This month we take a look at 21-year old Ukrainian player, Ivan Sergeyev, who spent the majority of the month competing in three tournaments on the ITF Men’s Circuit, all held within the Antalya Province in Turkey.
Just prior to his first Futures tournament of the month, Sergeyev maintained his 100% winning record for Ukraine in the Davis Cup with victory over Great Britain’s Josh Goodall in their Euro/Africa Group 1 second round clash in a tie eventually won by Ukraine 4-1.
The first of his three tournaments in Turkey was held on clay courts in Manavgat, a town and district of the Antalya Province, located approximately 45 miles from the city of Antalya. Sergeyev, seeded fifth, looked to be on his way out of the tournament having lost the first set to his Austrian opponent, Marco Mirnegg, 61 in the opening round before fighting back to edge a close second set 75 and finally easing to victory 61 in the third. This would not be the last time he would face Mirnegg this month! The next two rounds brought about ties with two Bulgarians who had progressed to the main draw via the qualifying event. Both were seen off with little trouble although Sergeyev had to come from a set down in the quarterfinal. In his semi final he came up against the tournament second seed from the Czech Republic, Adam Vejmelka. For the third time in four matches, Sergeyev found himself down a set and although he recovered in the second set to level the match it was Vejmelka who won through to the final winning 64 16 62. Sergeyev could take some solace in the fact that Vejmelka then went on to take the title. Andrei Gorban from Moldova partnered Sergeyev in the doubles event, where, as fourth seeds, they reached the semi finals, losing 64 61 to the second seeds and eventual champions.
Staying in Manavgat for another clay court tournament, Sergeyev was again named as fifth seed. Just as in the previous week, his first round opponent was Marco Mirnegg and Sergeyev was again made to come from behind to claim victory. This match was, however, closer than their last encounter with Sergeyev winning 67(5) 64 64. Straight set victories followed in each of the next three rounds, including a 62 62 win in the semi final. This win took Sergeyev into his first singles final of 2009 and his first since August 2008. His opponent in the final was Russia’s Valery Rudnev, seeded sixth, who was playing in his first final since November 2008. The first set went to Sergeyev 63 who then pushed on to secure a 63 61 victory for his fourth ITF Men’s Circuit singles title of his career. In the doubles event this week, Andrei Ciumac, who, like his partner the previous week, was from Moldova, partnered him. Together, as fourth seeds, they progressed as far as the semi final where they were defeated by the eventual tournament runners-up.
For his final tournament of the month, again on clay courts, Sergeyev competed in a tournament in the Turkish town of Belek in the Serik district of Antalya Province. Here he found himself named the third seed and a familiar opponent awaited him in the opening round, Marco Mirnegg. The two players played out another three set match but it was not to be third time lucky for Mirnegg as the winner was once again Sergeyev, this time 62 26 62. A 63 63 second round win set up a quarterfinal match with sixth seed, Murad Inoyatov. Sergeyev had to work harder on this occasion for the win having defeated Inoyatov 63 60 in the previous weeks quarterfinal, eventually winning on this occasion 64 63. Sergeyev then made it into the final with a 75 61 win over Konstantinos Economidis. In the final he faced Swiss qualifier Robin Roshardt. Having lost the first set 60, Roshardt retired from the match, and, in doing so, presented Sergeyev with the title. This was the first time in his career that he had won back-to-back singles titles on the ITF Pro Circuit. The doubles saw him renew his partnership with Andrei Gorban and, unseeded, they were narrowly defeated in the second round.
So, a month that started off with Davis Cup success, ended with back-to-back titles as Sergeyev looks to improve on his current ranking (April 13th) of 350. His ITF singles career statistics have improved with those two title successes and he now has five titles from six finals.