No luck in qualifications Basel and Paris: wildcard for doubles with Herbert in Bercy

Luck is not with Nico the last few weeks, as he was playing qualifications in Basel last week, and this weekend in Paris. We recieved some pictures from last weekend in Basel, so let’s look back shortly on both weekends. In Basel he started against Victor Estrella-Burgos, and won the match in one hour and 15 minutes. Especially the serve seemed to be effective in this match. Nico hit 12 aces, and won 93 percent of the first serves here. In the next round it was Gastao Elias from Portugal who was on the other side of the net. In a very fast first set it was 6-1 for Elias, but Nico stayed focussed and won the second set in a tiebreak. Nico had many chances on the Elias serve this set, 8 breakpoints, but only was able to use one of them, to make a much needed rebreak. The set finished in a tiebreak, that went with 7-2 to Nico. The third set was the same as the second set, with a break and a rebreak all the way to a tiebreak. Elias was the first one to have a matchpoint, but Nico saved it. Then Nico had a matchpoint himself, that he lost after a long rally. Elias then had two matchpoints again, and managed to win the match after 2 hours and 42 minutes. An unbelievable close end of a cruel match, and no qualification for the maindraw in Basel.

The BNP Paribas Masters announced thursday that Nico got a wildcard for the qualification tournament this year. He played Denis Istomin in the first round yesterday. The two played a very long match, with a tiebreak in the first set. Istomin took this tiebreak, with 7-4. In the second set, it was Istomin who made the break first. Nico had one chance to break back for 5-5, but unfortunately could not convert his breakpoint. Istomin then finally held his serve and won the match with 7-6 6-4. But what a fight from Nico, he can be proud of himself for the fighting spirit shown in this match.

Nico plays doubles with the young Pierre-Hugues Herbert this tournament, the duo got a wildcard for the tournament. Herbert will be Nico’s partner for doubles for 2015 too!

We recieved some photo’s today from Nico’s matches in Basel, so here are some images from the first and second round match of Basel. Enjoy! first

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And some from the second round against Gaston Elias.

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Many thanks to Renee Korpel for making and sending us these photo’s to use on the blog. All copyrights are hers.

 

The road to the final in Rennes

The challenger in Rennes is over for yet another year. Unfortunately wasn’t Nico be able to defend his title with succs. But to make it to the final for the second year in row is definately not a bad performance. Steve Darcis played a very good final, and got the win in straight sets 6-2 6-4.

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But before this final happened, a lot of other matches were played this week. Nico started with a first round match against Gregoire Burquier, who was defeated in straight sets: 6-4 6-4. (see the first photo. All photo’s, except the last one, from the Rennes challenger facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Open-de-Rennes-Internationaux-de-tennis-masculin/321373768144?sk=timeline )

In the next round waited Tobias Kamke, the german who was eight seeded in Rennes last week. Again no problems here for Nico, he advanced to the quarterfinals in another straight sets win: 7-6 6-3.

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The quarterfinal was a very special match, because this tournament was the last professional tournament of Marc Gicquel. He played in Mons doubles with Nico, with a title as end result. This week it was Nico who ended the professional carreer of Marc, by winning their quarterfinal match with 6-2 6-4. Here is a link to the video with the matchpoint and a sumary of the ceremony followed after this matchpoint. http://youtu.be/jHf2obXy_SQ

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In the semifinal was Nico opposite to the guy who surprised everyone, the 19-year old Enzo Couacoud. He played friday the match of his life to defeat Robin Haase in 3 sets, two of them tiebreaks. Unfortunately it was too much for this young guy to play so soon again, and he had to retire from the semifinal, when Nico was leading with 3-0.

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This was the road to the final, with a match against Steve Darcis. Darcis played the weekend before against David Goffin in the Mons final, and was for the second week in a row in another final. In fact same with Nico too, only the doublesfinal in Mons and now the singlesfinal. Darcis was the stronger one today, playing very solid to take the match with 6-2 6-4. It gives good hope though for the weeks to come, ending with the last master event of the year in Paris.

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(photo from Nico’s official facebook site, because the Rennes site didn’t have a photo of the singles finalists and their flowers)

The result in Rennes does have a little consequence though, Nico loses a few spots on the rankings again, and is now on 108. (102 last week). But, no matter the rankings, they’re just a number. The person doesn’t change, and he’s still our number one. ALLEZ!!

 

 

 

Mons gives Nico his 19th challenger doubles title

Nico has won last week another title in doubles, with partner Marc Gicquel. They won in the Mons doublesfinal over the first seeds Julian Knowle and Andre Begemann with 6-3 6-4. It was the crown on a great doublestournament, in which they didn’t lose one set.

