Neal & Ken Skupski reach Mons Challenger Semi Final

By Glenys Furness

 

  • Neal & Ken Skupski knocked out in Mons semi final
  • Dom Inglot & Robert Lindstedt lost quarter final in Beijing
  • James Ward reaches second round in Mons

 

Mons, Belgium Neal & Ken Skupski were the best performing Brits on the tour this week reaching the semi final in the Belgian challenger. James Ward won his first match in 11 to reach the second round before going out in three sets. Dom Inglot & Robert Lindstedt were in Beijing where they reached the quarter final.

Neal & Ken turned out to be the best performing Brits this week, as they reached the semi final of the Mons challenger. Taking out the second seeds in straight sets in the first round, the Brits then faced a tougher challenge in the quarter final. Taking on Andrey Golubev & Elias Ymer. Neal & Ken got off to a poor start and had soon lost the first set 4-6. The second set saw the Brits improve and finally be a match for Golubev & Ymer

. Neal & Ken managed to secure a break of serve to take the second set 6-4, it would be a match tiebreak set to find the semi finalists. Neal & Ken were pushed hard but secured the final set 10-7 to book their spot in the semi final. Here the Brits met Rameez Junaid & Igor Zelenay, this was to be a very close and tight match. The Brits secured the first set on a tiebreak before Junaid & Zelenay levelled up with another tiebreak, so yet again it was to be a match tiebreak to decide the finalist. Neal & Ken were outplayed by their opponents and lost the final set 4-10.

Ward had lost the last 11 matches he had played. His last win had been in the third round at Wimbledon. In the first round the Brit had drawn John-Patrick Smith the Australian who had beaten Ward the last time they faced each other. With Leon Smith watching on Ward secured a straight sets win of the Australian, the Brit took control in the first set tiebreak and ran away to a 7-3 lead. The second set saw the Brit break the Australian to take the set 6-4 and win the match.

The next opponent was the Russian Karen Khachnov who had progressed through qualifying and then taken Ivan Dodig out over three set tiebreaks. The Russian started the better as he dished up a first set breadstick to Ward. The Brit was not done though and manged to level the match taking the second set 6-4. The Russian qualifier however seemed to be on a roll and stepped his level up again in the final set to take it 6-2.

Other Challenger news and in Sacramento Kyle EdmundBrydan Klein both lost in the first round. Edmund has now lost in the first round of the last two tournaments he has played.

In Beijing Inglot & Lindstedt won their first round match against Ivo Karlovic & Lukasz Kubot in straight sets. The quarter final  saw the Brit/Swedish pair against the second seeds. Inglot & Lindstedt took the first set 6-4 before the seeds came back and took the second in the tiebreak. Once again a match tiebreak would be used to settle the semi final spot. Although this was close the seeds came out on top 10-7 to end the Brit/Swedish run.

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