In which your humble author purports to review all the relevant action and developments from all five of this week’s challenger events, in order of temporal occurrence:
Singapore: Being so time-zonically advanced, those Singapore bastards actually finished their Monday qualifying rounds on Sunday night, making me look like a slacker. Rude. Anyway, in the FQR, new New Zealander and 8th seed Artem Sitak beat top seeded Slovakian Pavol Cervenak 6-2 2-6 6-4; Denmark’s twitterfave Freddie Nielsen, the second seed, defeated China F1 Futures champ Di Wu 6-3 6-2; while the top two Swissies are swissing it up Down Under tonight, Switzerland’s #5 (and qualifying’s #7) Michael Lammer already upended third seeded Italian Alberto Brizzi 7-6(3) 6-2; and one of Challenger Tennis’s 2011 Player’s to Watch, Tsung-Hua Yang, took out 4th-seeded Mikhail Vasiliev 6-2 6-3.
For their efforts, Yang has drawn Rajeev Ram, which should be a winnable match on hard courts for the 19-year-old, Sitak will play American wildcard Michael Yani, Lammer gets Ivo Klec, and Freddie faces off against Singapore’s second seed (and general gadabout), Go Soeda.
Other interesting first round matches include (but are not limited to): top-seeded Somdev “Millionaire” Devvarman vs. wildcard Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattana (not really, but I want to include him so I can make a tag for his name); another CTPtW, the Mailman John Millman vs. Sergei Bubka (who I hear has friends in high places); British #2 James Ward looks for his first win of the year against toe-tapping server Matteo Viola; purportedly reformed racial vilifier Brydan Klein plays Indian wildcard Karan Rastogi *braces self against possible fallout from that one*; Dmitry Tursunov tries his luck against one of the fabulous flying Minar bros, Brother Ivo (actually, Brother Jan might be retired at this point – let me know if you know); and Peter Polansky vs. Nick Lindahl looks like it could be a fairly tasty selection too. Shout at me if I’ve missed something.
Reunion Island: Oh, Reunion Island. With your 8 player qualifying draw, your many over-40-year-old entrants, and your numerous players of hard-to-determine origin, you’re more like the Island of Misfit Toys than Reunion Island, if I can be honest here. Although I do admire your sincere attempt to make the Noumea Challenger look like a Fifth Slam – way to take one for the French Territories, Reunion!
Shockingly, Reunion is the only challenger event this week with no protennislive scoring (although Honolulu and Singapore have also yet to work, truth be told. But at least you have the option of choosing them and watching them not work). So who really knows what on earth is going on there? Thank God the world’s most awesome tennis blogger, Harri Heliovaara, is playing there – otherwise we’d have no idea what was going on. But here’s a draw if you want to look at it and keep hitting refresh for updates. One of those times you’ll get lucky!
Heilbronn: Bless you, Heilbronn! Heil, Heilbronn, even! An actual Challenger with a working livescore and a functioning stream! Oh, convex baseline, how I’ve missed you!
As you can see from the snazzy scoreboard (a total 2011 upgrade), Germany’s Dominik Meffert was on the verge of beating fifth seed Marsel Ilhan, and I’m here to report: the Turk did tumble, 7-6(5) 6-4 at the home-country Heilbronnian hands of D-Meff. Wildcarded Peter Gojowczyk beat someone ranked 358 places above him in the rankings, 6-3 2-6 6-3. What? Huh? Oh yeah: it was Austria’s Martin Fischer. Final qualifying results included (and are in fact limited to): Noumea quarterfinalist (why isn’t he in Reunion?)  Gregoire Burquier d James McGee 2-6 7-6(6) 6-4 (tough one for the Irish #4 – probably had a match point or two), Sweden’s #4 Michael Ryderstedt d Mikhail Ledovskikh 6-4 3-6 6-3, Glasgow F1 finalist Alexandre Sidorenko upset  Dieter “Learns To” Kindlmann 6-2 6-0 (but don’t feel bad for Little Dieter, as he totally luckily lost and is facing Ruben Bemelmans in the main draw), and  Yannick Mertens d. Poland’s Robert Godlewski, 6-3 6-4. As well he should.
Some superb matches on Tuesday’s OOP: Igor Sijsling vs. The Bean Pole Jerzy Janowicz, Attila the Balazs vs. Bratislava Challenger champ Martin Klizan (in his first match of 2011), and the quotable Conor Niland vs. Marco Chiudinelli among them. I can only hope the 30 minutes of CARDIOTENNIS is also streamed. This link should feature all the day’s streamable goodness.
BUCARAMANGA! (shout it out loud – it’ll cure all that ails ya)
Final qualifying round played today, and these be the results:  Pablo Galdon d  Alejandro Gonzalez 6-4 6-4,  Fernando Romboli d  Diego Scwartzman 6-2 6-3,  Julio Cesar Campozano d Malek Jaziri (of Tunisia) 6-3 7-5, and – the undisputed winner of the BRUTAL SCORE OF THE DAY TROPHY –  Ivan Endara d  Daniel Dutra Da Silva 0-6 7-6(11) 7-6(6). Sorry, James McGee – your loss looks decidedly less tough now that I’ve laid eyes on this score.
Main draw has finally been released by those gosh-darned Colombians and can be found somewhere amongst this italicized and underlined text (hint: click here). Some good matches on tomorrowday’s OOP as well, foremost amongst them: Robert Farah vs. Federico Delbonis. But this isn’t a preview, damn it, this a review. So I’m gonna stop spoiling you know in my inimitable information-overloady kind of way.
I have to say straight away: if wildcard Jeremy Tweedt of France isn’t on Twitter, then there’s something functionally wrong with our universe.
Now that I got that off my chest… the second most important thing that happened in Hawaii today. Richard Berankis didn’t show up. The erstwhile Ricardas is a no go for paradise (although I think he secretly might be in hiding on Reunion Island, myself).
But some tennis was played, though – four final round qual matches in all. Top seeded Korean Woong-Sun Jun beat Czech wildcard Petr Michnev 7-5 6-2; USA F1 Plantation champ  Luka Gregorc defeated  Ivan Anikanov 6-4 6-0;  Ti Chen d Travis Parrott 6-4 3-6 6-0; and USA F1 Plantation finalist  Olivier Sajous took out  Brett Joelson 6-3 6-4.