That’s right – I went a whole week without writing about Challengers. I severely underestimated the time it would take to get settled in my new dwelling, and even was without internet for two days. So sue me!
But before you do that, just remember: you get what you pay for (and this site is, I’m pretty sure, free). That said, since I’m feeling guilty/generous/ridiculous, if you’re not completely delighted with this article, just say so in the comments and I’ll give you a rebate of half your money back. Such a deal!
So here’s what happened in Challengertown this week:
The big 23-year-old Frenchman, Kenny De Schepper, who’s name means (loosely) “Kenny the Schlepper” in English, schlepped his way all the way to the finals, but lost a close one to eighth-seeded David Guez, who’s now 8/1 after escaping from Reunion Island (as you may recall, he came back to his rain-delayed match against Mathieu Rodrigues and didn’t win any of the last 10 games, losing 7-5 0-6 0-6 in that ill-fated event).
And much as I want to exclaim, “He killed Kenny!” all South Park-style, the truth is the final was quite close; Guez didn’t kill him at all. The Schepper was broken in the not-very-crucial seventh game of the third set, but he broke back in the more-crucial eighth game. Guez was forced to hold from down 4-5 and 5-6 in the third set to force an eventual tiebreak, which he had to win from 6-5* after blowing two match points on his own serve.
It was Guez’s'z’s third career Challenger victory. With his win here, he’ll move back up to about #160 in the world rankings – up from his current 198 but still well off his career high of of 116 in July last year, following his triumph at the Arad Challenger.
Quimper Challenger Champion David Guez Speaks To The Media About His Harrowing Escape From Reunion Island
Also, it should be noted, it was de Schepper’s first Challenger main draw ever. And even though he didn’t have to face a seed until the semis (Ludovic Walter beat top seeded Nicolas Mahut in his eighth of the draw), Kenny did bust sixth seed Roberto Bautista-Agut’s gut 6-4 7-6(1) in said semis. As a reward for his heretofore unprecedented success, he’ll blow past his career high of #372 and move up into the Top 300 from his current 390 perch (just ahead of Juan Martin Del Potro, as a matter of fact). But let the record show: this site was one of the first to do a definitive de Schepper profile, as we were there for his first pro title win.
Speaking of Mathieu Rodgrigues, by the way (which I was doing in the opening paragraph): in the quarterfinals Kenny had to De Schlepp his way over the very pal (i.e. Rodrigues) who had made him laugh during the trophy ceremony of his UK F1 Glasgow victory. What a nasty business this tennis racket can be, eh?