15 Aug 2013

Spotlight - Kimmer Coppejans - July 2013


By Nick Fishpool

Photo: Susan MullaneKimmer Coppejans (BEL)

July 2013


Belgian teenager, Kimmer Coppejans, competed in four ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in Belgium during the month, including a return visit to his home town of Oostende where he was runner-up last year, and is our featured male player for July.

At the end of June, the 2012 European and Roland Garros junior champion claimed his first Pro Circuit title with victory on the clay courts in Havre, Belgium and he was looking to build on this during July starting in De Haan.

Coppejans was seeded fifth for this tournament but was coming into it fresh from that career first title win and full of confidence.

The teenager was soon brought back down to earth though in his opening round match in De Haan when qualifier Jacob Adaktusson took the first set 63. Coppejans composed himself though to drop just four games over the next two sets to record a 36 64 60 win.

His second round proved more straight forward as he dispensed of fellow Belgian Jonas Merckx 62 60 to reach the quarterfinal where he was to face another qualifier, Dimitar Grabul of Macedonia.

Grabul emulated Adaktusson in winning the opening set 63 but Coppejans hit back hard to level the match with 61 second set win. He was though unable to keep the momentum going and dropped the decisive set, taking just two games. Grabul would go on to reach the final and take the title.

After a week’s absence from the game, a switch to a hard court surface followed for Coppejans who was competing in Middelkerke-Westende. Here, he was seeded sixth but would defy his seeding by reaching the final.

His path to the final was not an easy one. First he once again dropped the opening set of the first round before earning victory and then gained revenge on Grabul by eliminating the De Haan champion 63 75 in round two.

Next came the first of three matches against fellow Belgians. First, in the quarterfinal, a 64 62 win saw off Yannick Vandenbulcke to set up a semifinal encounter with top seed Niels Desein.

A close first set ended in a 7-4 tiebreak win for the number one seed. Coppejans then raced through the second set, losing just the one game, to force a deciding third set. A place in the final awaited the winner and another tiebreak was required to separate the two players and with a 7-3 win, it was Coppejans who progressed.

His third Belgian opponent in succession was also the tournament’s third seed, Yannik Reuter. The players had met just the once prior to this and that too was in a final. Just under a year prior to this latest encounter, Reuter had defeated Coppejans 63 61 in what was Coppejans first Pro Circuit final but the 19-year-old was to avenge that loss with victory here.

As in that final, this also ended in a straight sets victory with the loser taking just four games and with a 62 62 win, Coppejans claimed his second title of the year and first on a hard court.

Coppejans’ final two tournaments of the month saw a return to clay court action.

Seeded fourth at the tournament in Heist, Coppejans had to endure three rounds of very tough matches to reach the semifinal. He opened with a 64 76(3) defeat of Louis Cant of Belgium and then won two very closely fought three-setters.

French qualifier Maxime Janvier followed by his quarterfinal opponent of the previous week, Vandenbulcke, were beaten 63 57 63 and 75 46 64 respectively as Coppejans moved into the semifinal to face Joris De Loore of Belgium, who was seeded second.

Coppejans upset the seedings and posted a 62 63 win and would have the chance to record back-to-back title wins. His opponent in the title match was another Belgian; sixth seed, Julien Cagnina.

The players split the opening two sets. First Coppejans took a tiebreaker 7-3 and this was followed with a 64 win for Cagnina. Coppejans was not to be denied another title though and powered to a 61 final set win to clinch the title.

To end the month, Coppejans returned to his home town of Oostende and a visit to scene of his first ever Pro Circuit singles final.

Coppejans was unseeded for this tournament and here he also entered into the doubles event where he was partnered, for the first time, by Niels Desein, a player he defeated in the semifinal en route to his title triumph in Middelkerke-Westende.

Being back home obviously agreed with Coppejans as he saw off opponent after opponent with relative ease to reach a third straight singles final!

Round one saw him winning 62 62 over Belgian Wild Card entrant James Junior Storme then French seventh seed Tak Khunn Wang managed to win one game more with Coppejans winning 62 63.

Quarterfinal opponent Marcos Giraldi Requena of Spain, who had defeated the number two seed in the previous round, only managed to take three games, all in the second set, off of the rampant Belgian before Coppejans then limited Chilean fourth seed, Juan Carlos Saez, to only two games as he raced into the final with a 62 60 win.

Before he could attempt to complete a hat trick of singles title wins, Coppejans was involved in the doubles final. One year on from his career first Pro Circuit singles final he was to compete in his career first Pro Circuit doubles final at the same venue.

As an unseeded pairing, Coppejans and Desein had reached the final with straight sets wins, a trend they maintained in the final and they claimed the title with a 62 63 win.

The following day Coppejans was back on court for the singles final. He had been here before, almost a year to the day, when on the receiving end of a 63 61 scoreline in his first singles final experience on the Pro Circuit.

On that day he had faced Yannik Reuter of Belgium, this time he was up against Yannick Mertens, seeded three and also from Belgium.

The opening set was a tense affair and went to a tie break which Mertens took 8-6. The last time Coppejans lost a first set tie break he bounced back to take the second set 61, something he was to repeat in this final. The Belgian teenager then pushed on for the win, taking the third set 62, to add to his doubles title triumph with his third singles title win in as many weeks!

Following his highly successful month, the first released rankings of August revealed Kimmer Coppejans had broken into the ATP singles Top 400 for the first time at 362 and a week later had further advanced up the rankings to 344. His title win in the doubles event in his home town also saw him appear on the doubles rankings chart for the first time.