Ken Skupski & Neal Skupski win second challenger title in February

By Glenys Furness

  • Neal & Ken Skupski win second challenger title of February
  • Dan Evans lost in first round.

CHERBOURG, FRANCE – Ken Skupski & Neal Skupski secured their second challenger title of February dropping only one set along the way. Dan Evans lost in straight sets to the top seed.

In the Cherbourg Challenger Ken & Neal Skupski made light work of their first round opponents. The top seeds faced Aslan Karatsev & Adam Pavlasek. The first set saw the Skupski brothers break serve three times and lose one service game to take the first set 6-3. The second saw again saw the brothers drop serve only once, and they broke twice to secure a spot in the next round with 6-4.

The quarter final saw the Skupski brothers against a wild-card pairing of Tristan Lamasine & Albano Olivetti. The Brits were unbroken in the first set, their opponents were not able to secure any break point chances. The Skupski brothers managed to obtain the vital break of serve in the first set to take the lead 6-4. The second set was much closer as both teams exchanged one break of serve, the set headed into the tiebreak. The breaker was as close as the set had been, with the Brits eventually coming out on top 8-6.

The Semi final saw the brothers face James Cerretani & Tristan-Samuel Wiessborn, with the Brits breaking early to take an early 3-0 lead. Cerretani & Wiessborn broke back to get back on serve. The set was heading towards a tiebreak but the Skupski brothers got the vital break and took the set 7-5. The second set saw the Brits face no break points on their serve, whilst they secured four chances on the opponent serve, and took the necessary break to go ahead. This time there was no recovery from Cerretani & Wiessborn and the Brits were into another Challenger final.

The final pitted the Brits against Yoshihito Nishioka & Aldin Setkic, the Japanese/Bosnian team were playing really well in the first set, and saved all five break points the Skupski Brothers obtained in the first set. Nishioka & Setkic then converted the only break point they obtained to take the set 6-4. The second set did not start well for the Brits and they soon found themselves 3-1 down. However, they soon broke back to level the set, before going on to break again and levelled the match 6-3. A match tiebreak would settle the title holders, the Brits kept with Nishioka & Setkic, before breaking and taking a lead that would see them take the match 10-6. The Skupski Brothers secured the title, and their second trophy of February.

Evans was also playing in Cherbourg. He drew the top seed Filip Krajinovic, the Brit managed to break serve twice against the Serbian before Krajinovic edged the set by breaking three times to take it 6-4. The second set saw Evans stay toe to toe with the Serb and the set landed in a tiebreak, in this Krajinovic dominated taking the breaker 7-4.

In Acapulco Jocelyn Rae & Anna Smith were seeded fourth and faced Anastasia Rodinova & Galina Voskoboeva. The Brits were outclassed in the first set as Rodinova & Voskoboeva served up a bagel to take the set. The second went better for Rae & Smith as they forced a breaker, however the unseeded team managed to also dominate the tiebreak, securing the win 7-3.

Johanna Konta & Heather Watson teamed up again for the doubles and drew the second seeds in the first round. The Brits took the first set over Kiki Bertens & Johanna Larson 6-3, before the seeds forced their way back taking the second set dominating the tiebreak 7-2. The match tiebreak was close but the Brits were edged out 10-8.

Colin Fleming & Jonathan Erlich had drawn Mate Pavic & Michael Venus in the first round. In a re-match of last weeks final the Brit/Swedish pairing soon found themselves down, as they lost the first set 6-4. However, Fleming & Erlich were not going away and in the second set forced a tiebreak, this they won 7-5. It would be a match tiebreak to win it, this was very close as Pavic & Venus kept with Fleming & Erlich until right at the end when the Brit/Swedish pairing secured their revenge taking it 11-9.

In the quarter finals Fleming & Erlich faced the third seeds Philipp Petzschner & Alexander Peya. The seeds got the better start as they secured the vital break in the first set to take the lead 6-4. Petzschner & Peya showed their ranking in the second set as they prevented any break point chances by Fleming & Erlich. The Brit/Swede team were broken twice in the set as their campaign ended with the defeat 6-2.

In Dubai Dom Inglot & Robert Lindstedt faced Feliciano Lopez & Marc Lopez. The Spaniards and the Brit/Swede team stayed toe to toe in the first set, with each exchanging a break of serve as the set wound its way to a tiebreak. In the breaker the Spaniards dominated and took the breaker 7-3. The second set saw Lopez & Lopez manage to make inroads into the Inglot & Lindstedt serve, in fact there were break points a plenty on each side, with the Spaniards securing the one needed to seal the second set 6-3.

Jamie Murray teamed up with Tommy Robredo and in the first round drew John Peers & Henri Kontinen who were seeded fourth. Murray & Robredo lost the first set as the seeds dominated, taking it 6-2. However, the Brit/Spanish team soon fought back in the second set 6-4 meaning a match tiebreak ensued. Murray & Robredo soon had the match in the bag as this went their way easily and they secured the win 10-4.

In the quarter finals they drew the all Italian team of Simone Bolelli & Andreas Seppi, the Italians soon secured the break of serve needed and went on to take the first set 6-4. Things didn’t get any better for the Brit/Spanish team as the second set went very much the same way, with the Italians finally securing the win 6-3.

Over in Qatar Naomi Broady teamed up with Alicja Rosolska and drew the Ukrainian team of Kateryna Bondarenko & Olga Savchuck. The first set saw the Ukrainians break serve twice as Broady & Rosolska struggled to make any in roads into the opponents game, although they managed one break, the final score in the set 6-4. The Ukrainians played better in the second set as they saved both break points that Broady & Rosolska created. The Brit/Polish team were outplayed in the second set as the Ukrainians broke twice to seal the match 6-2.

Next week Brits are in action in Birmingham, Quimper, Monterrey (Mexico) & Kuala Lumpur