Lopez roars past Dodig

2013 AEGON International, Feliciano LOPEZ, Ivan DODIG, Men's Singles, News

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Lopez semi-final winFeliciano Lopez sailed past Ivan Dodig 7-6 6-1 to reach his first grass court final.

The Spanish star edged the opening set but ran out an easy winner to avenge his 2011 Barcelona defeat in his only previous meeting with Dodig.

Lopez, a three-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist, appeared comfortable on grass as he eased his way into the final.

And he faces France’s Gilles Simon for a shot at glory, as a warm-up for their showdown on Tuesday at SW19.

Lopez said: “With these conditions it is very difficult, but I’ve only been here once before so I know it is windy because of the sea. But today was the first time this week that it was windy on court.

“I’m very happy to have won my way to the final, it’s good for my confidence – it’s definitely a good feeling for me.

“Whether I win or lose tomorrow, I will take some feedback into my match at Wimbledon on Tuesday. Obviously I would prefer to win here because it is the final and it is not easy to win a tournament.

“Hopefully I can play like this until the end of the season and improve my ranking, it’s a good feeling to be in the final at Eastbourne.”

Lopez faces no2 seed Gilles Simon in Saturday’s final, both players sealing straight set semi-finals successes, for their first meeting in five years.

Simon secured a victory on the indoor hard courts at Rotterdam in 2008, but the pair are due to clash twice in the space of four days when they play again at Wimbledon.

Lopez said, “This is tennis, and sometimes these things can happen. In a way it is good.”

Lopez only needed 65 minutes to sweep aside Dodig to reach his second ATP World Tour final of the season, having finished Memphis runner-up in February.

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Full steam ahead for Seppi

2013 AEGON International, Andreas Seppi, Fabio FOGNINI, Ivan DODIG, News, Radek STEPANEK

Andreas Seppi quarter-finalsAndreas Seppi made it three successive semi-final appearances at Eastbourne, his latest victim was Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in a one-sided encounter on Thursday.

The Italian no7 seed avoided his traditional stuttering start, which has given him a few worries earlier in the tournament, digging deep to produce penetrating winners at will.

But the tie was so dreary, without the passion and power of the previous match when Fabio Fognini was overturned by Ivan Dodig, that the Court 1 crowd left in their droves.

An insipid 73-minute contest lacked the verve and vitality of the rest of the 2013 AEGON International, Stepanek employing his well-known tactic of net charging and spoiling tactics to unnerve opponents in order to get the points decided as swiftly as possible.

Stepanek clearly no longer has the legs for long rallies, but it was an uninspiring display with Seppi mixing up the match with superb slices, volleys and powerful winners to finally notch his first victory over Stepanek in their sixth encounter.

Fognini slips up to Dodig

2013 AEGON International, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Ivan DODIG, Martin KLIZAN

Ivan Dodig quarter-finalsIvan Dodig marched past Fabio Fognini, to send the hapless Italian crashing out of a tournament that has been full of surprises.

The Croatian was expected to meekly surrender to the no8 seed on Court 1, but in a battle of the big hitters it became an intriguing tie of the highest quality – but over in just under an hour.

With moisture in the air – and on the court – Fognini slipped up and although he produced some divine shots he was outclassed by Dodig.

A very sparse crowd were treated to some terrific baseline battles, but Fognini was clearly frustrated at the lower than usual bounce because of the light drizzle and came close on occasions to smashing his racquet into the grass.

Fognini had also made a slow start in his previous match before bouncing back to see off Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Last time he trailed he altered tactics by approaching the net, totally opposite of his natural instinct to stay back with penetrating deep shots employed as his weapon of choice. But for some reason Fognini stuck with his guns but misfired in the baseline battle.

Fognini preserved his energy to scramble around the court in vain attempts to return thunderous drives and sliced backhands from Dodig, who will be relying on his solid serve in his second semi-final this year when he faces Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for a place in Saturday’s final.