Nico has won in his carreer some more titles in challengers, here’s a list of all his challenger titles so far. 11 in singles and 19 in doubles:

Singles:
2003: Manchester challenger (G)
2004: Valladolid challenger (H)
2006: Besancon challenger (H), Cherbourg challenger (IH), Kyoto challenger (Carpet)
2008: Orléans challenger (IH)
2010: Cherbourg Challenger (IH), Orléans challenger (IH)
2011: Courmayeur challenger (IH)
2013: Rennes challenger (IH)
2014: Saint Rémy challenger (H)

Doubles:
2000: Contrexeville challenger (Clay, with Benneteau)
2001: Andrezieux challenger (IH, with Benneteau)
2002: Lubeck challenger (Carpet, with Carraz)
2003: Bristol challenger (G, with Bachelot), Bronx challengr (H, with Benneteau), St. Jean de Luz (IH, with Benneteau)
2004: Manchester challenger (G, with Bachelot), Valladolid challenger (H, with Bachelot)
2005: Orléans challenger (IH, with Benneteau), Grenoble challenger (IH, with Benneteau)
2006: Andrezieux challenger (IH, with Benneteau), San Remo challenger (Clay, with Benneteau)
2009: Segovia challenger (H, with Roger Vasselin)
2010: Cherbourg challenger (IH, with Roger-Vasselin), Sarajevo challenger (IH, with Roger-Vasselin), Johannesburg challenger (H, with Zovko), Bordeaux challenger (Clay, with Roger-Vasselin)
2011: Courmayeur challenger (IH, with Gicquel)
2014: Mons Challenger (IH, with Gicquel)

This week, Nico defends his singles title in Rennes. He had a nice win yesterday, winning in straight sets over Gregoire Burquier, a match with 6 aces and not one single double fault. That gives good hope for tomorrow, because then waits Tobias Kamke. They never played eachother before, the only time planned was a walkover for Nico. Kamke is currently ranked 98, which is four spots higher than Nico. Let’s see what happens tomorrow. ALLEZ NICO!!

Mons is next after early loss in Orléans

6-3 6-4. These are the sets that Ruben Bemelmans played wednesday evening against Nico, to win their third meeting. Nico was up a break early in the first set, but Ruben broke him back, followed by a second break to win the set.

In the second set, it was Bemelmans again who made the first and only break of the set. In every servicegame, the Belgian pushed Nico very hard. Nico kept fighting hard, created 3 breakpoints (even one in the last game) but was unable to convert them into a break. In one hour and 21 minutes, Ruben Bemelmans won the match, and secured his spot in the second round. Nico didn’t play doubles this week, so this was a very short performance in Orléans. The facebooksite of the tournament does a great job with updatig, here are some photos from Nico’s match against Ruben Bemelmans.

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To end this post with, here’s an interview with Nico, done in Orléans. http://youtu.be/VaYf2sCGp7A Enjoy!

Let’s look forward to the next tournament, which is in Mons, Belgium. Always with you, Nico!

Nico plays the challenger tour these weeks: Orléans, Mons, Rennes.

A new week has begun and it’s time to look forward to the next few weeks. This week we find Nico on spot 105 in the ATP singlesrankings, 12 places lower than last week. This is because he lost the points from last years semifinal place in Metz.

This week participates Nico in the challenger of Orléans, where he will play the first round match against Ruben Bemelmans. Ruben is currently number 180 of the world.  They played eachother two times before on challenger level, both meetings were won by Nico. (Rennes last year, and Courmayeur in 2011, both 3 set matches). An eventual second round would be against the winner of Norbert Gombos and Andreas Beck. There’s no doubles  for this week, so Nico can concentrate on his singlesrun only.

After this week, there’s two more challengers to come. Next week in Mons, Belgium and the week after in Rennes, France. This couple of weeks there’s room to win points. In Orléans reached Nico last year to the second round and he had to skip Mons after that because he got a light injury. Only in Rennes is he defending champion, with 125 rankingpoints and the title to defend.

Good luck Nico, let’s have some good results the next few weeks in the challengers! ;)

Chardy ends Nico’s Metz run

Two days ago was Edouard Roger-Vasselin forced to retire from his doubles with Nico, due to an injury. They were replaced by another team. Bad luck lately with the doublespartners for Nico. Mika had to retire in US Open, now Roger-Vasselin in Metz. This means that Nico loses the points from last year, when he played the final with Jo Wilfried Tsonga. It doesn’t affect the teamrace to London though. Nico and Mika are still 11th in the race to London.

Yesterday was the court for Nico at 4 pm, against Jérémy Chardy. Nico started off very well, breaking Chardy in the 3rd game of the set. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to hold the break advantage, and Chardy broke back for 4-4. From then on, it went on serve till the tiebreak, which went to Chardy. The two exchanged some very good points, having fast rallies throughout the match.

In set 2 it went on serve for a long time, with both players not having problems holding their serve. At the end of the set, when Nico served for a 6-5 lead, he got broken by Jérémy. After the changeover, Jérémy served for the match and won after 1 hour and 39 minutes of play.

This was Metz for this year, too short compared to the graet results last year. Due to loss of points, Nico is outside the top100 again next week. Luckily there’s some challengers coming up, to collect rankingpoints and match rythm for the last masters event next month. Next week is Orléans, then Mons and Rennes follows the week after, all indoor hardcourt challenger events, with Nico on the list. (Nico defends the title in Rennes)

Maybe this week has been bad, but we’ll always support Nico because he is a great player. So let’s leave this week behind quickly and focus on the weeks to come. Allez Nico!!

