Actually, Monday/Tuesday in review, and – where Burnie is concerned – maybe a little Wednesday as well, depending on how slowly I type this (although they’re in a rain delay for the moment). The first round is generally complete at all of of this week’s three challenger sites, so let’s check out this week’s second round survivors and first round divers.
BUT FIRST! Congratulations are in order to Dmitry Tursunov, who beat fifth-seeded Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-2 (Rosol played like he had a plane to catch) to take the title of the rain-delayed Singapore Challenger. The 28-year-old Russian pocketed $7,200 and 90 ATP Points for his efforts, which shot him 47 rungs up the rankings ladder to #150. Rosol, for his part, did hop a plane – to Burnie, where he was promptly upset in the first round by 412th-ranked Canadian Erik Chvojka, the poor guy. He’s on the OOP for doubles tonight, too. Ouch. Speaking of…
Aussie Aussie Aussie – ay yi yi. The first round of the McDonald’s Burnie International was a special sauce-laden bloodbath for the Australian players, who were not, in fact, ‘lovin it’. The only Oz players to advance to the second round Tuesday without having to beat a compatriot were Matty Ebden, a 6-2 6-3 upset winner over third-seeded Slovenian Grega Zemlja, who himself flew over from the Honolulu Challenger (although he lost first round there, so – presumably – flew to Tasmania a lot sooner than Rosol did) and qualifier Benny Mitchell, a 7-5 4-6 6-3 victor over the carousing Ivo Klec. And the only ones who did so on Monday were qualifier Joel Lindner, who upset 7th seed Ivo Minar in a match I totally predicted (after the fact) and wildcard James Lemke, who had a nice 7-6(4) 4-6 6-4 victory over 2011 Challenger Tennis Player to Watch Tsung-Hua Yang.
Other than that: top-seeded Marinko Matosevic lost to Canadian Phillip Bester (a Honolulu second round vanquishee) 2-6 6-4 2-6; John Millman lost to Flavio Cipolla (a Singapore quarterfinalist) 3-6 2-6; four seed Carsten Ball lost 2-6 4-6 to James Ward, who promptly added insult to injury by making a hash out of Carsten’s name in a victory tweet. It was Wardy’s first win of the year, but Alex still leads the Top 500 British Wards in wins for the year, especially with James stuck in a 4-all match suspension limbo at the time of this typing); qualifier James Duckworth lost to Jan Hernych 6-3 4-6 1-6; Greg Jones (another Honolulu lulu) was beaten by 8 seed Tatsuma Ito (another Singapore quarterfinalist) 4-6 0-6;
All in all, 8 of the 11 losers from Tuesday’s play were Australian. And 6 of them were beaten by a non-Australian. Ouch. Bernard Tomic and Chris Guccione avoided the carnage, but only by beating up on fellow Aussies Sam Groth and Brydan Klein in the process. Peter Polansky also posted a nice win, 6-3 3-6 6-4 over Dusan Lojda.
Oh, and a piece of good-ish news before I move on: a kind Twitterer informed me that there is indeed a livestream for Burnie this year! It even has archived matches. You can spend your week at Burnie’s through this here livestream link. So I guess there goes sleep for another week, eh?
Kazan, chop! Six seeds played, and three were cut down, including top seed Conor Niland, who lost to Ilya Belyaev 1-4 retired. On the combo draw sheet it says that the reason for Niland’s retirement is “flew” – so either the zany Kazanians are having homonym issues, or Conor just decided he’s had enough of the brown tap water and the dodgy lunches and went Russian out of there quickly. Either way, I dread the next J.Clusk twitpic.
Other seeds to fall included 3 seed Alexander Kudryavtsev, beaten by Marius Copil 6-3 7-6(3), and Marek Semjan, the 8th seed – he was deep sixed 2-6 6-3 6-3 by Alexander Bury. All of the Kazan-chopped seeds fell from the top branches of the draw, too, so it’s wide open up there, now that all the big names have been felled. And there’s an intriguing match at the very top, too, between two just-turned-20-year-old Russians Alexander Lobkov and Ilya Belyaev, both under brief consideration for 2011 Challenger Tennis Player To Watch Honors before the season started (maybe I’ll rotate one in now that I’ve disowned Souto). Big opportunity for both guys, though.
The only seed remaining in the top half now is  Uladzimir Ignatik, who – in order for my preview prediction to come true – must fall to Amir Weintraub, since  Jurgen Zopp didn’t have the common decency to lose to Henri Kontinen like he was supposed to (the Estonian won 6-3 7-5).
Jurgen Could Not Be Zopped
Speaking of Weintraub, you must go immediately (well, after finishing this article) to read his column about life in the tour’s trenches – it’s essential reading for you Challenger Tennis lot. You can access all his columnal installments through our friends at Shank Tennis. And if you find them any other way, I’ll come and ICE you like they did to atdhe.net.
Other matches did take place at Kazan today, but they were not worth typing about here. Trust me.
What got into little second seeded Ollie Rochus, do ya think? 6-0 6-0 over poor 1,433rd-ranked wildcard Matthieu Vierin in under 49 minutes! Oh, I guess that 1,433 number does account for some of that. Never mind! (Heh – the pocket Rochus won 68% of return points. Vierin did have 2 break points, though. So that’s a wildcard well used, then.)
8th-seeded Frenchman Vincent Millot, who got off to an 8/0 start this year after winning the Noumea Challenger and making it through quals at the Australian Open, has now lost in three straight first rounds. Including this one, 3-6 6-7(4) to co-Frenchie Romain Jouan. A good day for the other seeded Freedommen, however, as WATCH Lister  Benoit Paire took his sweet, flambuoyant time in beating qualifier Clement Reix 6-3 3-6 6-3, and  Nicolas Mahut experienced some score symmetry of his own, taking out Dieter Kindlmann 7-6(4) 7-6(4). All the other French people lost. Give them not another thought this tournament.
Qualifier Laurynas Grigelis, however, remains somewhat thinkworthy, as he justified all the attention I paid him in my Courmayeur preview by straight-setting Matwe Middelkoop. He’ll
beat play top seed Simone Bolelli next. Ruben Bemelmans struggled with 370th-ranked Italian wildcard Luca Vanni before putting him away 7-6(5) 6-7(5) 6-3. Third seed Gilles Muller capped things off with a breezy 6-3 6-3 win over Alberto Brizzi. And Heilbronn Challenger champ Bastian Knittel continued to roll, albeit over an easily rollable Elie Rousset, a 979th-ranked 21-year-old Frenchman playing just the 17th professional match of his career. Well I never.