Tennis-University News – 3rd week of January

Wed, 22.01.2020

International tournaments and new faces at the Tennis-University

One week before the start of the first Grand Slam of the year, the tennis year 2020 is already running at full speed after a short warm-up time. While Japan’s Tatsuma Ito had already secured his main draw spot at the Asian qualifying tournament in December, Praj Gunneswaran had to assert himself in the qualifying rounds in Melbourne. The Indian survived the first round unscathed, but in his second game Praj made a bad start and gave away the first set against Yannick Hanfmann in only 19 minutes. However, the 30-year-old did not lose his composure and had no more problems with his German opponent in the following two sets, so that after almost one and a half hours 1-6 6-2 6-1 was displayed on the scoreboard of court 13. In the final of the qualifying round, a real challenge was waiting with former top 10 player Ernests Gulbis. After a hard-fought first set, which the Latvian won in the tiebreak, he could take over the match and win the second set 6-2. After his successful qualification in the previous year, Praj narrowly failed to make it to the main draw again in 2020. The following day, however, luck was on the side of the Indian, as he was drawn as Lucky Loser for the place in the main draw that had become vacant after Alex de Minaur’s withdrawal. Here he will meet Tatsuma Ito in the TU internal battle next week, so that the Tennis-University will surely be represented in the second rounds even before the tournament has even started.

A few hours drive further east, Karlis Ozolins is preparing for his participation in the junior edition of the Grand Slam. At the J1 in Traralgon he lost as ninth seeded in the second round. In the doubles the Latvian still has every chance together with his Polish partner Mikolaj Lorens, the duo managed to win their first match being the sixth seeded team.

On ATP challenger level Sriram Balaji represented the TU in Asia last week. At the Challenger in Bangkok he reached the semi-final together with his doubles partner Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan. Although they won four points more than their opponents Ratiwatana/Rungkat in the whole match, they narrowly missed the final in the match tiebreak. The TU legend will also spend the next few days in the Thai metropolis to serve in the second edition of the Challenger. 

Also stopped in the semi-final of the doubles competition was Jonas Forejtek at the ITF 15.000$ in Manacor. As in the previous week he competed here with his compatriot Michael Vrbrensky. 

One round further than his TU colleagues came the Japanese Gen-I Inoue at J4 in Dubai. Alongside his Dutch partner, he only had to admit defeat in the final. In a very tight match the team lost in the matchtiebreak against the all-Italian constellation Biagianti/Spiridon.

Also at the home base in Offenbach there was a lot going on last week. Competitive tennis took place on the four indoor courts of the Hessian Tennis Association throughout the whole week. As in previous years, a category 5 junior tournament was held in mid-January 2020. Besides players from all over the world, TU player Ugnius Bickauskis also made it into the main draw. After a strong first round victory, the Lithuanian lost in front of his home crowd in a thrilling match to Oliver Olsson in three sets. 

Since the courts were occupied by the tournament matches all day long, our players went to the nearby indoor courts of the Kempinski Hotel for their training sessions. They were joined by a new face these days. The former number 174 of the ATP ranking Joris de Loore is from now on a member of the TU family. Together with his long-time companion Ruben Bemelmans, the Belgian wants to regain his old strength at the Tennis University after numerous injuries in recent years. We are happy to go this way together with Joris and warmly welcome him with us!

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