The second player to attain the illustrious honor of Challenger Tennis Player to Watch for 2014 is another teenager, just like our first selection, Borna Coric. And like Lava*, our second selection is also a former ITF World Junior Number One who bagged a Boys’ Slam title recently. Any guesses? Gianluigi Quinzi? Nick Kyrgios? Filip Peliwo?
Wrong. Wrong. And also: WRONG! Those were terrible guesses, and you should be ashamed.
Nay, our second Player To Watch for 2014 is… Kimmer Coppejans!
Kimmer Is Served
The nineteen-year-old Belgian has had a year to remember, beginning his first full season at pro level by making consecutive Futures semifinals in Turkey, then going on a summertime tear, winning four out of five Belgian Futures events in June and July. He immediately capitalized on that momentum by making the quarterfinals of the Meknes Challenger before petering out in Asia to close out his 2013 campaign.
Pro Tip: Catching The Ball Before You Hit It Will Result in the Loss of the Point
OK, so make it a nine months to remember, then. But petering or no, Coppejans rose a decent 506 spots in the rankings to ATP #251 since the beginning of the year, posting a more-than-respectable 49/22 record (a winning percentage of 69%) even while losing four out of the final five matches he played this season.
Match reports up later, for now the results:
[Q] Rafael Camilo defeated Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 5-7 7-6 7-5 (saved a match point in the TB!)
 Ricardo Mello leads  Federico Delbonis 6-4 5-7 *5-4 (play suspended: rain!)
 Gilles Muller defeated Augustin Gensse (FRA) 6-3 6-4
Vincent Millot defeated  Jesse Huta Galung, walkover
Vincent Millot defeated  Gilles Muller 7-6 2-6 6-4
Update on lack of further updates:
Unfortunately, I’m not going to have the time to do a proper write-up up of these matches; I’m packing up to head down to Florida and cover the first four Futures events there. In the meantime, caioswim
has done an amazing job of covering the Sao Paulo
tournament all week with his Youtube videos.
Here’s a nice little chunk of the Camilo v Menendez
match. It’s a good illustration of the weaponry Camilo has at his disposal, as well as the work he still needs to do to improve his consistency and fitness (note: he’s in the far court):
I have to say, I’m really starting to love this kid and his game. And his breakout success in this event has not only been the story of the tournament (he’s now won 3 matches having saved match points), but further underlines how insane the tournament organizers were to put his epic match against Horacio Zeballos on an outside court, when the main court was available. I’m still trying to get over that one. Even his doubles final (he and Santiago Gonzalez are the top seeds and beat third seeds James Cerretani/Adil Shamasdin 6-4 6-7(6) 10-5 in the semis) won’t be on Court Central. The tournament director must hate him. (kidding)
Anyway, here are the final points of the Camilo-Menendez contest:
It’s a shame we don’t have someone like caioswim
but here are some pretty sweet pictures
of Millot’s championship victory over Muller. It was the 24-year-old Frenchman’s first Challenger Tour title (and his first final since June of 2009). Second seeds Freddie Nielsen
and Dominik Meffert
took the dubs trophy 7-6(4) 5-7 10-5 over top-seeded Flavio Cipolla
and Simone Vagnozzi
Regarding Jesse Huta Galung’s
withdrawal: apparently playing the semifinals would be too much of a pain in the butt.
Didn’t want to take any chances with Australian Open
qualifying so soon on the horizon. Speaking of which, we’ll be providing full coverage of the qualifying tournament down under, with a very special guest author/editor on board. Who could it be? Hint: it’s someone who writes much better then I do. (Yes, I know: that doesn’t narrow down the field too much, haha.)
[Yet another in a long and hallowed line of award-winning dispatches from our Noumea Bureau Chief, Mr. Jonathan Artman]
Local boy Augustin Gensse continued his great run with victory over Slovakian Pavol Cervenak in straight sets, 7-6(6), 6-4.
Gilles Muller continued his 3-set specialty wins with another over Flavio Cipolla, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a real thriller. Cipolla always does well here in Noumea but had his 2011 campaign ended by the big lefty from Luxembourg.
Vincent Millot pulled out another upset from the hat, defeating compatriot Josselin Ouanna in 3 sets, 3-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(2). A really hard-fought victory to progress to the semis.
2nd seed Jesse Huta Galung marched on towards the Final with a victory over Gregoire Burquier 6-4, 7-5.
The first Semi sees the current favourite for Noumea glory this year, Jesse Huta Galung, face off against surprise package Vincent Millot. Millot has seen off two compatriots as well as Amir Weintraub, who was on an 8-match winning streak before Millot ground it down to an abrupt halt. The young, exciting Dutchman ought to finally put pay to the Frenchman’s hopes due to his consistent play from the baseline. Millot is capable of beating the likes of Galung on his day, however, so it promises to be an intriguing clash. Expect another 3 setter involving the Frenchman but Galung to finally prevail.
Once again lovingly cut-and-pasted by my overtaxed typing fingers. You’re welcome!
 J Huta Galung (NED) b G Burquier (FRA) 64 75
 G Muller (LUX) b F Cipolla (ITA) 63 16 63
V Millot (FRA) b  J Ouanna (FRA) 36 76(0) 76(2)
A Gensse (FRA) b P Cervenak (SVK) 76(6) 64
[Another annoying note from the editor: below please revel in the insanely popular previewing stylings of Noumea Bureau Chief and New Caledonia Tennis Aficionado Mr. Jonathan Artman. Upon completion of this year’s event, his daily Noumea previews will be collected into a compendium and released as a lovely coffee table book]
Thursday sees the quarter-finals take place in New Caledonia, and we begin to progress to the nitty-gritty stages of the Championships.
Augustin Gensse and Pavol Cervenak (the latter you may know from his doubles exploits) will face-off in the low-key quarter-final (hey, they can’t all be big games).
2nd seed Jesse Huta Galung will be the opposition for local boy Gregoire Burquier, who is a surprise name in the draw. Currently ranked at 233, his highest in his career thus far, the 26-year-old was not expected to do much this week in all honesty but has strung up a good few wins already. Galung will represent by far his toughest test yet, however. The young Dutchman ought to end the Frenchman’s glory hopes today, in straight sets. Infact, with Igor Sijsling departing early in somewhat shocking fashion, Jesse is arguably the favourite to win the 2011 Noumea title.
The all-French clash sees Josselin Ouanna pit his skills against Vincent Millot who has really earned his quarter-final spot with wins over Marc Gicquel and a confident Amir Weintraub. Ouanna has not had things easy playing the likes of Rik de Voest, who can be a challenging opponent on his day. But the Frenchman, not renowned for having a great deal of hair at the best of times [editor’s note: LOL], has performed admirably thus far in 2011. I expect Ouanna to end his compatriot’s impressive run but Millot oughtn’t bow down easily.
Arguably the most interesting clash on Thursday will see Gilles Muller play the Italian and former Champion here in Noumea, Flavio Cipolla. Muller was expected to get at least this far but he has not progressed in the fashion that was likely of him – he dropped a set to both Danai Udomchoke and little known Clement Reix from France. Conversely, Flavio has seen off his opponents in straight sets thus far and destroyed his experienced opponent, David Guez; it must be said, however, that the Frenchman is known for his off-days now and then. Or perhaps, a bit more often than “now and then”.
I am going for an Italian victory as he seems to be blessed in this place. Muller has not convinced this week and he will have to improve markedly to defeat Cipolla. If he plays in the same manner as he has done already, Cipolla will beat him quicker than he can polish off a home-made stone-baked ciabatta.