Tag Archive: Kenny De Schepper


Another week, another W.A.T.C.H. List. So let’s see Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs this week:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Bradley Klahn USA 23 64 others lost points
Kenny de Schepper FRA 26 67 Cherbourg W
Aleksandr Nedovyesov KAZ 27 79 others lost points
Dustin Brown GER 29 89 Cherbourg QF
Victor Estrella DOM 33 99 Salinas W
Blaz Rola SLO 23 128 Guangzhou W
Norbert Gombos SVK 23 166 Cherbourg F
Lucas Pouille FRA 20 173 Cherbourg QF
Andrea Arnaboldi ITA 26 177 others lost points
Albano Olivetti FRA 22 179 Cherbourg QF
Andrea Collarini ARG 22 207 Salinas F
Jarmere Jenkins USA 23 241 Australia F1 W
Emilio Gomez ECU 22 254 Salinas SF
Juan Ignacio Londero ARG 20 257 Salinas QF
Yasutaka Uchiyama JPN 21 273 Australia F1 SF
Jose Pereira BRA 23 277 Salinas QF
Borna Coric CRO 17 289 Croatia F2 SF
Andres Artunedo Martinavarro ESP 20 293 Portugal F3 W
Dennis Novak AUT 20 303 Egypt F6 W
Daniel Smethurst GBR 23 305 Great Britian F5 W

I do enjoy it when all the week’s CHamps make the List. It hardly ever works out that way, but all three of this past week’s events — the €64,000 Cherbourg Challenger, the $50,000 Guangzhou Challenger and the $40,ooo Salinas Challenger — have titlists on a career ascendancy.

Which is especially impressive in the case of 33-year-old Victor Estrella, who has had a breakout month after kicking around the Top 300 for the past six years or so, reaching the Top 100 for the first time and becoming the first Dominican Republican* to do so.

Sweet Victor-y (photo via naciondeporiva.com)

Sweet Victor-y (photo via Michael Monegro at naciondeporiva.com)

In Estrella’s past month he’s gone 12/2 at the challenger level, getting progressively better at each tourney. He made the semis in Dallas (losing to Steve Johnson) and the finals in Morelos (l. Gerald Melzer) before finally taking the Salinas title last week, increasing his ranking 38 spots from No. 137 on the 3rd of February exactly one month ago.

Meanwhile, Blaz Rola, more commonly known as my fifth Player to Watch for 2014, rebounded from a tough Indian Swing with a new coach — during which he went 2/3 at Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi — by grabbing the Guangzhou trophy. The 23-year-old Slovenian, by way of THE Ohio State University, continues to cut a swath through the rankings table, having begun the year at No. 185.

Rola Rocks His Way to the Guangzhou Title (d. Yuichi Sugita)

Rola Rocks His Way to the Guangzhou Title (d. Yuichi Sugita)

Cherbourg champ Kenny de Schepper has also come a long way from the days when we (sort of) watched him in the finals of the 2011 Great Britain F1 Futures event.

The Schepper in His Scotstoun Days - Head And Schoulders Above the Rest

The Schepper in His Scotstoun Days – Head And Schoulders Above the Rest

His win lifts the 6′ 8” (203 cm) lefty 17 spots in this week’s rankings, tying a Career High set September of last year.

Not to be overlooked is the man de Schepper vanquished in the final:

Norbert! Gombos!

Norbert! Gombos!

Because: Norbert Gombos!

Lastly, I don’t want to overlook the efforts of the last man on today’s table, Mr. Daniel Smethurst, as he’s had a truly tremendous 2014 campaign thus far. The 23-year-old Brit has gone 22/3 this season, making the finals of all 5 events he’s entered in 2014 and taking two titles.

So Good It Hurst

So Good It Hurst

I’ve been a Smethurst advocate since I saw him in worldbeater mode at the 2011 USA F2 Futures in Tamarac, FL, against another Challenger Tennis fave, Marcos Giron. At the time, I wrote: “I can’t really see how he’s not a Top 250 player already. He’s certainly got the ability.”**

Well, he’s now on his way.  Clearly ready to make the jump to the next level, he’s already proved his worth at challies, most recently with a singles semifinalist showing at the Champaign Challenger this past November. Can’t wait to see how he does from here.

*or Democrat, for that matter. /obvious joke that I’ve made before

**double negatives FTW!

No, you goons – this is not a special edition for those who’ve contracted certain romance-related diseases. Rather, it’s a special Valentines Day edition of my weekly list detailing Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs (although some would call Valentines Day itself a romance-related disease. I abstain from comment on the grounds that it might incriminate me).

So what makes this Valentines Day edition so special? Nothing really. Only that’s it’s made with love and dedicated to you, dear reader. *gags on sappy sentiment* Also, I’ve added an “age” column. You’re welcome. You know the rules by now, right? Only those ranked #80-350 make my list, unless I’m feeling particularly in an inclusive mood (who knows? On Valentines Day, you may get lucky). For those Titans of the Top 80, you must confer with our friends over at Shank Tennis.

All right! Enough of this tomfoolery. Let’s get to this week’s WATCH List!

