While I was living the good life at the Tallahassee Challenger, the three Week Fourteen tourneys managed to come to a close without me. Let’s see how they did.
I see that Monza took the Teutonic mini-trend idea I floated in my midview and ran with it throughout quarterfinal Friday. All the Germans who played? Won. Ninth seed Simon Greul thrashed Meknes finalist Guillermo Olaso 6-2 6-1, Andreas Beck beat fourth seeded Marsel Ilhan 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1, and seventh seed Julian Reister ousted Casablanca champ Evgeny Donskoy 6-1 6-2.
The only spoiler in the semifinal lineup was Marrakech semifinalist Alessio di Mauro, who edged Martin Fischer 7-6(8) 4-6 6-4. But that’s OK – Fischer’s Austrian, so it wasn’t a true trend spoiler. Plus that’s di Mauro’s natural role anyway, that of the spoiler. He spoils every event he plays, simply by entering it, haha. (I kid because I love.)
In the semis, di Mauro (whose name is Italian for “The Spoiler”, I’m pretty sure) continued his spoiling ways, defeating Greul 6-4 2-6 6-2. Now, some might argue that this pleased the home crowd greatly, the Italian doing well in Monza. But I’m in no mood to argue. Reister squeaked past Beck 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1 in the other SF.
And so it was up to Reister to dash the Italian hopes and avenge his fallen Austrio-German comrades in the final. And dash and avenge he did, serving up a cold comeback win, 2-6 6-3 6-3 over the 33-year-old former Top 70 player. In doing so, the 25-year-old Reister arrives in the Top 100 for the very first time in his career, checking in at #100.
In the doubles final, third seeds Fred “The Perry” Nielsen and Johan “The Bruni” Brunstrom beat the fourth-seeded British pair of Jamie Delgado and Jonathan Marray 5-7 6-2 10-7. Freddie’s now at a career high #108 in dubs after floating around the Top 200 for a good four year or so.
Freddie and Bruni star in “The Italian Job”
In Recife, 18-year-old wild card Tiago Fernandes tried to extend the wave of homegrown Brazilian talent all the way through the final. In a battle of 18-year-old wild cards, he beat his friend and former junior dubs partner, Guilherme Clezar, 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) in what was, by all accounts, an epic encounter indeed. Clezar served for the match and a 2-0 H2H advantage. Instead, Fernandes’ victory evened up their head-to-head tally at one win apiece. “It was one of the best matches of my life,” said the winner (in Portuguese), “We both played at a very high level and a tie would be a fair result today.”
In the other quarterfinals, the three older Brazilians (two of them seeded) couldn’t do what Fernandes could. Seventh seed Caio Zampieri lost his quarterfinal 6-3 3-6 2-6 to fourth-seeded countryman Julio Silva, which set up a semifinal match with a 13.5 year age discrepancy vs. Tiago. 25-year-old fifth seed Ricardo Hocevar was beaten 4-6 6-1 6-1 by second seed Tatsuma Ito, while 28-year-old Andre Ghem was handed a 4&4 defeat by third seed Giovanni Lapentti.
That’s when things got weird. And rainy. But mostly weird. In the rain-delayed Fernandes v Silva semi, Silva won the first set 6-2, and Tiago was asking for a medical time out for back pain when the rains came again and moved play indoors to a different court surface!
Once they got on indoor clay instead of an outdoor hard court, the 18-year-old turned the match around, winning 2-6 7-5 7-6(2). In the other semi, Ito prevailed over Lapentti 7-6(7) 6-3.