21-year old Igor Sijsling from the Netherlands comes under the spotlight for November. Sijsling, who made his Davis Cup debut in April 2007, losing the fifth rubber in straight sets to Tim Henman in a 4-1 defeat against Great Britain, competed in four Futures tournaments on the ITF Men’s Circuit during the month.
The first two tournaments saw Sijsling travel to Hawaii for tournaments on the Kohala Coast and then the capital, Honolulu. His Kohala Coast stay was only brief where, as the second seed, he made a shock first round exit after losing in straight sets to American Adam El Mihdawy.
The trip to Honolulu was to prove more productive. Sijsling first saw off the challenge of two American qualifiers in straight sets in the opening two rounds before racing through to the semi final with a 61 61 victory over Matt Reid from Australia, his doubles partner in Honolulu. Fifth seeded Andrey Kumantsov from Russia took the opening set of the semi final on a tiebreak before succumbing to a fight back from Sijsling who eventually won a close match 67(2) 63 75. A 63 76(3) win in the final over sixth seed Daniel Yoo from Korea gave Sijsling his first Futures singles title since July 2006. In the doubles event, Sijsling, with partner Matt Reid, finished as runners-up in what was their first tournament together as a doubles team.
After a perfect ending to his time in Hawaii, Sijsling then moved on to the Caribbean to end the month with two tournaments in the city of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. In the first tournament he was named the third seed. Sijsling opened the tournament with a tough 76(5) 63 win over his Italian opponent, Filippo Leonardi, then, for the second tournament in succession, defeated Andrey Kumantsov in three close sets. Sijsling’s participation in the tournament, however, came to an end in the quarterfinal where he was beaten 62 75 by Austria’s Nikolaus Moser.
The second Futures tournament in Santo Domingo saw Sijsling progress, as the seventh seed, with a first round win over Georgian qualifier Lado Chikhladze in straight sets followed by a walkover victory in the second. Top seed in the tournament was Guillermo Olaso from Spain who provided the opposition for Sijsling in the quarterfinal but with the Dutchman leading 64 31, Olaso was forced to retire from the match. Sijsling then overcame Serbian fourth seed Vladimir Obradovic in a closely fought semi final match 75 64. After failing to reach a Futures singles final for over a year, he now found himself contesting a second final in the space of two weeks! Opposition in the final came from Andrey Kumantsov, who, having been knocked out of the previous two tournaments by Sijsling, was looking to gain some revenge over his recent nemesis. A tight first set went Sijsling’s way 7-5 in a tiebreak before Kumantsov levelled the match, winning the second set 64. The decider proved a more one-sided affair with Sijsling completing a hat trick of victories over Kumantsov this month with a 76(5) 46 61 victory.
The two singles titles won during November, his first since 2006, improved Sijsling’s career tally to four Futures titles from five finals. Despite failing to capture a doubles title this month, his appearance in the final in Honolulu, his first in 2008, increased his career Futures doubles final appearances to eleven. These eleven finals produced four titles for Sijsling. During November, Sijsling won twenty-two sets and lost just seven.
At the time of writing, Sijsling’s ATP ranking is 531 in singles and 351 in doubles, both some way off his career best of 274 and 211 respectively, both achieved during 2007.