By Xavier Harley-Rudd
Kyle Edmund registered his inaugural ATP Tour victory in style on Eastbourne’s Centre Court with a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 win over qualifier Kenny de Schepper of France on Monday.
The British wildcard, who lost in his first ATP circuit main draw match at Queen’s in London last week, only conceded nine points on his serve to leave big server De Schepper shellshocked by the 18-year-old.
Edmund made a mockery of being world no.442 to overturn an opponent ranked 360 places above him and next faces no.2 seed Gilles Simon of France.
But Simon needs to be aware that the Australian-born teenager Edmund likes dealing with the French, following up his Junior French Open Boys Doubles success with a 64-minute success against a tired looking De Schepper.
And Edmund, who has been granted a wildcard for Wimbledon, is going to be a popular figure at Devonshire Park as he has pledged to donating half of his AEGON International his prize money this week to The Royal Marsden hospital in London.
Edmund, who moved to Yorkshire aged three, said: “I’ve trained hard after Queen’s and focusing on returning the ball, it worked out great.
“I’m just happy to get the win after being given a wildcard and this great opportunity to play here in Eastbourne.”
And there was another shock in the 1st Round, Ukraine’s no6 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov faltering 1-6 6-3 6-2 to tricky left hander Fernando Verdasco in 75 minutes.
The Spanish star made a dreadful start, but once he found his feet on grass – a surface that he has an impressive record on, except at SW19 – swept past Dolgopolov, conceding just five points on serve in the last two sets.
There were no such problems for the two Italian seeds, Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini, although they were both pushed to three sets.
Seppi, the 2011 champion and 2012 runner-up at Eastbourne, was slow off the blocks against French qualifier Guiliaume Rufin. But the no7 seed bounced back to record a 3-6 6-3 6-4 1st Round win in 107 minutes.
Fogini, a 2012 AEGON International quarter-finalist, narrowly lost the tiebreak 8-6 in the opening against Grega Zemlja, who defeated Edmund at Queen’s last week. But Fognini turned on the style to reel off the next two sets to see off the Slovenian 6-7 6-2 6-4.
American ace Ryan Harrison made it his fourth win at Devonshire Park in three days after delivering the knockout blow to France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu in a third set tiebreak 7-4.
The industrious 21-year-old qualifier gained revenge over Mathieu for last month’s reversal in Nice to collect his sixth main draw success of the season in just under two hours, winning 6-4 2-6 7-6 courtesy of 11 aces.
But James Blake, Harrison’s compatriot and fellow qualifier, was humbled 6-2 6-4 by Spaniard Albert Ramos.
- Podgorica, Montenegro
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- 6′ 5″ (1.90 m)
- 198 lbs (90 kg)
- Turned Pro
The giant Canadian is arguably one of the most exciting prospects on the ATP World Tour with his thundering serve.
Having moved from Montenegro to Canada aged three, he perfected his game as child with a ball machine. This practice paid dividends as Raonic became just the third Canadian man in the Open Era to reach the 4th Round of a Grand Slam by excelling at the 2012 Australian Open..
He made it an incredible hat-trick of San Jose titles on the bounce in February 2013 to become the first player for almost 50 years to achieve such an impressive feat.
His style of play suit fast courts, where he relies on his height and reach to thunder down serves and put away overhead smashes.
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Gilles Simon, who has yet to progress beyond the 4th Round at Wimbledon, is one of the favourites to lift the 2013 AEGON International crown.
But the French ace, whose game is suited to the low bounce on grass, as top seed will no doubt feel the pressure on him at Devonshire Park as he was pushed out of being the top seed on Thursday evening.
Milos Raonic, the world no15, taken over the mantle as no1 seed for the 2013 AEGON International as a late wildcard.
The Canadian was bundled out of the opening round of the grass court Gerry Weber Open in Germany by French ace Gael Monfils, following on from his early French Open exit after being out served by South African Kevin Anderson.