Player Age NATION New High Prev High Why?
Grigor Dimitrov 19.75 BULGARIA 84 85 Q’ed, R1 R’dam
Benoit Paire 21.75 FRANCE 120 136 Q’ed, R2 R’dam
Alexander Kudryavtsev 25.25 RUSSIA 141 147 SF Bergamo
Tim Smyczek 23.10 USA 158 168 QF San Jose
Matthias Bachinger 23.90 GERMANY 161 163 R2 Bergamo
Robert Farah 23.25 COLOMBIA 183 184 Q’ed, R1 San Jose
Jurgen Zopp 22.90 ESTONIA 198 211 SF Bergamo
Sebastian Rieschick 24.99 GERMANY 225 228 R2 Quimper
Facundo Bagnis 20.95 ARGENTINA 231 238 Q’ed, R1 Brazil
Andres Molteni 22.92 ARGENTINA 236 246 QF Colombia F2
Alexander Lobkov 20.33 RUSSIA 252 253 Others lost points
Fritz Wolmarans 24.93 S. AFRICA 254 255 Others lost points
Amir Weintraub 24.42 ISRAEL 255 259 R2 Quimper
Phillip Bester 22.35 CANADA 260 268 R2 Caloundra
Clement Reix 27.35 FRANCE 265 270 R2 Quimper
Karan Rastogi 24.35 INDIA 284 328 W Cambodia F2
Javier Marti 19.10 SPAIN 295 308 R2 Spain F5
Kenny de Schepper 23.70 FRANCE 297 370 F Quimper
Ludovic Walter 28.10 FRANCE 304 315 R2 Quimper

Notable things to note:

The average age of this week’s WATCHers is 23 years old and 4 months. The youngest player achieving a career high today is Javier Marti at 19 and 1 month, while the oldest is former Duke University standout (two-time ITA All-American) Ludovic Walter at 28 and 1 month (warning: all age numbers are achieved by rounding off, for the most part, and are thus approximations).

Ludovic Walter quimping it up at the Quimper Challenger in France

Walter is an interesting case, having not even achieved a pro ranking until after his college days were over in 2006 at age 23. I suspect that, with college ball being an increasingly viable route for top talents and the age of the Top 100 skewing ever older, we’ll start to see many more players in the “Ludovic Walter” mold in the future.

Anyway, congrats to all who’ve achieved career highs this week. And to all the rest of you, I hope you achieve various highs of your own on this Valentines Day.

I want the French one to win.

Kenny De Schepper (FRA) vs Alexandre Sidorenko (FRA)

I arrived late, this time with absolutely no excuse. I called Scotstoun in the morning, asking for the Order Of Play, although they didn’t quite believe me when I told them that it was in fact not up on the website. Because you know, I just get kicks out of calling people up and pretending they’ve made a minor error.

So, I knew the start times, I purposely didn’t go out the night before, and I still arrived at 4-4. I was immediately reminded that Sidorenko was the one who looks like a member of some sort of Russian mob. He’ll start with your thumbs.


A few other things I immediately noticed on arrival:

  • It was very, very quiet. Blissfully quiet. The tournament is generally very loud throughout the week because it’s an indoor hall, lots of chumps and line judges shouting at the same time, lots of players screaming out in anger, and the spectators just generally walking and talking as they please. But today, silence.
  • Sharky.
  • There were actually a lot of people there. There were people in the stands who weren’t coaches, other players, or me. Actual normal people from Glasgow who came to watch the tennis. I liked this for about 4 seconds before they began to get on my nerves.

De Schepper broke at 5-5 to take the first set 7-5. Sidorenko woefully mumbled something in French and sat down, looking frightening as ever.

I had a DIE HARD SIDORENKO FAN sitting behind me for this match, who taught me many a thing about my future as a tennis fan. For example, I now know never to shout ‘ALLEZ!’, because as a Scottish person, it sounds fucking ridiculous. Also, it is not necessary to shout ‘OUI!’ if you are trying to convey your delight at a shot. They still understand ‘Yes’, and again, you’re Scottish, so it doesn’t even sound like you’re saying ‘YES!’ anyway. Shush.

I tried really, really hard to find any sort of like, techniques, or something, that they were doing. All I could really come up with or notice was that De Schepper was coming up with a hell of a lot of impressive winners, where as Sidorenko seemed to just wait around for him to make a mistake, usually having to take him to a long rally (something I hadn’t seen much of this week until the final). Both were pretty decent servers, too. I mean, De Schepper is… uh, really tall. His height doesn’t appear to be on the internet anywhere. I wrote on my big girl notepad that I’d like to know what the ace count from both of them was.

And then, something exciting happened.
I spotted Mathieu Rodrigues. For about three seconds, and then he disappeared.
5 games or so later, he still hadn’t resurfaced. I wondered if I was hallucinating low ranked French tennis players again. But voila! He appears with a friend and sits directly in front of me.
I was momentarily distracted at 4-5 due to attempting to read his texts over his shoulder, hoping that they read ‘OMG that girl is here, should I propose now or later?’. I snapped out of it when De Schepper smashed a ball into the net and looked genuinely frightened and confused about it.

De Schepper broke at 5-5 again, thanks to a painfully cruel net cord. One of those ones where the ball ever so slowly rolls over and there’s nothing you can do about it but cry and hope you’re dreaming.
“That’s pish.”, says the crowd.

De Schepper wins 7-5 7-5, raises his arms in victory and walks to the net to shake hands. A photo opportunity that I missed thanks to Rodrigues’ mate’s head.

Ann Widdecombe ran on court and just started giving people teddy bears.

Kenny is feigning appreciation of his rubbish prize rather well. Alexandre, on the other hand, was not impressed. Rodrigues was absolutely adorable at this point, as he kept making De Schepper laugh while he was supposed to be paying attention to the announcer and other important ceremonial things.

Cheer up, Sid.



I stayed for some of the women’s doubles final, simply because Sharky was chumping. Unfortunately, my battery ran out a few games in, and I left shortly after.
A very successful week at the tennis overall. Not so much for the British, but for the French. Good enough for me.

Teodora Mircic, I think.

I hope you have enjoyed my almost tennis related blogs about tennis, I hope to contribute more in the future!
(ahem.. Davis Cup is coming up, just throwing that out there.)

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