Matwe Middelkoop - November 2007
The featured player this month is Matwe Middelkoop, the 24-year-old from The Netherlands. During the month he competed in three Futures tournaments winning three singles and two doubles titles.
All three tournaments he played were on his favoured court surface, clay.
Matwe first travelled to Kigali in Rwanda where he was top seed in the singles event. He enjoyed a relatively comfortable opening to this tournament defeating a lucky loser and qualifier with the loss of just 2 games. A 61 64 quarterfinal win over the Russian Ivan Nedelko moved Matwe into the semi final against 7th seed Motaz Abou El Khair. Trailing 61 20, Motaz retired from the match providing Matwe with the chance to claim his first Futures singles title since February 2007. A familiar face awaited Matwe in the final, Matwe’s doubles partner, the Lithuanian player Gvidas Sabeckis who was seeded 5. Gvidas provided Matwe with his toughest test of the tournament but could not prevent him from taking the title with 75 63 victory. In the doubles event, he was seeded 3 with Gvidas and together they won the title, dropping just one set to the number 1 seeds in a semi final encounter.
Next it was onto the Ugandan capital Kampala. Once again as the number 1 seeded player, he enjoyed a smooth passage into the quarterfinals with straight sets victories over two qualifiers. The quarterfinal saw Matwe up against his semi final opponent from the Rwanda tournament, Motaz Abou El Khair. This time Motaz was able to complete the match but could not prevent Matwe emerging as the victor, 64 62. Matwe looked to be in for a tough match in the semi final after edging the first set 64 against Romanian Bogdan-Victor Leonte. This was however not to be the case as he swept the Romanian aside taking the second set 60 to move into a second successive final and still to drop a set in singles play. His opponent in this final was Komlavi Loglo of Togo. Matwe made it back-to-back singles titles by defeating 3rd seed Komlavi in straight sets 63 75. Another doubles title with Gvidas Sabeckis was also won here in Uganda.
Khartoum in Sudan was the venue for Matwe’s third tournament this month. Here he was seeded 2 and kept up his impressive run of victories by once more reaching the final without dropping a set. He started with 62 63 and 61 60 wins in the first two rounds. A 62 62 quarterfinal win followed to set up a semi final with Austrian Bertram Steinberger. This proved a tough match but yet again Matwe emerged victorious in straight sets, this time 63 64. The 6th seed Sherif Sabry from Egypt stood in the way of a hat trick of singles titles. Matwe took the opening set 63 leaving him one set away from another title and he was not to be disappointed and won the second set 62. He did not take part in the doubles event this time.
A very impressive month for Matwe as he claimed three singles titles from three finals and did not drop a set giving him a 30-0 set win-loss record from these three events. He also won two doubles titles from two finals.
He now has six career Futures singles titles to his name from ten final appearances. He also has a career record of thirteen doubles finals winning seven titles. Another high point for Matwe came with the release of the December 3rd ATP rankings, which showed that Matwe was ranked at 276, his highest ranking of his career to date and his first appearance in the top 300.