22-year-old Barcelona resident Jordi Samper-Montana is our featured player this month.
The Spanish 2006 Junior Davis Cup player took in two clay court tournaments in the Catalonia region before seeing out the month on the hard courts in Bahrain’s capital of Manama.
Samper-Montana came into his first tournament this month, which was taking place in Reus, ranked at 300 and was seeded fourth in the singles event. Here, he was also entered into a fifteenth career doubles event alongside Gerard Granollers-Pujol and the two Spaniards were named as the second seeds and were looking for a second title in as many weeks.
His singles campaign saw him ease through the opening two rounds to reach a quarterfinal against his doubles partner.
A first round 62 61 defeat of a German qualifier was followed by a quick second round victory when his opponent, fellow Spaniard and Wild Card entrant, Pol Toledo Bague, retired after one game of the second set with Samper-Montana leading 62 1-0.
In his quarterfinal with Granollers-Pujol, seeded fifth, Samper-Montana looked to be on course for another quickfire win after dropping just the one game in the opening set. The doubles partners were, however, more evenly matched in the second set with Samper-Montana holding out for the victory 75.
Another seed, in the form of Venezuelan eighth seed Ricardo Rodriguez, was then eliminated 62 63 in the semifinal to take Samper-Montana into the final.
The day before the singles final Samper-Montana and Granollers-Pujol were back out on court together; this time on the same side of the net to contest the doubles final.
The pair were involved in a very tight match and were forced to come from behind to claim the title with a 67(5) 76(3) [10-4] defeat of unseeded Jordi Munoz-Abreu and Andoni Vivanco-Guzman of Venezuela and Spain respectively.
This was their fifth title from seven finals and they had now won the last five finals in which they had featured and added to their title won in Cartagena the previous week.
With the doubles title secured, Samper-Montana now had the chance to add the singles title to his collection, standing in his way, however, was the number three seed Marc Giner.
In this all-Spanish final, Samper-Montana dominated and it was not long before he had recorded a 62 62 win and claim the singles and doubles titles at the same tournament for the second time in his career. He previously achieved this in Valldoreix, Spain back in May 2012.
The second of the Catalonia based tournaments this month was staged in Badalona. For this tournament, Samper-Montana was only competing in the singles event and was once again seeded fourth.
In Badalona, he was in fine form. In his opening four sets he only conceded the one game! Wins of 60 60 and 60 61 saw him progress, almost effortlessly, into the quarterfinal where he faced his doubles partner from Reus, Granollers-Pujol, for the second week running at this stage.
Just as it was in Reus, this match was a battle between the fourth and fifth seeds and once more it was Samper-Montana who emerged triumphant, this time winning 64 61.
Next up was a semifinal with Pere Riba, a player who had seen off the number one seed in the previous round but Samper-Montana proved to be too much for his fellow countryman and another 60 61 win was soon showing on the scoreboards.
In the final he faced a player who was bang in form in 2013, and who’s lowly seeding of seven masked his true danger, Pablo Carreno-Busta.
Carreno-Busta had reached the final of all six of his tournaments this year, winning the title in the last five.
This record did not seem to bother Samper-Montana though and he raced through the opening set 62. Demonstrating the form that had seen him so successful already this year Carreno-Busta hit back with a 61 win to level the match.
The two players then fought to a tiebreak in the deciding set and with a close 9-7 win it was Carreno-Busta who took the title for his sixth in a row.
Samper-Montana then took a week out from Pro Circuit play before returning for the final week of March in Manama, Bahrain.
This tournament saw him named the top seed for both singles and doubles, where he was in a first time partnership with Cristian Rodriguez of Colombia.
Opening round wins of 60 61 against a local Wild Card and 63 60 over a Swiss qualifier carried Samper-Montana into another quarterfinal. He had also now won 11 sets from his last seven matches conceding two games or less, six of which came without loss of a game!
Germany’s Denis Gremelmayer, a former ATP Top 60 ranked player, took the first set of their quarterfinal clash 75 but after Samper-Montana levelled with a tiebreak win, the German 31-year old retired from the match whilst leading 1-0 in the deciding set to hand Samper-Montana a place in the semifinal.
A straight sets 63 76(3) win over Belgium’s Jeroen Vanneste, took Samper-Montana into his third singles final of the month where he would face Dutch third seed Antal Van Der Duim.
As he had done in the opening week of the month, Samper-Montana was involved in the doubles final the day prior to his singles final.
In a clash of the top two seeds there was to be no fairy tale ending to this first time partnership of Samper-Montana and Rodriguez as the second seeds, Riccardo Maiga and Ruan Roelofse of Switzerland and South Africa respectively took the title with a 63 63 win.
The following day there was still the chance to see out the month on a high as he took to the court for the singles final looking for a hat trick of singles titles this month.
In a tense final Samper-Montana narrowly won the first set 64 before Van Der Duim, competing in his first singles final since an April 2012 triumph in Italy, levelled the match taking the second set by the same score.
The deciding set was just as close and eventually it was Samper-Montana who claimed the title, taking the third set 75, to make up for his defeat in the 2012 final to Ireland’s James McGee at this same venue.
Points earned from his triumphs this month would see Samper-Montana climb the ATP rankings to a new career high singles ranking of 267. He is also, at 366, not too far off his December 2012 doubles high of 337.
His career statistics when it comes to ITF Pro Circuit finals now shows he has seven singles titles from twelve finals, three from four in 2013, and eight doubles titles from fourteen finals, two from three in 2013.