If you’re in the Lone Star state (or if you’re in a Lone Star state of mind, love tennis and are looking for an excuse to visit), Dallas’ T Bar M Racquet Club is currently hosting North Texas’ largest tennis event, the Challenger of Dallas. The United States Tennis Association rates the $50,000 ATP/USTA Pro Circuit men’s tournament as one of its top tour stops, and this year the 13th Annual Challenger of Dallas will be awarding $100,000.
Hoping to take a piece of that home is USA’s Jesse Levine, one of the most affable tennis players around. But don’t think for a second that his good-natured manner stops him from being intimidating on the court. Levine was well on his way to a first round victory Monday when his opponent, Eduardo Struvay (COL), had to withdraw after the fifth game of the first set, due to a lower back strain.
Levine delivered an ace for the opening serve, making it clear that he was not going home after round one. He played with his usual bright energy and boxer-like footwork. By the third game, it was obvious that Jesse’s serve was working consistently well, which allowed him to take a few chances and mix things up a bit in that department. He took advantage of the breathing room that a “30-love” (and then a “40-love”) score brings and delivered a ferocious serve or two.
With Struvay (who, it should be noted, played with an elegant line and clean, lean style) withdrawing after the fifth game, left-handed Levine left without being handed a proper sweat. He’ll get his chance in round two, where he will likely meet up with Wayne Odesnik (USA). At this point, Levine looks ready to pick right up where he left off in today’s first set.
The day’s other matches:
-Yuki Bhambri (IND) def. Tobias Kamke (GER) 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4
-Stefan Seifert (GER) def. Michael Yani (USA) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
-Denis Kudla (USA) def. Pierre-Ludovic Duclos (CAN) 7-6(4), 3-6, 7-5
-Mischa Zverev (GER) def. Ram Rajeev (USA) 6-4, 7-6(5)
-Alex Bogdanovic (GBR) def. Tim Smyczek (USA) 6-3, 6-2
On Tuesday (February 7 — beginning “not before 4:30pm”), there are three matches in a row on the Stadium Court that all promise to make an exciting evening of American tennis:
-Jack Sock (USA) vs. Adam Kendrick (USA)
-Robby Ginepri (USA) & Travis Rettenmaier (USA) vs Denis Kudla (USA) & Jesse Levine (USA)
-Alex Kuznetsov (USA) vs Sam Querrey (USA)