Photo: Srdjan StevanovicNoam Behr (ISR)
The Seniors World Individual Championships got underway in earnest at Ali Bey Club Manavgat today, as the top seeded players in most age categories played their first matches. Beniamin Budziak, world champion in the 35 age category in 2009 and runner-up last year, had a difficult start to his campaign.
The top seeded Pole was involved in a titanic struggle against Andrey Vinogradov when the Russian had to retire with Budziak leading 67 75 30. Budziak’s path does not get any easier from here as he takes on Marc Leimbach in the third round, the unseeded German having gone 6-0 in the World Team Championships last week.
The men’s 35 draw has several players who were previously unknown on the ITF Seniors Circuit, including former ATP top 200 player Noam Behr. The Israeli’s seniors debut has got off to a spectacular start as today he defeated eighth seed Marius Raicea of Romania 60 61 on centre court.
One of the day’s most eagerly anticipated matches took place in the men’s 40 age category as unseeded Bart Beks, no.1 in the Dutch team which won the Tony Trabert Cup last week, took on 16th seed Mark Joachim, part of the German team which finished third. After a close first set, Beks ran out the winner 75 60. It was not a good day for the German team as Joachim’s compatriot Ingo Herzgerodt , seeded five, retired after dropping the first set to Italian Andrea Spizzica.
All the other top seeds made it through comfortably to the next round, although number 10 Alfredo Fleischmann of Chile went out 64 62 to Estonian Rene Busch.
The top four seeds in the men’s 45 event also came through easily, including top seed Jeff Tarango who won the 40 age category last year. Number five seed Alec Arho-Havren of Finland was the highest seed to fall, losing 61 62 to Romanian Octavian Ion Mustareata. Seventh seed Marco Silva of Brazil also had a fight on his hands but eventually came through 75 in the third set against Dutchman Frans Grimbergen.
Top seed Alain Moracchini of France had an easy start to his bid for his first world title in the men’s 50 category as he defeated Italian Stefano Negri 60 60. Sixth seed Marek Lubas was the only top seed to depart the draw, the Pole retiring down 75 40 against South Africa’s Clive Wilson.
Injury also led to the exit of a seed in the men’s 55 event, Finland’s Joakim Berner retiring at 64 30 down agains German Heinz Kueppers-Anhamm. There were straight sets wins, however, for top seed Paul French (GBR), second seed and defending champion Mark Vines (USA) and former champions Dan Waldman (USA) and Alan Rasmussen (FIN).
Peter Hampton of New Zealand, seeded 11, was involved in one of the most dramatic matches of the day as he eventually got past American Ross Persons 8-6 in the third set tiebreak.
Most of the seeds in the women’s draws do not play until tomorrow, but 2006 world champion Agnese Gustmane got her campaign for a second title off to a good start by beating Katja Albrecht 61 60 in the women’s 40 event. The only seed to fall was number six Karina Cicchinelli of Argentina, who lost 63 62 to New Zealand’s Hana Guy.
One seed also lost in the women’s 50 age category, as 15th seed Carole de Bruin of Netherlands lost 61 62 to Maria Rosa Bruno of Italy. It was a good day for the Italians as 16th seed Francesca Ciardi, world championships runner-up in 2007, beat Great Britain’s Gillian Brook 62 62.
Draws and results are available here.