Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, 20, from Germany, competed in two ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in Turkey during the month of February and is our featured player.
The left hander took part in two consecutive hard court tournaments held at the Belconti Resort in the city of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast of South West Turkey. The first of these tournaments saw Stebe named the No. 7 seed for the singles event and unseeded in the doubles with Swedish partner Patrik Brydolf. In his opening match of the singles event, Stebe faced and defeated a Turkish Wild Card entrant with the loss of just one game which came in the opening set.
The second round saw him record another win in straight sets but this time it was a lot closer. Again he was up against a Wild Card entrant, this time from Spain, and having taken the first set 75 he then secured the win with a 64 success in the second set. Great Britain’s Alexander Ward ran Stebe even closer in their quarterfinal encounter but for the third match running it was Stebe who came out the winner, 75 75 on this occasion. His semifinal match pitted him up against Valery Rudnev, the Russian second seed.
The match was not to last too long though and with Stebe leading 60 30, Rudnev retired from the match and the German moved into his first singles final on the ITF Pro Circuit since April 2010. The title match was against Ukraine’s Denys Molchanov, who was unseeded and a 64 63 win brought Stebe a second career singles title on the Circuit and also ensured he survived the entire week without losing a set.
The loss for Molchanov was all too familiar as he has now finished as runner-up in his last five finals played!
Stebe’s doubles campaign though was not to bring the same success as, playing with partner Patrik Brydolf for the first time, he bowed out at the semifinal stage as they were unable to contest the match and handed a Walkover victory to their opponents who went on to take the title.
No travel was necessary for his next tournament as once again the Belconti Resort was hosting.
This time he was seeded fifth in the singles event but due to the weather the doubles event had to be cancelled. Stebe, like the previous week, began with a straight sets win, this time over qualifier and his doubles partner from last week, Patrik Brydolf. His 64 61 win in the first round was then followed up with a 64 62 second round win which took him into the quarterfinals where he was to concede his first and only set of the month.
The set loss came in the second set of his quarterfinal match against Austrian fourth seed Marcin Gawron. Fortunately Stebe had already won the first set so was not out of the tournament. The deciding set was very tight with both players coming close to victory and in the end it was Stebe who came out on top with a 64 46 76(6) triumph.
His next opponent, for a place in the final, was the unseeded Czech player Roman Jebavy. Despite being unseeded he would pose a threat to Stebe as he had already eliminated the No. 1 seed in round two! Well, that was what was thought, Stebe, however, had other ideas and with one eye on the final he dropped just five games in a 64 61 semifinal victory.
Stebe now had the chance to win back-to-back singles finals on the ITF Pro Circuit for the first time in his career.
Looking to stop him was Yannik Reuter, a player who had come through the qualifying event so had plenty of games behind him already this week and was contesting his first final and it would not have gone unnoticed by Stebe and his followers that Reuter had seen off the challenges from the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the quarterfinal and semifinal respectively, both in straight sets.
Maybe though for Reuter this was one match too many and against an inform player as Stebe powered to a convincing 61 60 victory to take the title and so ending the month with the same score line that he had started it.
A short but highly successful month of tennis for the German player who now has a 100% win rate in finals for 2011 and has taken his career singles title count to three from five finals. Also, winning those back-to-back titles was a career first in singles although he had done this in doubles back in March 2010, which remain his only doubles titles to date.