Tag Archive: Recife

Challenger Tennis Week 14 Recap

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.

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Challenger Tennis Week 14 Round Two In Review

The fields were whittled* down to the quarterfinalists in this week’s three challenger events. Let’s take a look at who was able to pass muster (hint: it wasn’t Thomas).

Monza – It’s been hard for me to get a handle on any definitive general trends taking place at this event, other than the fact I get “The Monster Mash” stuck in my head every time I think about it – which is more annoying than it is trendy.

I mean, three Germans made the quarterfinals – does that count for anything? It may, but as general trends go, it’s lukewarm at best. I guess I’ll just have to examine results here on a more case-by-case basis. Which sounds awfully labor intensive, but whatever.

The top half of the draw features one of them Germans, ninth seed Simon Greul, who beat unseeded Italian Andrea Arnaboldi 76(2) 63 to advance. Greul is the only remaining seed in the top half, and he wasn’t even meant to be seeded in the first place (erstwhile fifth seed Andreas Haider-Maurer withdrew with a right knee problem, so the seeds were all re-jiggered). Which means: the top of this draw is mild sauce, y’all. But also means: a big opportunity for one of the four remaining topside. Let’s meet them! *cues Dating Game theme song*

Guillermo Olaso is a 23-year-old Spaniard who’s currently ranked #205, who – with a win against Gruel – could very close to his career high of #193 (which he achieved when he made the final of the Meknes Challenger in February). According to a friend of mind on the Twitter, Olaso plays exactly like Rafael Nadal, only right-handed. And lower-level. And more inconsistent. But, you know. He lost 1 and 2 to Greul in their only previous meeting, but that was three years ago.

Whoa, that tired me out. I don’t think I wanna do introductions like that for Italian 33-year-old Alessio di Mauro or 24-year-old Austrian Martin Fischer, save to say their ages, nationalities and that they’ve never played. I premise to do a better profile of the guy who comes out the victor in this one, OK? (my money’s on Crivoi)

The bottom half of the draw features players who need less of an introduction. Former 33rd-ranked player in the world Andreas Beck continues his comeback from a bad back, taking out sixth seed Lukasz Kubot 7-5 7-6(6) in very circuitous fashion, having led 3-0 in both sets and having served for the match at 5-1 and 5-3 in the 2nd set. But a win’s a win, and now he’ll face The Turkish Delight, 4th seed Marsel Ilhan – a 6-2 7-6(4) winner over Victor Crivoi – in the quarters. It will be their first meeting.

Andi Beck Does The Monza Mash

Federico Delbonis will be kicking himself that he’s not in the QF’s, as he led seventh seed Julian Reister a set and a break, and led 5-2* in the second set breaker before going down 6-4 6-7(7) 1-6, his spirit all but broken in that third set, for all the opportunities missed. Reister will play Casablanca Challenger champ Evgeny Donskoy, winner of 15 of his last 16 matches, thanks in part to the 20-year-old Russian’s 6-2 7-5 victory over big French lefty qualifier Kenny de Schepper in round two here. It will be their first meeting as well.

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Challenger Tennis Week 14 Midview

In the grand tradition that I’ve taken great care to establish, I will be doing this week’s challenger tournament previews after all of the first rounds are completed. Hey – why mess with a winning formula? So herein follows your Week 14 preview midview.

Monza, Italy (Red Clay, 30K Euro + hospitality) – The top three seeds here? Czech Republic’s Jan Hajek, Germany’s Denis Gremelmayr and another Czech, Jaroslav Pospisil. But don’t get too excited about them, because they all lost in the first round. That’s right. It’s true. Alessio di Mauro beat Hajek 6-2 6-4, Kenny de Schepper knocked out Gremelmayr 6-2 7-5, and Guillermo Olaso popped Pospisil 2-6 6-2 6-4. Hello and goodbye. Sorry, but you got Monza mashed. So Turkish delight Marsel Ilhan is now the highest seed remaining (#4, in case you’ve lost count). And the highest seed left in the top half of the drawis ninth-seeded Simon Greul. Lord help us.

Not pictured: screaming local schoolchildren

43-year-old wildcard Thomas Muster made the latest in his series of possibly misguided attempts to rejoin the ATP tour, losing 5-7 2-6 to David Guez. The Austrian lefty is now 1/10 in his comeback venture (poor Borut Puc, who is the only one to suffer the ignominy of a loss), but bless him for trying. Really. While he’s out there fighting, I’m sitting on my ass writing – I have no grounds on which to criticize him. Other than that he’s old and hopeless, haha. (Kidding!) (Possibly.)

19-year-old Laurynas Grigelis Mustered up his own version of the Monza Mash, as another wild card got smashed – Challenger Tennis Player To Watch Evgeny Donskoy beat him 6-1 6-2. I’m not sure if Big Grig’s still carrying around remnants of the awful injury that saw him writhing on the court in Davis Cup, because that’s a surprisingly one-sided victory, I feel. That said, Donskoy has won 14 of his last 15 matches, having just won the Casablanca Challenger. So maybe he’s playing lights out. I dunno, I didn’t see it.

Anywho, the bottom half of the draw is as strong as the top half is weak. The second round matches are all very tasty-seeming: sixth seed Lukasz Kubot takes on un(der)seeded Andreas Beck, the former Top 40 player who’s still coming back from a bad back; Ilhan takes on Victor Crivoi, the former Top 75’er who still can be a bit of a tough out; seventh seed Julian Reister takes on the up-and-coming Argentinian 20-year-old Federico Delbonis; and Donskoy takes on De Schepper. All excellent entrees, in my estimation.

You can find the daily schedule of play here and streamed coverage of center court matches here.

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