Here some photos from tuesdays practice.

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Some photo’s from yesterdays match against Chardy.

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Next week: Metz coming up

It’s about time to be more regular again with updates here, so let’s look forward instead of back. The last Grand Slam of the year didn’t end like we all hoped, but there’s some tournaments to come before 2014 is over.

A week ago, Nico was champion in the challenger of Saint Rémy, lifting his 11th challenger title of his carreer. Hopefully he gets a boost from this win, and will do great this week in Metz. The draws are made and Nico participates in both singles and doubles. In singles, he plays Jérémy Chardy in the first round. Chardy is currently ranked 35 in the world. In doubles it’s the same, Nico plays with Edouard Roger-Vasselin, against Chardy with Lukas Rosol.

Nico is not scheduled for tomorrow, that gives one more day to get used to the court and the indoor conditions in Metz. Here’s some photo’s from todays training after the qualifying matches were finished.

Let’s give Nico all the support he deserves, he’s got a semifinal in singles and a doublesfinal to defend! ;) Allezzzzzz Nico!!

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Nico wins over Robredo, plays Seppi today

It feels very good to be writing positive updates again on this blog this week. Nico played another great match yesterday against Robredo, who came from a good run in Cincinnati and some matches under the belt. Especially in the first set, won by Nico with 6-1, was Nico very strong, giving no chances to Robredo. In the second set, the spaniard played better and even threatened Nico’s serve in the first part of the set. Nico broke him early and lead with 3-1, but played a bad servicegame at 3-2 and lost the break. The whole set went further on serve, but it was a fantastic tiebreak for Nico, he won it with 7-0. 6-1 7-6, and there’s the third round in Winston-Salem!

Now it’s a matter of minutes that Nico takes court again, for a match against Andreas Seppi. They played eachother once before, last year in Metz. A match that Nico won in straight sets. Let’s go for another win this week! Allez!!

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Nico wins Winston-Salem opener, plays Robredo next

Monday morning means usually two things. The start of a new tournament and new ATP rankings. This week is a bit different, because we’re in the week before a Grand Slam. That’s why the tournament of Winston-Salem started yesterday already, with a very positive start for Nico. He played Blaz Kavcic from Slovenia in the first round. Nico won the match, with a very decent 6-3 6-2 win. It’s good to see that Nico played agressive, taking the chances he got and coming to the net often to finish off points. That’s how we know that he can play. Especially in the second set there were not many chances for Kavcic to be dangerous.

The second round will be against Tommy Robredo in a battle of 32 year olds. In the head to head the score is 3-1 for Robredo. In those four times they never played on outdoor hard. The matches always seem pretty close, nothing is impossible in this case. The only meeting that Nico has won was in Rotterdam in 2008, defeating Tommy in 2 sets. The most recent one was last year in Wimbledon second round, a straight set win for Tommy. Robredo is currently world number 18, but he made it to quarterfinals in Cincinnati last week. When Nico plays like his did against Kavcic, he certainly has the chance to get the win today.

Regarding the rankings, it is a normal monday like all other mondays. We find Nico this week outside the top 100: he fell 8 places to number 104. It’s good that next week the US Open begins, because in the doublesrace, Nico & Mika are on spot 8 at the moment. They have played only 9 tournaments together this year, most the other teams many more. The only exception is the duo Sock/Pospisil with 4 tournaments. Hopefully there will be some chances to win points in the months to come, especially in New York. The dream of World Tour Finals is still alive in this last season of Mika Llodra on the tour!

In Winston-Salem is court 2 for Nico and his doublespartner Robin Haase, third match after noon. Two singlesmatches are played before them, so approximately between 3 and 4 pm will they be on court. (Six hours later in Europe). Let’s hope for a winning start in doubles too!

Winston-Salem starts today

The last tournament before the US Open begins today. At least, when it comes to Nico’s matches. Not before 2 pm local time, the center court will be for Nico when he plays Blaz Kavcic in their first round match in Winston-Salem. Kavcic is currently ranked 3 spots higher than Nico, number 93 of the world. In the past those two have played eachother one time before, in the Segovia Challenger in 2009. Nico won this match on outdoor hardcourt with two tiebreaks.  Nico plays third seed Tommy Robredo in the second round if he wins today.

Michael Llodra is not in doubles this week with Nico, but Robin Haase is the doublespartner here in Winston-Salem. In the first round, the duo plays Scott Lipsky / Max Mirnyi, both good doubles players. Haase has been in 2013 in the doublesfinal in Australia (partnering Igor Sijsling), so he too knows how to play doubles on hardcourt. Hopefully they have a good run this week, and get some match rythm in doubles.

It looks like we can see todays match in Winston-Salem, the match is between the links for streamed matches! Look for example here, usually they add more streams once it’s closer to the actual event: www.drakulastream.eu 

Let’s hear it for Nico! ;) Allez!