Friday, 28 July 2017

Why Clay Court events now ?

In a continuation of ridiculous scheduling three of the five tournaments this week - Hamburg ATP, Gstaad ATP and Bastad ATP are being contested on clay when the next part of the WTA and ATP tours is the American hardcourt season.

This is in the same vein as the Bastad and Umag ATP, and Bucharest and Gstaad WTA tournaments immediately after Wimbledon.
It may be how the calendar is set but it makes no sense.

We completed our clay court season with a rousing climax in Paris.
Then Wimbledon equally ended the grass court season amazingly well.

Why then should players have to change back to clay court management when the next Grand Slam tournament is the hard court classic at Flushing Meadows ?
Lead up events in America will be on that surface and so many players will have had to adapt from clay to grass, back to clay, and then to hard court. 

Thankfully Atlanta ATP and Nanchang WTA have enabled players in those tournaments to adjust from grass to hardcourt instead of reverting to the clay which we finished with Roland Garros last month.

To the results themselves, and Hamburg has seen the humbling of six of the eight seeds prior to the quarter finals.
Leonardo Mayer, 30 years of age, and lucky loser from qualifying, dumped top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round and has found himself in the final eight to play unseeded Jiri Vesely, who dispensed with seventh seed Fernando Verdasco in the opening round.

Third seed Karen Khachanov survived the carnage to reach the quarter finals where he will battle qualifier Federico Delbonis, conqueror of eighth seed David Ferrer in a second round straight setter.

Fans were most pleased to see a German through when unseeded Philipp Kohlschreiber overcame fourth seed Gilles Simon in a three set clash.
He will play 96th ranked Argentine Nicolas Kicker who kicked fifth seed Benoit Paire out of Hamburg.

The final quarter final features another Mayer, this one a German, Florian, and unseeded.  His challenge will be sixth seed Diego Schwartzman, the fourth Argentine in the final eight.

Atlanta has been a little kinder to the seeds, five having made it to the quarters, with top seed Jack Sock having just beaten Dudi Sela and now to play fifth seed Kyle Edmund.

Other quarter finals are:

Ryan Harrison (4) v Christopher Eubanks (ranked 461 beating eighth seed and fellow American Jared Donaldson in round two)
Gilles Muller (3) v Tommy Paul (ranked 291 beating seventh seed Korean Hyeon Chung in the first round)
John Isner (2) v Lukas Lacko

In Bastad top seed Caroline Wozniacki battled through two three setters, down a break in each of the deciders, but finds herself in a quarter final, her opponent Kateryna Kozlova, ranked 124

Other quarter finals:

Elise Mertens v Aleksandra Krunic (2nd seed Carla Suarez Navarro and 8th seed Julia Goerges early casualties amongst this section of the draw)
Caroline Garcia (3) v Barbora Krejcikova (Czech qualifier ranked 138, fortunate receiver of a walkover from 6th seed Kiki Bertens.
Katerina Siniakova (7) v Anastasija Sevastova (2)

In Nanchung only one seed made the quarters, Shuai Peng (2).

Some extremely low ranked players have reached the final eight:

Yafan Wang (147) v Su-Wei Hsieh (112)
Nao Hibino (88) v Jing-Jing Lu (313)
Arina Rodionova (134) v Xinyun Han (126)
Lin Zhu (118) v Shuai Peng (seeded 2 but ranked 30)

Quarter finals in Gstaad are:

David Goffin (1) v Robin Haase (6)
Yannick Hanfmann v Joao Sousa (8)
Ernests Gulbis v Fabio Fognini (4)
Denis Istomin v Roberto Bautista Agut (2)

Fine effort by German qualifier Hanfmann, ranked 170, to oust 3rd seed Feliciano Lopez in the second round.

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