Tennis-University News – 4th week of January

Mon, 27.01.2020

TU on big stage

At the end of January, after an eventful preseason and the ITF tournament at the TU site, everyday life returns to the facility. While ten players have been travelling around the world and competing in ITF and ATP tournaments, the rest who remained in Offenbach, continues to train each day for their upcoming tournaments.

Of course the first week of the Australian Open was also followed with excitement at the home base. Especially the first round duel between Praj Gunneswaran and Tatsuma Ito who is well known at the TU caused a lot of attention. During the match on court 5, which had been postponed due to the rain in Australia, Praj could not call up his top performance. In three sets, the Japanese won the match.

Junior player Karlis Ozolins, who is ranked inside the top 20, made it to the semi-finals of the preparation tournament for the Australian Open in doubles. Alongside his Polish doubles partner Mikolaj Lorens, he scored a convincing two-set victory in the quarter-finals against the second seeded pairing Cazaux/von der Schulenburg. In the semi-finals, the Italian doubles pairing Gigante/Cobolli proved to be a touch too strong.

After his exit in Traralgon, the Latvian then set off for Melbourne together with TU Coach Vincent van den Honert. In the world’s most southern metropolis Karlis entered the tournament as No. 12 on the seeding list. In the first round of the 64 players draw, the 17-year-old met the Frenchman Max Westphal. With his smooth two set win, the Latvian achieved the eleventh victory in his last twelve matches. In the second round, the Italian Luca Nardi was waiting. The top 50 player did not cause Karlis any problems either, a 6-3 6-4 victory secured him a spot in the round of sixteen. At the beginning of the week, he will meet his first seeded opponent this week with the top 10 player Leandro Riedi. But before that, the Latvian will serve alongside his Traralgon doubles partner Mikolaj Lorens in the doubles competition. After their first round victory, they will now meet the Australian wildcard team Hoole/White on Court 8.

While Karlis is in top form in the Australian heat, Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan served in the Thai metropolis of Bangkok. In the quarter-finals the Indians were eliminated from the tournament by the second seeded team Escobar/Reyes-Varela.

Karim Maamoun was also competing at Challenger level last week. In Rennes the Egyptian, who won seven ITF titles in 2019, defeated the Austrian Jurij Rodionov in two convincing sets in the first round. The serve of German Mats Moraing, however, caused the 28-year-old problems in his second round match, only being able to convert one of his nine break points, which sealed Karim’s tournament exit.

Meanwhile, Syrian-born Taym Al-Azmeh served in his third tournament in India. Together with Udit Gogoi, the 15-year-old reached the semi-finals at J2 in Kolkata.

Belgian Ruben Bemelmans and Czech youngster Jonas Forejtek had a significantly shorter journey to their tournament. Both fought for valuable ranking points at the $25,000 ITF tournament in Nußloch. While Bemelmans, who was seeded second, had no problems with his opponents until the semi-finals, the 18-year-old had to go the full distance three times until the final. Here he then met his 14 years older academy colleague in the TU internal duel, who had previously won three close sets against the Italian Ocleppo. In front of TU Coach Björn Simon, the two played a thrilling match. After losing the first set, the Belgian fought his way back in the tie-break of the second and took advantage of his experience in the decisive set so that he was able to celebrate his first singles title since 2017 after a 6-7 7-6 6-2.

On the weekend, the children of our junior program were again heading to North Rhine-Westphalia for the Krefeld Open. After his recent successes, Tudor Batin this time started in the draw of the under-16s. He also played his way into the finals in the higher age group, where he eventually lost. Aya Matsunaga, the junior player in the U18 category, didn’t drop a single set in the entire tournament and also won the final against Leah Wächter in convincing manner on Sunday, 6-4 6-2. On Monday, the children will have a restful morning for regeneration, with only one session in the afternoon. On Tuesday the kids look forward to a session with mental coach Michael von Kunhardt. Here the boys and girls deal with the mental aspects of sport in addition to their daily fitness and tennis sessions.

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