getting Bolelli. A possible quarterfinal in the top section here pits Bolelli vs. fifth seed (and 2011 CT PtW) Benoit Paire, which would be a tasty match indeed. One only hopes they fix their livestream by then, should that come to pass. But Matthias Bachinger will probably beat them both anyway. Because that’s just the kind of thing he does.
Fourth seed Nicolas Mahut headlines the second quarter of the draw, third seed Gilles Muller and sixth seed Martin Klizan are slated to meet in the quarters of their section, which could be good, and  Jerzy Janowicz and  Olivier Rochus make up the long and the short of it in the bottom quarter.
Full draw is here.