Despite his infamous booming serve, Raonic’s game has recently been going through a bad patch after he parted ways with Spanish coach Galo Blanco last month.
The 22-year-old has turned to Croatia’s Ivan Ljubicic, who retired from the ATP Tour last year after 14 seasons, on a trial run and the duo are working together from their respective residence in Monte Carlo.
Raonic said: “We both come from aggressive styles of play, so he understands the mentality I have on court as well as the areas where I can improve.”
The British duo of talented teenager Kyle Edmund and Davis Cup stalwart James Ward have also been given wildcards into the Eastbourne event.
Ward, a 2010 AEGON International quarter-finalist, admitted: “I’m really looking forward to returning to Eastbourne, it’s the perfect opportunity to get in some matches ahead of Wimbledon.”
Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci has become the first withdrawal from the tournament, and previously skipped the Eastbourne event, although was never amongst the players likely to win.
But Phillip Kohlschreiber, who narrowly missed out on being the no1 seed, is the most probable champion with an attacking style of play that is suited to grass and saw the German reach the 2012 Wimbledon quarter-finals.
South African no1 Anderson made a name for himself on grass with an impressive run to the quarter-finals at 2008 Wimbledon – just a year after joining the ATP Tour – and the thundering serves from the 6 foot 8 inch powerful ace are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
That was in 2011, but the tenacious Aussie had an unhappy return to SW19 last season and has courted controversy off the court due to allegations involving his father/coach John.
Tomic was surprisingly defeated in three sets by Italian Fabio Fognini at the 2012 AEGON International, so will be a dangerous floater in the draw.
Another Italian regular to Devonshire Park, former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi, has a slim shot of winning the tournament.
Clay court expert Juan Monaco of Argentina, Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, French ace Julien Benneteau and Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek will all be vying a slice of glory although it seems that the top three seeds of Raonic, Simon and Kohlschreiber are the overwhelming favourites to taste success.
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
2013 entrants and seeds
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
Gilles SIMON France
Phillip KOHLSCHREIBER Germany
Juan MONACO Argentina
Kevin ANDERSON South Africa
Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV Ukraine
Andreas SEPPI Italy
Fabio FOGNINI Italy
Julien BENNETEAU France
The entrants confirmed are:
- Gilles SIMON (France)
- Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
- Juan MONACO (Argentina)
- Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
- Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
- Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
- Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
- Julien BENNETEAU (France)
- Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
- Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
- Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
- Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
- Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
- Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
- Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
- Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
- Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
- Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)
Bernard Tomic, who withdrew from the 2013 French Open due to a hamstring injury after losing the opening two sets to Victor Hanescu, should be fit in time for his return to Eastbourne.
Tomic required treatment after 10 minutes of the opening round contest, and it was the second time this year he has quit against the Romanian after conceding with a leg injury in Dubai.
But the Monaco-based Australian is set to rest before competing at Queen’s in London before his last warm-up for Wimbledon at the 2013 AEGON International.
Tomic fell in three sets to Italian Fabio Fognini in his opening match, a 2nd Round clash, at the 2012 AEGON International as no4 seed. This year he won’t be among the seeds and could be a dangerous floater.
There are some rumours flying around claiming that Tomic deliberately withdrew at Roland Garros when he was on the verge of defeat, which was because of the ban by the French Open organisers on his father and coach John.
And Wimbledon’s All England Club are set to match this ban at SW19 for The Championships that start on 24 June. An All England Club spokesperson said: “We are supporting the ban on accreditation pending his investigation/trial. We will also look to prevent entrance by ticket.”
The International Tennis Federation has rejected Tomic’s father’s coach’s accreditation application for 2013 Wimbledon because of assault charges in Madrid, Spain.
Tomic, who made a major impact as a 18-year-old at 2011 Wimbledon to become the youngest men’s quarter-finalist since Boris Becker in 1986, was not a popular figure at SW19 last year and was booed out of the court after taking chunks out of the hallowed turf with his racquet following a shock defeat to David Goffin.
