French Open 2015: The Men’s Qualifiers Are Set

As the French Open 2015 is about to start, the men’s qualifiers are set and placed in the main draw.  Here is a look at some of the qualifiers. For a look at the young gun qualifiers, click here

Michael Berrer

The 34 year old German lefty serve and volleyer started 2015, his last year on tour, as he is retiring at the end of the season, with a bang, defeating Nadal over 3 sets in the first round in Doha.  Currently ranked 148 in the world he has been a top 50 player, but has suffered the last couple of years with an elbow injury forcing his ranking down. Berrer has successfully qualified four previous this times for ATP events in 2015, including Indian Wells and Miami, clay is not his surface however, and Jeremy Chardy is likely to defeat him in round 1.

Germain Gigounon

The 26 year old Belgian has been mostly found around the lower tiers of the men’s game, on the Futures and Challenger circuits, his current ranking is 208 although he has been as high as 201.  Reaching several semi finals and finals on the challenger circuit, this is his first time in the main draw of a Grand Slam. Gigounon will be a huge underdog against home favorite Richard Gasquet in round 1.

Stephane Robert

The 35 year old Frenchman currently languishes at 550 in the rankings, but has been a top 70, very nearly top 60 player. Most of the reason for his ranking drop is that he has not played that much since Wimbledon 2014 due to a leg injury.  He reached the 4th round of the Australian Open last year before losing to 4th seed Andy Murray in 4 sets. Robert is a career journeyman and one of the oldest active players on the ATP tour at 35 and he has never had a winning record on clay at the main draw level. Robert will face fellow qualifier Kyle Edmund in round 1 in front of a supportive home crowd.

Christian Lindell

a 23 year old Swede, living in Brazil, Lindell is ranked at 200 plays right handed and speaks 4 languages (Swedish, Portuguese, English & Spanish), he has been playing since the age of 8 when his father introduced him to the sport.  His Idol growing up was Roger Federer, Christian reached the main draw after knocking out James Ward in the 2nd qualifying round. He joins Elias Ymer as one of two Swedish players in the draw, a big accomplish for that formerly great tennis nation that has fallen on hard times. Lindell almost entirely plays on clay, but he has extremely limited main tour experience thus he shouldn’t pose much of a threat to his round 1 opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Igor Sijsling

The 27 year old Dutch player has a one handed backhand, loves to volley and his favourite surfaces are clay and grass. His favourite tournament is Wimbledon. Reaching his 1st ATP 500 semi final last year in Rotterdam ensured he ended 2014 inside the top 100 for the 3rd year in a row, his ranking has slipped a little now and he currently sits at 166. Sijsling has a credible power game, but his footwork is questionable, and his mental game is one of the weakest in the top 200, as he’s known to collapse under pressure. He was an awful 9-25 at the ATP tour level in 2015 and that is what sent him spiraling back down the rankings. He does have 1 ATP quarterfinal in Zagreb though, and a winnable round 1 contest with the out of form Ernests Gulbis.

Andrea Arnaboldi

Another 27 year old player, the Italian is a left hander who prefers hard court to clay court, hence his favourite tournament being the US Open. Currently ranked 188 his main goal is to reach the top 50 on the ATP rankings list. He has been relatively pedestrian this season at the challenger tour, so it’s a surprise he qualified, and he’s actually an underdog against James Duckworth in round 1.

Matthias Bachinger

The 28 year old German right hander has been ranked inside the top 100 (career high of 85) but currently sits at 125.  In 2014 he qualified for ATP Stockholm and reached his 2nd Semi final at the ATP level, before losing to Toms Berdych. Bachinger qualified without dropping a set and he also qualified for the most recent US and Australian Open, as he seems to have a knack for getting the job done in slam qualifiers. Marcel Granollers is a beatable round 1 opponent, so we’ll see if he can escape round 1.

Illya Marchenko

The Ukrainian right hander is 27 years old and currently ranked 128, his best shot is his backhand, he has been within the top 70 on the tour but that was back in 2010. Marchenko almost never plays on clay, and he’s the most surprising qualifier at the tournament this year. He dropped just 1 set in qualifying, and his round 1 opponent Carlos Berlocq is in poor form, so perhaps his luck will continue. He’s solid from the baseline but his shots are flat, not spinny.

Nikoloz Basilashvili

The 23 year old from Georgia (an Ex USSR country) plays right handed and is ranked at 135 in the world, just one lower than his career high of 134.  His favourite shot is his forehand and he prefers hard courts and clay courts.  He also likes aviation and if he wasn’t playing Tennis he would be a pilot. Basilashvili has had a breakthrough 2015, and it’s been a career year as he won his first ATP main draw match in Doha at the start of the season , won a challenger and qualified for the ATP Montpellier tournament. Thanasi Kokkinakis, the Aussie young gun, will be his first opponent an interesting matchup.

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