29 Jan 2016

Spotlight On... Joris De Loore - December 2015


By Nick Fishpool

Photo: Susan MullaneJoris de Loore (BEL)

December 2015

Joris De Loore, 22, competed in three Qatar based tournaments during the month and is December’s featured player.

The young Belgian favours a clay court surface but this month he was competing on hard courts in Doha, a surface he had yet to win a singles title on.

In his opening tournament De Loore was seeded fifth and the 22-year-old began well posting straight sets wins which included a 61 64 defeat of Tom Kocevar-Desman, the Slovenian fourth seed, in the quarterfinal.

De Loore’s run, in singles at least, was to end in a three set loss in the semis. Having fought back from dropping the first set 62 to his unseeded Czech opponent, Dominik Kellovsky, a deciding set tiebreak finished 8-6 in the Czech’s favour.

Better fortune was to come his way though in the doubles event with his first time partner, also from Belgium, Laurens Verboven. Three successive wins in straight sets carried the duo through to the final where they faced the top seeds, Britain’s Luke Bambridge, who he would face several more times this month, and Kaichi Uchida of Japan.

Having already disposed of the second seeds in round two confidence would have been high going into this match and would rise higher after taking the first set 64.

Bambridge and Uchida, however, brought the match level to force a decisive match tiebreak where a 10-7 victory saw the title go to De Loore and Verboven to mark a successful debut for the partnership.

For the second of this month’s trio of Doha tournaments, De Loore was back playing alongside Michael Geerts in the doubles event and was named the sixth seed in singles.

As a partnership this was the sixth time the pair had teamed up and the fifth time in 2015. Together, De Loore and fellow Belgian Geerts had yet to progress beyond the quarterfinal stage but that would change.

The singles draw pitted him against qualifiers in the opening two rounds, matches which he duly won in straight sets over first Dutch and then Japanese opposition.

These victories were followed up by a crushing 61 62 quarterfinal win over Swiss player Antoine Bellier to set up a semifinal encounter with the second seed Hiroyasu Ehara.

De Loore had opened up a 75 3-1 lead when his Japanese opponent was unable to continue and retired from the match handing De Loore a place in the final which was to be against Korea’s Seong Chan Hong who came into this tournament via the Junior Exempt Programme.

The day prior to the singles final, De Loore was involved in the doubles final. De Loore and Geerts path to the final was not an easy one. Despite winning each round in straight sets to earn a final spot, these were all closely fought with the final place coming after a 64 63 defeat of the top seeds in the semifinals.

Like De Loore, Bambridge was also playing with a different partner this week in Germany’s Mats Moraing, and again, like De Loore, won through to the final to bring the two players face-to-face in a title match once more.

The first set ended 75 to De Loore and Geerts and in the second they restricted their opponents to three games as they secured the title 75 63.

The singles final would present De Loore with two firsts. A convincing 63 62 victory gave the Belgian a first singles title outside of his homeland and this was also the first time he had won both event titles at the same tournament.

It also brought a welcome end an eighteen month run since his last singles title triumph.

His final tournament of the month, and indeed year, saw him reunite with Berboven in the doubles and seeded fourth in singles.

The duo, hoping to replicate their success from earlier this month, saw their title ambitions ended in a semifinal loss to Bambridge and Moraing, the pair De Loore had helped defeat in the previous week’s final.

The year was to end on a high note though for De Loore who enjoyed a comfortable run to the singles final and yet another meeting with Bambridge!

En route to the final, De Loore notched up wins of 61 62, 61 64, 61 61 and 62 64 to set up this latest meeting this month with the British player.

The only previous time these two players had come up against each other in singles play was in early November when, coincidentally, De Loore was also seeded fourth.

On that occasion, in Tipton, Great Britain, it was Bambridge who ran out a winner in the first round in two tiebreakers but this time, with a title at stake, it was De Loore who was to emerge victorious and he closed out his 2015 season with a 63 63 win.