2013 Aptos Challenger Preview
The USTA Pro Circuit will have its fourth summer hard court event, the $100,000 challenger in Aptos, California, as a strong field vies for the title under the California sun.
Comerica Bank Challenger
USTA Pro Circuit
Aptos, California, USA
August 3-August 11, 2013
Prize Money: $100,000
Top 8 seeds:
1: Guido Pella
2: Evgeny Donskoy
3: Steve Johnson
4: Ryan Harrison
5: Wayne Odesnik
6: Bobby Reynolds
7: Mischa Zverev
8: Jimmy Wang
The entry cutoff was 189 and the top 2 seeds are top 100 players, giving Aptos a solid field.
First round matchups to watch:
James Duckworth vs. Brian Baker
Brian Baker is finally back on tour, and he looks fit and healthy from what I saw of him on the practice courts in Atlanta. He will not be given an easy match back though, as he faces the red hot and career high ranked James Duckworth, who made the final in the Lexington challenger and won a round in DC. Even if Baker is 100%, the rust alone makes Ducky a favorite here.
(7)Mischa Zverev vs. Mikhail Kukushkin
Kukushkin is 2-0 career against higher-ranked Zverev and he beat Mischa on clay this year in Germany. After a downright terrible start to his year, Kuku is doing well, as he made the final in the Astana challenger, and has won/made final at two challengers since June. Zverev has struggled to close out matches and he will be in danger of getting upset here.
Guido Pella is the top seed, but tends to do poorly off of clay for now. He opens with Tunisian journeyman Malek Jaziri. This could spell a loss for the Argentine. Regardless, the winner will face the Duckworth/Baker winner.
8 seed and Vancouver semifinalist Jimmy Wang faces big server and Vancouver quarter finalist Greg Jones, who can do damage on fast surfaces. Dan Evans, a current Vancouver finalist, will take on young American Mitchell Krueger.
Ryan Harrison has had a solid summer swing so far, semis in Atlanta and an upset of Lleyton Hewitt in DC. Harry hopes to continue that strong play against a qualifier, followed by Olivier Rochus or a qualifier, in what should be an easy start.
Grinding vet Bobby Reynolds, coming off Vancouver challenger semis, takes on an inconsistent Yuichi Sugita. Tennys Sandgren gets a wild card and an opening round date with Maxime Authom, a Belgian who usually plies his trade in Europe.
Evgeny Donskoy lost in the opening round of the Vancouver challenger and will hope to do better in Aptos with a qualifier. Up next would be a struggling Ruben Bemelmans or wild card Andre Dome. The Zverev/Kukushkin winner faces Matt Reid or wild card Dennis Novikov.
Steve Johnson will play Donald Young once again, as Young continues to do poorly, with the winner facing an in form Bradley Klahn or Tatsuma Ito. Wayne Odesnik gets a qualifier, then a qualifier or Hiroki Moriya.
Harrison d. Duckworth
Kukushkin d. Klahn
The top half is stacked but I’ll take the experienced Harrison over the host of others who would all do well. Meanwhile, in the weaker bottom section, Kuku or Donskoy should get out and Klahn has a nice draw if he can get past Steve Johnson.
Harrison d. Kukushkin
Harrison has played well and I think he will earn some hardware in Aptos.