Dodig’s best finish at a grass court event was as runner-up at the 2011Topshelf Open in the Netherlands, but if he can overturn Lopez then will face a golden opportunity to better that result.

Dodig stuns big serving Istomin

2013 AEGON International, Denis Istomin, Ivan DODIG, News

By Xavier Harley-Rudd

Ivan DodigIvan Dodig stunned big serving Uzbek Denis Istomin on Court 3 with a comprehensive 6-3 6-4 success on Tuesday.

The Croatian, who finds grass a chore to ply his trade, arrived at Eastbourne on the back of a 2nd Round defeat at Queen’s to 2013 runner-up Marin Cilic and not expecting to make much of an impact at Devonshire Park.

However, Dodig’s exciting game is suited to the speed of hard courts – highlighted with his shock win over Spaniard Rafael Nadal in Montreal two years ago – and he showed his expertise with a cool display to triumph.

Istomin, famous for his thundering two-handed cross court drives, found himself on the backfoot in what became a baseline battle of attrition and watched by only a handful of spectators.

Kohlschreiber can clinch crown

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Milos RAONIC, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international 2013

2013 Men’s Draw

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Philipp Kohlschreiber wins on grassMilos Raonic narrowly pipped Gilles Simon to the prestigious top seeding berth, but it is the no3 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who appears to be the most probable player to win the 2013 AEGON International.

German ace Kohlschreiber made 20102 his breakthrough year, finishing in the world’s top for the first time since turning professional in 2011 and reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals following four opening round defeats in seven seasons at SW19 – on top of a victory on grass at Halle in Germany over Rafael Nadal.

His 2012 win-loss grass record of 9-3 speaks volumes, and being one of the four seeds – all within the world’s top 20 – to be gifted a bye into the 2nd Round should ease his way through the field.

However, this is the strongest ever set of players in the Men’s draw with the no8 seed of Italian Fabio Fognini ranked at world no31.

There are two mouthwatering 1st Round clashes to relish, Bernard Tomic against British wildcard James Ward and Jarkko Nieminen facing Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.

bernard tomicTomic, a 2011 Wimbledon semi-finalist sensation as a tenacious teenager, has struggled ever since his father/coach John was involved in an alleged assault with his former practice partner at this year’s Madrid Masters.

The giant Australian fell in the 1st Round at Queen’s last week, which made it four ATP Tour defeats on the bounce. Yet his game is suited to fast surfaces and he has the ability to win this event if his confidence crisis doesn’t continue, which is seemingly due to his father’s coach accreditation ban by the ATP until October’s court hearing in Madrid.

British no2 Ward, who is playing in his fifth successive Eastbourne tournament and reached the 2010 quarter-finals, hovers just outside the world’s top 200 but produces his best on grass and in front of his home crowd.

The Londoner’s wildcard entry at Queen’s resulted in just the one match, beaten in three sets by Croatian Ivan Dodig. And wildcard Ward has a real shot at causing an upset if Tomic’s recent injury and personal circumstances take over from the natural ability that the Australian obviously possesses.

Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen tasted a 2nd Round reversal at Queen’s last week, one victory less than Lopez on the grass court in London.

Nieminen has picked up six wins in eight contests against Lopez, including their only grass court meeting – 2012 Wimbledon.

With totally different styles of play the result is in the balance, Nieminen is a firm favourite to progress and face no4 seed Monaco of Argentina although Lopez

Top Half

(1)Milos Raonic (CAN) bye
Denis Istomin (UZB) vs Ivan Dodig (CRO) [head-to-head1-0]
Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs Martin Klizan (SVK) [1-0]
Grega Zemlja (SLO) vs (8)Fabio Fognini (ITA) [1-2]
(4)Juan Monaco (ARG) bye
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [7-2]
Albert Ramos (ESP) vs (qualifier)James Blake (USA) [1-0]
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs (6)Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [1-0]

MilosRaonicRaonic is aiming to recover from last week’s reversal to France’s Gael Monfils on grass in Germany. Not only has Monfils since withdrawn injured from Wimbledon, but the giant Canadian arguably produced some of his worse tennis in recent seasons.

