By Glenys Furness
- Aljaz Bedene wins 2nd title of 2017
- Didn’t drop a set all tournament
VALBONNE, FRANCE – Aljaz Bedene claimed the title in France, beating top seed Benoit Paire on clay, claiming his second title of the year.
Brit of the Week
Once again this week it is Aljaz Bedene. Claiming his second title of the year, and his second as a Brit, the fourth seed once again showed credentials on clay. The inaugural challenger tour event at Sophia Antipolis had attracted a fairly high class field, the top seed being the French player Benoit Paire.
Working through various countries of Europe making his way to the final, Bedene proved that Brits can play on clay. Unfortunately, due to ITF rules, Bedene cannot play Davis Cup for Britain – we won’t go into that here, as it is not the place for it.
Taking out Spaniard Enrique Lopez-Perez in the first round, the Brit lost only seven games in a match where he was little troubled, 6-3 6-4.
The second round was a little trickier playing a qualifier Filip Krajinovic. The Serb dropped serve once in the first set to allow the Brit to claim it. The second set was closer as Krajinovic forced a tiebreak. Bedene was not planning on losing though and dominated the breaker to take the match 6-4, 7-6(3).
The first French conquest of the event for Bedene came in the quarter final, playing against Mathias Bourgue another qualifier the Brit once again secured the first set with a break of serve. Just as in the previous round his opponent came back to force a tiebreak. Bourgue kept this one closer, however the fourth seed battled hard to secure this win 6-4, 7-6(5).
Bedene was now on a roll, in the semi final the Brit played Marco Cecchinato. The Italian was no match for the fourth seed. Bedene hardly put a foot wrong on a traditionally bad surface for Brits (even Andy Murray has struggled on clay until recently, it is still not his favourite surface). For the speed of the match it could even have been classed as a practice match, Bedene dominated the Italian and lost only four games to make the final 6-2, 6-2.
In the final Bedene was against the top seed Paire. In a challenger level equivalent of a Davis Cup match on the same weekend, a Brit and a Frenchman fought for the title. As it turned out, it was not so much of a battle as a walk in the park for the fourth seed. Dominating Paire the Brit had very little to do to defeat this Frenchman on clay, claiming the title 6-2, 6-2.
Other results from Challenger and ITF
Brydan Klein as the second seed, lost in the final of Jakarta to top seed Chen Ti
Jonathan Gray claimed a set from Klein as he was beaten in Jakarta by the second seed.
This week Brits are playing in Barletta (Bedene), Marrakech (Dom Inglot – with Mate Pavic), Biel ( Heather Watson, Naomi Broady, Jocelyn Rae & Anna Smith), Pelham (Amanda Carreras), as well as Doha where there are several other Brits in play.
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