ATP Challenger Features Strong Draw as Several Top-Seeded Players Upset in the First Two Rounds
It is four days into the 2014 Irving Tennis Classic, and there are upsets galore after the first two rounds of main draw singles and doubles action. The tournament has had many surprises, which has resulted in a majority of the top-seeded players losing in the early rounds. The No. 3 tournament seed and No. 47 ATP world ranked Lukas Rosol (CZE) stands as the only seeded player that remains in the singles draw.
Baylor alumnus and Plano resident, Benjamin Becker (GER), headlined Wednesday’s action after he upset the No. 1 seed Vasek Pospisil (CAN) in the first round. While he was excited to defeat the No. 1 seed, Becker noted that the talent at the Irving Tennis Classic is pretty strong across the board.
“Most of the guys at the tournament are pretty even,” said Becker. “Most of the guys can beat each other on any day.”
The twists and turns continued into Thursday’s second round of singles play. The No. 2 seed Federico Delbonis (ARG) fell to Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR), and the No. 5 seed Denis Istomin (UZB) fought hard in the final match of the second round, but eventually fell 6-3, 7-6(5) to Tobias Kamke (GER).
Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko continued in his success at this year’s tournament after he upset the Netherlands’ No. 4 seed Igor Sigsling in straight sets (7-5, 6-2) to advance to the singles quarterfinals. Thursday’s contest was Marchenko’s fourth singles match of the tournament, making him the player with the most matches played thus far. Marchenko entered the tournament as a qualifier, and he earned his spot in the main draw after winning both of his matches in the qualifying rounds.
Amongst the international field, three young, up-and-coming American talents – Steve Johnson, Tim Smyzcek and Ryan Harrison – all won in the second round and advanced to the singles quarterfinals.
In doubles action, the top seed duo of Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and America’s Scott Lipsky started off strong with a dominant 6-4, 6-2 first round victory. Gonzalez and Lipsky were the 2012 Doubles Champions, and they are looking to capture that title again after pulling out a win in a close match during the quarterfinals on Thursday. The duo won 10-8 in the third set super tiebreaker to advance to the doubles semifinals on Friday.
While Gonzalez and Lipsky remain as the No. 1 seeds, the remainder of the top four seeded doubles teams did not fair as well in the first two rounds of play. Both the No. 2 and 3 seeded teams were upset in the opening rounds of the main draw, and the fourth seed Skupski brothers fell in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Thursday’s doubles action continued into the evening with an exciting night match on the Championship Court. New to the 2014 schedule, featured night matches have been added so that fans have the opportunity to catch some tennis action both during and after the usual work hours. Also, with it being Spring Break, families are able to enjoy an evening activity. The team of Galung (NED) and Rosol played in Thursday’s featured night match, where they defeated the duo of Hanley and Ram in a decisive three set match to advance to the semifinals round. With the win, Rosol is the only player remaining in the main draw who has advanced in both singles and doubles.