Category: Caloundra

Challenger Tennis Week Six In Review

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?

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This week’s three challenger locales sound like exotic ingredients one would find in a chichi restaurant: “Could you have the chef add a little extra bergamo and caloundra, please? My palate favors those particular spices. But I beseech you: do hold the quimper. Everyone knows real men don’t eat quimper.”

Spicy or not, here’s the scoop on this week’s tourneys:

Bergamo, Italy (Hard, Indoor Play-It, €42,500 plus delightful hospitality, 90 pts/€6,150 to champion, last direct acceptance: Freddie Nielsen #294)

Returning champion Karol Beck is back to defend his title, but he’s already been knocked off the top-seeded perch by late wildcard entrant Andreas Seppi. Seppi has to face the tricky special entrant Dominik Meffert in the first round, who’s had some good results of late (Heilbronn quarters and Kazan semis, to be specific). The German also won their only meeting, on clay in Gstaad ’08. In that same section, would-be fifth seed and ATP Jo’burg finalist Somdev Devvarman withdrew and was replaced by lucky loser Alberto Brizzi, which is a good break for Uladzimir Ignatik, as the Belarussian was slated to play Somdev in the first round and now isn’t.

K.Beck, meanwhile, gets Estonian Jurgen Zopp at the other end of the draw, and would play the winner of the tough first round contest between ATP Jo’burg semifinalist Izak Van der Merwe and Heilbronn semifinalist Ilija Bozoljac, should he stop Zopp. Also in the bottom section, this match I’m watching right now between Andrej Martin and Martin Klizan, two Slovakians who were right next to one another on last week’s WATCH List, looks to be a tough one (though the focus on the webcam keeps changing because of the net between the court and the webcam). I’ll let you know my prediction for it as soon as the match comes to its completion. Much-lauded (in these parts anyway) Laurynas Grigelis got a wildcard and will play the other seed in this section, Olivier Rochus. Bottom section is packed, yo – with quality players and Slovaks (note: not mutually exclusive categories).

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