By Glenys Furness
- Mate Pavic/Michael Venus  def. Jonathan Erlich/Colin Fleming 6-2 6-3
- Jonathan Marray / Rameez Junaid reached the Marseille quarter-finals
- Ken & Neal Skupski reached the Wroclaw Challenger semi-final
MARSEILLE, FRANCE – Colin Fleming & Jonathan Erlich missed out in the final, after only dropping only one set en route. Jonathan Marray & Rameez Junaid were edged in the quarter finals. In Poland Ken & Neal Skupski were defeated in the semi final.
Fleming & Erlich had a fairly easy first round match, against the wildcard pairing of Tomasz Bednarek & Adil Shamasdin. With each pair exchanging a break of serve the set headed into the tiebreak. Here the Brit/Israeli pair really stepped things up and they dominated the breaker. The Wildcard partnership were unable to secure a single point in the breaker, with Fleming & Erlich taking it 7-0. In the second set the Brit/Israeli pair were creating more chances on the serve to get the break, and secured the two vital ones needed to take the set 6-2, to move into the quarter finals.
In the quarter finals Fleming & Erlich were against Robin Haase & Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi who had taken out the top seeds in the first round. The Brit/Israeli pair got off to the better start and secured the break needed to seal the first set 6-3, the second set saw Hasse & Qureshi fight back. Fleming & Erlich broke but then Hasse & Qureshi broke twice to secure the second 6-3 and force a match tiebreak. This was also very close but the Brit/Israeli came through in the end 11-9 to reach the semi final.
This saw Fleming & Erlich face Teymuraz Gabashvili & Nick Kyrgios, although the Russian/Aussie pair were creating break points they were unable to secure any in the first set. The Brit/Israeli pair took one of the three they created and had soon taken the first set 6-2. In the second set Gabashvili & Kyrgios were still creating break points but Fleming & Erlich saved them, the set eventually went to a tiebreak where the Brit/Israeli again dominated taking the breaker 7-3.
The final saw Fleming & Erlich take on the second seeds Mate Pavic & Michael Venus. The seeds took advantage of their higher ranking and broke the Brit/Israeli pair twice in the first set, taking the lead 6-2. The second set saw the seeds still playing to their ranking and again they broke twice whilst Fleming & Erlich were unable to make in roads into the Pavic & Venus serve. The Brit/Israeli pairing eventually lost the second set 6-3.
Marray & Junaid had drawn Johan Brunstrom & Michal Mertinak. The Brit/Aussie pair did not get off to the best of starts as they dropped the first set 6-3. The second set saw breaks of serve exchanged as the set moved towards a tiebreak. The Swede/Slovak team forced the breaker in the second set, with Marray & Junaid taking it 7-5. A match tiebreak would decide the quarter finalists. The Brit/Aussie pair secured the win as they took the final set 10-5. In the quarter final Marray & Junaid faced Aliaksandr Bury & Igor Zelenay. This was a very tight match as Bury & Zelenay took the first set tiebreak 8-6. Marray & Junaid fought back to take the second set tiebreak 11-9, so once again a match tiebreak would settle it. Unfortunately Bury & Zelenay were just too strong and stormed away 10-3.
Over in Rio and Aljaz Bedene teamed up with Albert Ramos-Vinolas and were edged out in the first round in a very tight match against Thomaz Bellucci & Marcelo Demoliner. The Brazilians lost the first set on a tiebreak to Bedene & Ramos-Vinolas 8-6, but secured the second set on a tiebreak 7-4. The match tiebreak also went the way of the Brazilians as they took this 10-4.
Over on the challenger circuit and Neal & Ken Skupski were top seeds in Wroclaw, Poland. In the first round they were completely dominant as they secured the match against Fredrik Ask & Szymon Walkow . The Brits served up a breadstick in the first set, and the second they secured 6-4. The quarter final saw the Skupski brothers face Andrea Arnaboldi & Farrukh Dustov. The top seeds took the first set comfortably with a 6-3 scoreline, before Arnaboldi & Dustov came back to level the match, taking the second set by the same scoreline 6-3.
Another match tiebreak would settle things and the Brits took this 10-6. The Semi final saw the brothers face Pierre-Huges Herbert & Albano Olivetti, the Brits took the first set on a tiebreak 7-4 before the French team came back and levelled after forcing a break of serve to take the set 6-4. Once again a match tiebreak would settle the finalists. Although it was close the Skupski brothers were just edged 8-10 in the match tiebreak and went out of the event.
In Morelos Darren Walsh was playing with Jason Jung, and faced a Mexican wildcard team of Daniel Garza & Tigre Hank. The Brit/Taipei pair took the first set 6-2 before the Mexicans came back to level taking the second set 6-4, in the match tiebreak Walsh & Jung eventually edged their opponents 14-12 to move to the quarter final. The quarter final saw Walsh & Jung face Marcelo Arevalo & Sergio Galdos, A very tight first set saw Walsh & Jung take it 13-11, before the fourth seeds levelled taking the second set 6-4. Once again a match tiebreak would seal the fate and the semi final spot. Walsh & Jung kept this close but ultimately the fourth seeds were just too strong as they sealed the win 10-8.
In qualifying for Dubai both James Ward and Kyle Edmund were entered. This was the first match of the year for Ward, who has been out injured. Ward drew Franko Skugor in the first qualifying round. Despite breaking the Croatian, Ward was broken several times on his own serve which gave Skugor the first set. Ward, obviously rusty having not played yet this season, started playing better in the second set, only one break of serve was taken unfortunately it was the Croatian who managed the break, and went on to take the set 6-4.
Edmund had drawn Radek Stepanek in the first round of qualifying. The Brit saved a break point on his own serve, and managed to secure the one break needed to take the first set 6-3, and the second set was much the same as the Brit saved break point and secured the vital one to take the set 6-4. The second round saw him face Skugor and in the first set the Croatian made the better start. Edmund managed to make a break opportunity but Skugor saved it, before breaking the Brit to take the set 6-4. The second set saw Edmund making in-roads into the Skugor serve but the Croatian saved each one. Skugor managed to break the Brit twice to seal the set 6-2 and book a spot in the main draw.
Next weeks Brits are in action in Acapulco, Dubai and Cherbourg.
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