With a new coach to guide him, Raonic needs to return to winning ways and utilise his array of weapons on fast surfaces.

If Raonic can dispatch the winner of Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin or Dodig, then he should have few problems in getting past no8 seed Fognini, Slovenian Grega Zemlja, Slovakian Martin Klizan or Serbian Viktor Troicki to book a semi-final berth.

Monaco has a much tougher task to progress. He faces the winner of the Lopez/Nieminen contest, and if successful would take on either Spaniard Albert Ramos, American qualifier James Blake, Spain’s Fernando Verdasco or Ukraine’s Alex Dolgopolov in a battle for a last four place.

Lopez is arguably one of the best grass court players in the draw, with three quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon. And SW19 was a happy hunting ground for the veteran with Monaco one his victims at the 2012 London Olympics.

Bottom Half

(7)Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs (q)Guiliame Rufin (FRA) [1-0]
Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) vs (q)Ryan Harrison (USA) [1-0]
Radek Stepanek (CZE) vs Marinko Matosevic (AUS)
(3)Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bye
(5)Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Julien Benneteau (FRA) [1-2]
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs (WC)James Ward (GBR)
(WC)Kyle Edmund (GBR) vs (q)Kerry de Schepper (FRA)
(2)Gilles Simon (FRA) bye

Simon, dethroned as the top seed by Raonic’s late wildcard entry, should ease into only his second quarter-final at Eastbourne as he has a strong chance against either British wildcard Kyle Edmund or a French qualifier Kerry de Schepper in the 2nd Round.

Kevin Anderson appears to stand in the way of Simon progressing to the semi-final stage. But the South African giant has to fend off France’s experienced Julian Benneteau in the 1st Round with the winner of Tomic/Ward next up.

Andreas Seppi, the only former Devonshire Park champion in the draw, should have few difficulties in reaching the quarter-finals. The Italian has French qualifier Guiliame Rufin in the 1st Round, the winner will play either France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu or American qualifier Ryan Harrison.

Kohlschreiber, a quarter-finalist at last week’s grass court event in Germany, has a 2nd Round clash against Australian Marinko Matosevic or Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. And Kohlschreiber should soar to the semi-finals with ease.

Semi-Final Prediction
Raonic vs Lopez
Kohlschreiber vs Simon

Seeds

  1. Milos RAONIC (Canada)
  2. Gilles SIMON (France)
  3. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  4. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  5. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  6. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  7. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  8. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)

Simon snatches top billing

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI, Viktor TROICKI

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2013 entrants and seeds

gilles simon top seed 2013Gilles Simon, the 28-year-old from Nice, is the top seed as the highest ranked of the trio from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.

Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed “Gilou” with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago.

Although British fans will probably remember the current world no17 bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.

German Phillip Kohlschreiber (world no18) missed out on being seeded no1 and has the perfect all round game that is suited to grass, so is the most probable champion.

Argentinian Juan Monaco (world no20) is the no3 seed but is a clay court expert so is likely to find the adjustment from a gruelling season on a slower surface difficult to adjust to.

In form Kevin Anderson has been given the no4 seeding and the 6 foot 8 inch South African star will be a force to be reckoned with courtesy of his thundering serve and game suited to fast surfaces.

Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, a Devonshire Park regular, takes the no5 slot with former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy a dangerous opponent as no6 seed.

Seppi’s compatriot Fabio Fognini takes the no7 berth with French ace Julien Benneteau completing the eight seeds.

But the player that the seeds will be aiming to avoid will be Monaco-based Australian Bernard Tomic, who in 2011 became the first teenager since Boris Becker to reach the Men’s Singles semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Tomic stuttered out of the 2012 AEGON International in three sets to Fognini despite being the no4 seed and was booed off the Wimbledon courts following his destruction of the grass with his racquet after tasting defeat.

Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek will be another difficult opponent, and if compatriot Tomas Berdych – a top 10 player – has a shortlived experience at Queen’s in London then he will listen to whether his coach Ivan Ljubicic wants him to warm-up Wimbledon as a Devonshire Park wildcard.

Thomaz Belluci has withdrawn from the tournament, which isn’t the first time that the Brazilian has opted to skip the event.

Men’s Provisional Seeds

Seed

Men

Nation

1

Gilles SIMON  France

2

Phillip KOHLSCHREIBER  Germany

3

Juan MONACO  Argentina

4

Kevin ANDERSON  South Africa

5

Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV  Ukraine

6

Andreas SEPPI  Italy

7

Fabio FOGNINI  Italy

8

Julien BENNETEAU  France

The entrants confirmed are:

  1. Gilles SIMON (France)
  2. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  3. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  4. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  5. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  6. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  7. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
  8. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  9. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  10. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  11. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  12. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  13. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  14. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  15. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  16. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  17. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  18. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)

Men’s entrants

2013 AEGON International, Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV, Andreas Seppi, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, EXCLUSIVE, Fabio FOGNINI, Feliciano LOPEZ, Fernando VERDASCO, Gilles SIMON, Grega ZEMLJA, Ivan DODIG, Jarkko NIEMINEN, Juan MONACO, Julien BENNETEAU, Kevin ANDERSON, Martin KLIZAN, Men's Singles, News, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER, Players, Radek STEPANEK, Thomaz BELLUCCI, Viktor TROICKI

2013 entrants – exclusive

Title contender: Gilles Simon

CLICK HERE FOR LATEST ENTRANT NEWS

Men (ATP Tour) // Gilles Simon,the 28-year-old from Nice, is set to be the provisional top seed as the highest ranked of the eight from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.

Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed Gilou with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago. Although British fans will probably remember him bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.

Argentinian Juan Monaco and former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy make up the trio of top 20 players.

Yet there are five other aces who will also be vying to become the no1 seed at Eastbourne, namely Phillip Kohlschreiber, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Fabio Fognini, Kevin Anderson, Martin Klizan and Julien Benneteau.

The entrants confirmed are:

  1. Gilles SIMON (France)
  2. Juan MONACO (Argentina)
  3. Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
  4. Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
  5. Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
  6. Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
  7. Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
  8. Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
  9. Julien BENNETEAU (France)
  10. Thomaz BELLUCCI (Brazil)
  11. Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
  12. Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
  13. Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
  14. Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
  15. Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
  16. Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
  17. Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
  18. Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
  19. Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)

IVAN DODIG

2013 AEGON International, Ivan DODIG
Dodig, IvanDodig, Ivan
Birthplace:
Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Residence
Zagreb, Croacia
Height
6′ (183 cm)
Weight
183 lbs (83 kg)
Plays
Right-handed
Turned Pro
2004

Ivan Dodig was born on the 2nd of January, 1985 in Medjugorje (Bosnia-Herzegovina), but has Croatian nationality.

He began playing tennis at eight years of age and by 2010, aged 25, he had begun to make a name for himself on elite professional circuits and finished up that year in the Top 100 for the first time.

He has never got past the second round of a Grand Slam tournament, although in the 2011 Australian Open he was the only player in the whole tournament to steal a set from the future champion, Novak Djokovic. Days later, in February, he won his first and only tournament in Zagreb and in June of that year he reached the final of another ATP tournament in Hertogenbosch, where he was defeated by Russian Dmitry Tursunov.

In October 2011 he reached his highest ATP ranking (32nd) after achieving one of the most important results of his career, defeating world No.2 Rafael Nadal in the Canada Masters 1000 tournament.

In 2012 he could not defend his title in Zagreb, but he did reach the doubles final alongside fellow Croat Mate Pavic.