Although his father will be travelling with him to England for the grass court season, both Queen’s and Eastbourne are expected to also initiate bans.
Tomic explained: “My father’s still working with me, nothing’s really changed. He’s still my coach and he will always be because I grew up with him and he knows me better than everyone else.
“But I might put someone else on board that can help my dad and those two people can negotiate. Not a coach, but someone just to help me a little bit. I haven’t made a decision yet on who.
“It might be a few weeks away yet, after the grass season. I probably have a choice of two or three people now. I will decide with my dad over the next week and who knows? Maybe you’ll see someone you don’t expect.”
- San Remo, Italy
- Arma di Taggia, Italy
- 5’10” (178 cm)
- 163 lbs (74 kg)
Italy’s Fabio Fognini was born in San Remo on 24 May 1987. He broke into the ATP top 100 (no.94) in 2007, four years after turning pro. He maintained his good form in 2008 and finished the season as Italy’s second best tennis player, just behind Seppi.
He enjoyed the best season of his career in 2009, recording 20 victories and reaching the quarterfinals in six tournaments, including Monte Carlo (where Cilic knocked him out) and the Roland Garros. He also got to the semi-finals in Stuttgart.
In 2010 he got to the third round in the Roland Garros (beating local favourite Monfils in five sets before falling to Wawrinka) and to the same stage in Wimbledon, a Grand Slam where he eliminated Fernando Verdasco, the tournament’s ninth seed.
Although his greatest achievement in a Grand Slam came in the Roland Garros of 2011, when he reached the quarter-finals, he was not able to play the match due to an injury he picked up while defeating Spain’s Albert Montañés in the previous round.
To date he is yet to win an ATP singles title, although he was crowned champion in Umag in 2011 along with his partner, Simone Bolleli, in the mixed doubles event.
Friday 2012 Round-Up by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Final countdown: Andy Roddick
Andy Roddick squares off against reigning champion Andreas Seppi in the Eastbourne final, having only been served one difficult match on his Devonshire Park debut.
The world no33 collected much-needed grass court practice to capture his 600th ATP Tour victory courtesy of back-to-back wins.
With rain delaying the quarter-finals by a day, the eight competitors had their work cut out – especially with the blustery weather conditions – as the semi-finals needed to also be played.
Italian Seppi was first to step onto the stage and began delivering a perfect act when leading 7-5, 2-1, only for German Philipp Kohlschreiber to be forced to retire because of an ankle injury.
Seppi next opponent was 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison, was held off Denis Istomin in the opening tiebreak 7-5 to register a slender 7-6 6-4 triumph.
But despite his youthfulness Harrison was outplayed by wily Seppi, the contest completed in 75 minutes with Seppi soaring through to his second Eastbourne final on the bounce with a comfortable 7-5 6-1 success.
Roddick squeezed through to the semi-final stafe with a fiercely fought contest against Fabio Fognini.
The Italian handed the 29-year-old a number of scares before succumbing to the three-time Wimbledon finalist 6-3 3-6 7-5.
Belgian Steve Darcis saw off Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic courtesy of winning the second set tiebreak 7-4, booking a showdown with Roddick after sealing a 6-2 7-6 triumph.
American ace Roddick appeared untroubled by the windy weather, and marched through the games as though it was a practice match. But Darcis was forced to retire with a back injury when trailing 6-3 3-1.
It was tough out there, some of the toughest conditions to play in. But you know you’re going to have some lucky points.
“I can’t remember much tougher that I’ve played in. That wind out there is frightening. It’s not as much as about tennis today as just getting through it.
“This week has worked out. Regardless of what happens in the final I will go into Wimbledon with some wins behind me and some confidence on a surface I’m very comfortable on – so I got my game back a little this week.”
Roddick’s back by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Double trouble: Andy Roddick
Andy Roddick, who only arrived at Devonshire Park courtesy of a last-gasp wildcard on the eve of the AEGON International, has waltzed into the final.
