Quimper Challenger preview: Jeremy Chardy and Adrian Mannarino in action in France - UBITENNIS
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Quimper Challenger preview: Jeremy Chardy and Adrian Mannarino in action in France



Adrian Mannarino is the top seed in Quimper (Zimbio.com)

The post-Australian Open European Challenger circuit really gets under way as players continue to chase the tour after the main Australasian swing has been completed, bar a few remaining Challengers.


Unsurprisingly, there is a large French contingent in Quimper with the top two seeds Adrian Mannarino and Jeremy Chardy leading the home nation. Other interesting players include former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz and former Roland Garros semi-finalist Jurgen Melzer, though both are unseeded.

Selected matches (picks in bold)

(1) Adrian Mannarino vs Evan Furness: Should be a comfortable win for Mannarino, as Furness’ best win to date this season is against Remi Boutillier, a player with a ranking below no.400.

Mathias Bourgue vs (2) Jeremy Chardy: Chardy’s form this season is a little misleading. He made the quarter-finals in Auckland, but was afforded an easy draw against a New Zealand doubles player using a wildcard, and then a Feliciano Lopez withdrawal. Also benefited from Nicolas Almagro’s now infamous retirement in Melbourne. Bourgue reached the semis in Rennes last week, losing to eventual champion Ignatik, and is in good form.

Qualifier vs (3) Sergiy Stakhovsky – Would be unfair to pick until qualifier’s identity is known.

(4) Evgeny Donskoy vs Teymuraz Gabashvili: Two tough players to separate, as both have featured in the Top 100 before. Taking into account a narrow head-to-head lead for Gabashvili, he is my pick.

(WC) Geoffrey Blancaneaux vs (5) Julien Benneteau. There are promising signs from the eighteen year-old Blancaneaux, and had he been afforded a better draw might have hoped for a surprise win or two in Quimper. Veteran Benneteau should have enough experience here though.

Qualifier vs (6) Vincent Millot – See Stakhovsky.

(7) Andrey Rublev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas: Arguably the most intriguing match-up of the first-round. Rublev’s development appeared to have slowed somewhat, but making it through qualifying to the second round in the Australian Open is impressive. Tsitsipas is another NextGen talent, but his best surface is still clay, with mixed results on hard.  A first round qualifying defeat in Australia and last week in Rennes for Tsitsipas means I hand the edge to Rennes runner-up Rublev.

(8) Peter Gojowczyk vs (WC) Maxime Hamou: Gojowczyk was in stunning form in the early part of the season, storming to the Happy Valley Challenger title before retiring hurt in the second round of Australian Open qualifying. That is where this tie is won and lost, a fully fit Gojowczyk should win this. Anything else, and Hamou has a chance.





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