It has become tradition that the Südwestbank Tennis Grand Prix is one of the first tournaments on the ITF Future Circuit taking place in the early stages of January in order to kick-off the new season in Schwieberdingen. In 2008 architect Heinz-Werner Maden – nicknamed Mickey – established the event and its eighth edition is taking place this week.
The first of Saturday’s semi-finals was a meeting between good friends when Mick Lescure took on Tom Jomby. Both men came from Paris taking one car for their journey to Germany and they are also sharing a hotel room during their stay in Swabia. Of course, the two French know each other very well on court but met for the first time on the tour. Jomby gained first blood by breaking his opponent’s serve in the fifth game but couldn’t serve out in the tenth. Lescure, who had to save four match points in his quarterfinal on Friday against local hero Yannick Maden, took the opening set in the tie-break. From then on the 21-year-old was in command of the match winning 7-6, 6-2 in 65 minutes.
“It wasn’t that easy as the scoreboard might tell. It was a tough match. Tom has a big serve and I had to focus on my returns. My volleys also worked well today and so I’m happy to win the match in the end,” Lescure told afterwards.
An all Belorussian-affair took place when the tournament’s top-seed Uladzimir Ignatik faced Ilya Ivashka for the first time. The latter had a phenomenal start into the match hitting powerful groundstrokes and convinced with a solid net game. The only 20-year-old from Minsk broke his opponent’s service two times to take the opening set in the eighth game in only 25 minutes. Ignatik seemed to be a bit tired after he had to go the distance playing more than two hours in his two previous matches. Ivashka still served well, had good length in his shots and eventually emerged victorious winning 6-2, 7-6 in 75 minutes.
“In particular mentally, it was a really tough match. Right from the start I was pretty solid with my game. I know everything about my opponent, so I really knew what I had to do on the court today and I was ready for the match,” the winner told, although both players do not practice at the same place. Ivashka practices in Belarus and Ignatik in Romania. “For the last couple of weeks I was working at the academy of Magnus Norman in Sweden. This is my first tournament since last October and so far this has been a good start into the season. I hope for a good final tomorrow,” Ivashka is looking forward to it. Ignatik, who did a mistake not to enter the tournament in Stuttgart-Stammheim next week, will receive a wild card for the qualifying, so that he will still have the chance to defend his title.
The brothers Fabian and Florian Fallert took their first doubles title as a team winning the final in 66 minutes against second-seeded tandem Vlad Victor Cornea and Henri Laaksonen 6-4, 6-3.
“Both teams served pretty well today. For us it was really tough to return, besides in the important moments they became a bit shaky with their serves and we were lucky to capitalize on our chances. We showed a solid performance today and also throughout the week, so that we are very happy to gain the title,” Florian Fallert told afterwards. “I really enjoy playing at the net. In singles matches, I also try to be aggressive and go for the net winner. This really helps for the doubles when you feel comfortable in this area of the court,” Fabian Fallert, the only 17-year-old from Reutlingen added. The brothers only played their second tournament together and still have to wait for a repeat as Fabian is heading for Australia playing the Juniors Tour.