And apart from Friday’s quarter-final battle against wily Italian Fabio Fognini he has been hardly tested on his Eastbourne debut – and been handed some good fortune with two opponents retiring with injured backs against him.
Big server and American compatriot Sam Querrey retired after 24 minutes in their 1st round contest and brilliant Belgian Steve Darcis threw in the towel during their one-way semi-final clash that Roddick was easily winning.
Roddick arrived at Eastbourne on the back of his worse ever run on the ATP Tour, suffering six defeats on the bounce – partly due to a hamstring injury that sidelined him for three months.
On his return to the circuit he lost all three Round Robin matches in Dusseldorf and made immediate exits on the clay at the French Open then on the grass at Queen’s Club in London.
The 29-year-old, who chalked up his 600th win on the ATP Tour, will be aiming for his 31st Singles title on Saturday – his first final appearance since February 2011 when he beat Milos Raonic to claim the Memphis crown.
There’s a lot of times when you make plans where you draw the perfect scenario and you draw up a script and it doesn’t work out – but this week has worked out.
“Regardless of what happens I will go into Wimbledon with some wins behind me and some confidence on a surface I’m very comfortable on – I got my game back a little bit this week.
“If you’d have asked me last week after I lost at Queen’s I was probably a lot more negative than I would be right now.
“I don’t know that I can play 26 events a year anymore or be on the road 45 weeks a year with my body the way it is, but fortunately for me Grand Slams are only two weeks long.”
Three of the players remaining have won at least one ATP World grass court title, and four are looking for a first career title on the surface.
Subject to confirmation, and obviously the weather, the men’s quarter-finals and semi-finals will be contested on Friday – delayed from Thursday because of rain and rain breaks at Eastbourne on Thursday.
No7 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal on the grass at Halle last week, is up against no3 seed and defending champion Andreas Seppi.
The German no2 has a 3-2 career mark over the top Italian, although Seppi won the last meeting in the 2nd Round at Rotterdam in February. This will be their first meeting on grass.
Kohlschreiber comes into his sixth ATP Tour quarter-final of the season with a 27-13 match record, and his best result was a fourth career title in Munich last month.
And last week he opened the grass court circuit with a run to the semi-final in Halle, losing to countryman and eventual champion Tommy Haas.
Seppi is also making his sixth quarter-final showing of the season, and last month he picked up his second career title in Belgrade.
Italian Fabio Fognini and no6 seed Andy Roddick square off for the first time.
Fognini, appearing in his first career ATP World Tour quarter-final on grass after back-to-back three sets wins over Albert Ramos and no4 seed Bernard Tomic, is playing in his second quarter-final of the season. On April 29, he reached his maiden ATP Tour final in Bucharest. The 25-year-old Italian is 11-11 win-loss ration this season.
Roddick came into Eastbourne losing six consecutive matches, the longest streak of his career, and world ranked no33. But a retirement win over fellow American Sam Querrey ended the losing streak and on Wednesday he only lost eight points in 10 service games en route to a 6-2 7-6 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
The former world no1 and three-time Wimbledon finalist is appearing in his third ATP Tour quarter-final of the year. But the 29-year-old American is trying to reach his first semi-final since last August in Winston-Salem, USA.
American Ryan Harrison looks to even his record against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. In their previous meeting on the ATP Tour at San Jose in February 2010, Istomin won in straight sets. Harrison’s win-loss record is 16-14 on the season and he’s already surpassed his match wins total from last year of 14.
The Texas resident, aged 20, is playing in his third ATP Tour quarter-final on as many surfaces – clay, grass and hard – this year. His best result was the semi-finals at San Jose in February.
Istomin comes into his fourth ATP Tour quarter-final this season with a 20-18 win-loss record.
Aussie qualifier Marinko Matosevic takes on Belgian Steve Darcis for the first time.
Matosevic is also playing in a third ATP World quarter-final on as many surfaces. He reached his first ATP final at Delray Beach in March.
