IRVING, March 18, 2015
The ATP Challenger Tour has returned for its annual stop in Irving, an US-$ 125.000-event taking place in Texas in the United States. The tournament is played on hard courts and is conveniently scheduled and located between the two ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami. These two distinguished tournaments require the top 50 ATP athletes to participate, and has consistently drawn top players to Dallas, as they travel from California to Florida. Typically, the top 50 players are not allowed to play in Challenger events, but an exception applies for Irving Tennis Classic, encouraging players positioned within the top 50 to compete for the highest prize money tournament on the ATP Challenger calendar.
This year’s player field include five players from the top 50. World number 34, Jeremy Chardy, accepted a wild card to become the tournament’s top-seed. The 28-year-old Frenchman lost in second round in Indian Wells to Donald Young and will face Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato in the opening round in Texas. Gilles Muller and Benjamin Becker complete the top-three-seeds in Irving.
The tournament’s number four Dominic Thiem, opened his campaign on Tuesday successfully when the Austrian youngster bounced back in Irving after three consecutive losses on the ATP World Tour beating Israeli Dudi Sela 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 after one hour in 37 minutes.
“It was an important win today,” wrote Thiem on his Facebook page. “It was a tough match but I managed to fight my way back into the match and time wise played pretty good tennis. The conditions were not on my side, it was very hot and also the conditions on the court were tough for me, nevertheless I could manage to fight back. I am happy, because right now every win is very important for me,” the 21-year-old added.
Texas resident and one of four wild card recipients, Michael Russell, lost the all-US-American-affair in the opening round against Denis Kudla. The latter won 68% of his first service points and sealed victory in two hours and 24 minutes winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.
Another US-American was also successful. Tim Smyczek took out Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets beating the German 7-6, 6-2. The 27-year-old from Tampa didn’t face a break point and closed the match after 80 minutes of play.
The other German player, who was in action on Tuesday, also suffered defeat. In his Irving debut, Dustin Brown lost the night-match in two tie-breaks to seventh-seed Marcos Baghdatis. The former world number 8 from Cyprus withstood eleven aces and emerged victorious after 93 minutes.