Au revoir Arnaud
Arnaud Clement’s singles career came to an end in rather low-key circumstances with a narrow defeat to big-serving compatriot Kenny de Schepper today in Roehampton.
Although his attitude on-court rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way (and several ball kids felt his wrath over the years) he had an attractive all-court game that will be missed on tour.
In singles he reached the final of Australian Open in 2001, won four titles and reached a career high ranking of 10.
Career doubles highlights include winning Wimbledon in 2007, the Paris Masters in 2006 (both with Michael Llodra) and the Miami Masters in 2004, where he partnered close friend and the vanquished opponent from that Australian Open semi-final, Sebastien Grosjean.
The Grass Gimps
In the era of surface homogenisation there’s something comforting about the existence of players who are just completely abject on a particular footing.
For the last few months I’ve taken a strange pleasure in the struggles of the Clay Court Clowns (guys like Lukas Lacko and Go Soeda) but their torment is over for another nine months or so.
The Grass Gimps only have to suffer for a couple of weeks in the year so results here carry quite a lot of weight when it comes to determining the ultimate in that particular category.
Notable contenders here include:
1. Franko Skugor, who moves to 0-4 on grass for his career after being routined by Kamil Capkovic, who was previously 0-3
2. Pavol Cervenak, with a current mark of 1-4 after being beaten in three by Simone Vagnozzi, who was 0-3 beforehand.
3. Jan Mertl, now with a 0-5 career record after losing to Maxime Teixiera, who was playing just his second match on the surface.
Grass season is never likely to be top of the agenda for the above category of players, the schedule of Daniel Gimeno-Traver being a case in point.
Last week the Spaniard produced some of the best tennis of his career to take a Challenger title in Monza, beating decent dirtballers such as Potito Starace and Albert Montanes along the way.
His final against the latter player finished at close to 20:00 on Sunday night, so we can safely say that it was well after midnight by the time he arrived at his hotel in London.
With no time to adapt it’s not surprising that he lost to 17-year-old Wildcard Kyle Edmund (though it has to be said it’s an excellent scalp for the young Brit regardless of the circumstances).
Aljaz Bedene, the other title winner on the clay Challenger circuit last week, went down in straight sets to Australian James Duckworth.
Neither Gimeno nor Bedene will be losing too much sleep.
Unlucky for some
Given the sheer propensity of grass novices and no-hopers in Roehampton, it was surprising to see the draw throw up a couple of match-ups between two players with some reasonable pedigree on the surface.
Adrian Mannarino reached the second round of Wimbledon last year and has grass wins over the likes of Juan Martin Del Potro and Ernests Gulbis.
He would have been heavily favoured against the overwhelming majority of players but came up against Jesse Levine, who beat Marat Safin on his way to the third round of the main draw in 2008, and went down 10-8 in the third.
Ricardas Berankis went 9-1 on grass in 2010, winning the Nottingham Challenger and reaching the second round of the main draw as a qualifier.
Again, he would have fancied his chances against most of the field but lost out to 2009 Boy’s champion Andrey Kuznetsov in straight-sets.
Not you again
In terms of playing at the same tournament, the paths of Yuichi Sugita and Gianluca Naso very rarely cross.
They’ve entered the same event just four times in 2012 yet the Wimbledon qualifying draw pitted them against each other for the third successive major this year.
As expected, Naso won the clay court encounter in France while Sugita added to his win in Melbourne with a tight three-set victory today in Roehampton.
They’ll be going for a Grand Slam of sorts if they both make it to Flushing Meadows