Darcis’ win-loss record is 10-10 on the season, and this is his third quarter-final. His last ATP Tour semi-final came in July 2008, when he was runner-up in Amersfoort.
2009 AEGON International Men’s Final
Preview by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Russian no2 seed Dmitry Tursunov (world no27)
Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic (world no126)
FRANK DANCEVIC ||| Canadian, Unseeded
At 6’1″ Canadian Frank Dancevic may not have been a giant but he has been the giantkiller of the first ever ATP Tour event at Eastbourne and has constantly played on Centre Court.
He managed to pick up the pieces in the main draw after squeezing through the qualifying rounds despite a slight injury that jeopardised his involvement against the top seed on Monday.
Had he not faced such an opportunity as playing someone in the world’s top 30 – and on Centre Court – then Dancevic may well have rested for next week’s Wimbledon. And he played out of his skin to spectacularly see off Russian Igor Andreev, 7-6(6), 6-2.
Given slightly more trouble to dispatch British wildcard James Ward, who at world no224 was the only player ranked lower than him that he’s faced in the main draw, Dancevic edged through the second round contest 7-6(6), 6-4 in the second round.
He avoided playing a seed in the quarter-finals because France’s Julian Benneteau upset no5 seed Mikhail Youzhny, a quarter-finalist at Queen’s Club the previous week, and Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer beat Benneteau. The encounter against world no70 Mayer proved to be Dancevic’s toughest match en route to the final despite the 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 result.
“It was a difficult match and I was lucky to hang in there,” said the 24-year-old. “I came into this tournament wanting to get a few matches before Wimbledon and I’m on a pretty good roll. Grass is definitely one of my favourite surfaces and when I play on grass I feel at home.”
In a one-way semi-final Dancevic defeated no4 seed Fabrice ‘The Magician’ Santoro. The French veteran remains a force to be reckoned with, despite playing his final year on the ATP Tour, but Dancevic survived the legendarily tricky shots coming from the other side of the net to progress 6-4, 6-4.
“I played super aggressive today against Fabrice,” admitted serve and volley expert Dancevic. “It was a difficult match because of the way he plays and the wind, but I went out thinking I’m going to go for everything and hit the ball as hard as I can.”
Dancevic has played in one ATP Tour final, beaten by Dmitry Tursunov at 2007 Indianapolis.
Final record || won 0 lost 1
DMITRY TURSUNOV ||| Russian, Seeded no2
As expected, Dmitry Tursunov has reached the inaugural ATP Tour final at Devonshire Park. The world no27 opened his campaign by struggling against enthusiastic Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
The 26-year-old Russian was almost out of the tournament in the second round when he was fully stretched by Alex Bogdanovic in a three set thriller on Centre Court.
Tursunov found himseld trailing 5-3 in the final set tiebreak to the ace British qualifier before grabbing the next four points to seal a nervy 6-7(2), 6-4, 7-6(5) success.
And Tursunov admitted: “I thought I played well, I played a good tiebreaker,” said Tursunov. “He’s a difficult guy to play, he’s got all the shots. I definitely think he should be ranked much higher than he is but he just needs to put everything together.”
The entertaining Russian’s brush with failure has since seen him in emphatic form. He pulled off victory in a very close quarter-final to oust Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 7-6(6), 6-4, who had seen off no6 seed Sam Querrey.
But Tursunov’s most comprehensive win was surprisingly reserved for his semi-final showdown with Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The no8 seed seemed to have run of out steam after impressively defeating Russian Evgeny Korolev, Andy Murray’s Olympic conquerer Yen-Hsun Lu, and Serbian grass court expert Janko Tipsarevic.
Although Garcia-Lopez hit a string of winners off that showed more variety in his tactics than the Russian, it was Tursunov’s trademark power that paid dividends with a flattering 6-2, 6-2 result. But his lack of volleys give the game away as to why the sturdy Russian is not really a force to be reckoned with among the world’s top 10.