Dodig cleans up against rubbish Raonic

2013 AEGON International

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

MilosRaonicMilos Raonic’s Devonshire Park debut proved disastrous with Croatian Ivan Dodig sending the giant Canadian packing in 83 minutes on Wedneday.

Raonic, the top seed who only entered the tournament as a late wildcard last Thursday, was dismissed 6-2 7-6 – but put up a battle in the tiebreak that he lost 9-7.

Dogged Dodi, the world no54, thumped a dozen aces in the one-sided clash, and reeled off the opening set in 35 minutes.

The Canadian 22-year-old dropped his serve in the first game and was broken with ease in the seventh game, Dodig sealing the set with a breathtaking forehand volley winner that delighted the Centre Court crowd.

With neither player losing their serve in a more conservative second set, littered with aces, the ultimate tiebreak could have gone either way. Dodig double faulted to gift the no1 seed a golden opportunity to square the contest, but battled back and with a fierce backhand cross court winner made it 9-7 to storm into the 3rd Round.

World no15 Raonic admitted that his performance was way below par, and will be hoping that his recent blip on the ATP circuit does not continue with a poor showing at next week’s Wimbledon.

He explained: “I couldn’t have started in a worse way, missing four backhands to start the match.

“I had break chances but then lost my serve easily again. The defeat comes down on me because of things I didn’t do.

“I was trying to get a little bit closer and I had my chance in the tiebreak, but I don’t think I should let situations where I get two double faults from my opponent pass by and not win the tiebreak – that’s pretty bad.

“I really cant play much worse, so it’s only going to get better going into Wimbledon – which I think is positive.”

Raonic, who has recently appointed former ATP Tour world no3 Ivan Ljubicic on a trial basis as coach, said: “With Ivan we are trying to incorporate things and understanding that it’s not always going to work.

“It’s not about winning practice sets but about having a long-term goal. I have a way that I need to play if I want to achieve the things I want to achieve down the road, including breaking into the top 10.”

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)

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.