21-year old Hungarian Davis Cup player Attila Balazs, who harbours ambitions of breaking into the ATP Top 100, is our featured player for July.
Balazs kicked the month off in Davis Cup action in his home nation of Hungary where he played in, and won, the first and fourth singles rubbers of Hungary’s 4-1 triumph over Macedonia in the Euro/Africa Group 2 Relegation play-off. Having played his part in preventing Hungary being relegated Balazs left Hungary, destination… Iran.
The Enghelab Sports Complex in the Iranian capital city of Tehran was to be home for the next two weeks for Balazs who was competing in back-to-back tournaments along with his older brother Gyorgy. Named as the number one seed in both the singles and doubles events, the latter of which saw him partnered with his brother, Balazs got off to a flying start, recording a 60 60 win in the singles over Armenian Khachatur Kachatryan. Indian Abhijeet Tiwari provided tougher opposition in the second round but again it was Balazs who ran out a winner in straight sets, 63 64. A first meeting of the tournament with seeded opposition came in the quarterfinal where he swept aside the Greek No. 8, Paris Gemouchidis, with the loss of just five games. Now into the semifinal, Balazs took on the No. 6 seed N.Vijay Sundar Prashanth from India for a place in the final and a shot at the title. Yet to drop a set in the tournament, including in the doubles event alongside his brother where he was also into the semifinal, Balazs quickly took the first set 61 before wrapping up the win 64 in the second set to reach his fourth singles final on the ITF Pro Circuit this year.
Unfortunately in the doubles event he was not to match his singles achievement of reaching the final as he and brother Gyorgy bowed out in a 63 62 loss to the Chinese pairing of Peng Gao and Wan Gao who would go onto a runners-up finish. This disappointment though had to be quickly put aside as he now had a singles final to prepare for against Kuwait’s Abdullah Magdas. Magdas, who earned his place in the main draw via the qualifying event, had already claimed the scalp of the No. 2 seed in round one but Balazs was to prove too tough an opponent and it was the Hungarian No. 1 seed who was lifting the winners trophy at the end following a 62 62 triumph.
Now looking to make it back-to-back title wins in Iran, the Enghelab Sports Complex in Tehran was once again the stage on which Balazs was all set to perform. Again he was named the top seed in both singles and doubles events. The singles got underway with successive straight sets wins over qualifiers, first Iranian Rouzbeh Kamran was seen off 61 64 and this was quickly followed by similar result, 61 63 against Harutyun Sofyan of Armenia. These two victories set up an intriguing quarterfinal clash against the No. 5 seed from Hungary; his brother and doubles partner Gyorgy! Previous ITF Pro Circuit clashes between the two siblings had seen them each win three times although Gyorgy could also point to two additional victories in qualifying events at Challenger level over his younger brother. With a place in the semifinal at stake and, probably more importantly, bragging rights over his brother it was Attila who dominated in a 62 63 triumph. This sibling rivalry though was cast aside in the doubles event as the pair, who had been enjoying plenty of on court success in the tournament continued to cruise through the draw to make the final.
Following on from his singles quarterfinal win over his brother, Balazs won in straight sets yet again. This 61 63 semifinal win against Syrian Marc Abdulnour took him into a final where his opponent would be the No. 8 seed from Greece, Paris Gemouchidis, a player whom he had defeated the previous week at the quarterfinal stage. The day before this final though the Balazs brothers were scheduled to face the Chinese Taipei-Indian partnership of Liang-Chi Huang and Rupesh Roy, the No. 4 seeds, in the doubles final. The brothers, looking for their first title together since July 2009 stormed through the opening set 61 and their opponents were not able to compete with the brothers and with a 63 second set win they were celebrating a fifth career doubles title together from seven finals contested. With the doubles title secured, Attila could now turn his attention to the singles final where he now hoped to win both singles and doubles titles at the same tournament for only the second time in his career. In their meeting the previous week, Gemouchidis was only able to win five games in a straight sets defeat, a statistic that was soon to be applied to this encounter. The opening set finished, for the fourth time in five matches, 61in Balazs’ favour and despite dropping four games in the second set, Balazs was once again ending a tournament with the winner’s trophy in his possession.
A great month then for Attila Balazs as not only did he and his brother Gyorgy win a first trophy together in over a year but he also won back-to-back singles titles. His success in winning the singles and doubles titles in the same week at the Iran F2 Futures was only the second time in his career that he had managed such a feat.
More celebrating was soon to follow as the ATP World Rankings released on August 2nd revealed he had risen to a new career high singles ranking of 187, bringing him ever closer to achieving his goal of reaching the Top 100.
Now with a record of four titles from five singles finals in 2010 this is a goal that is looking more and more achievable for this rising star from Hungary.