July 19, 2009

In the Fast Lane

Jeremy Chardy was just barely left out of the seedings at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart, a tournament which, as it turned out, was pretty evenly matched. At #43 in the world, he's barely a hundred points behind Jose Acasuso, the eighth seed who he met in the first round.

But arguably he's had the more successful year so far, and I'm not sure many people were surprised him to pull off the upset in his opening match. He made his first career final in Johannesburg in February, defeating David Ferrer in the semis before eventually losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He'd beaten Tommy Haas in Delray Beach and Mardy Fish in Indian Wells -- I actually gave him more than a fighting chance against Andy Roddick in the first round at Wimbledon and was surprised that he lost so handily.

Chardy might have been a little annoyed too and seemed to come to Germany with something to prove. After taking out Mischa Zverev, who'd ousted top seed Gilles Simon in the second round, and former world #4 Nicolas Kiefer, Jeremy found himself facing Victor Hanescu for the title. Somehow he was able to brush off a 1-6 loss in the first set to not only level the match, but eventually win it, 6-4 in the final set.

It was his first championship trophy, but I think it's safe to say it won't be his last. Incidentaly he also won a brand new Mercedes E350, and I'm thinking it'll serve him well as he drives through his opponents during the rest of the summer.

He'll get his first chance to prove himself this week in Hamburg, where he has earned the fifteenth seed and a bye in the first round. Jeremy does face a tough draw, though, and more than a few people who've been making their names known this year are in his section of the bracket. Besides second-seeded Nikolay Davydenko, he could face Philipp Petzschner in the third round, or even force a rematch with Hanescu in the quarters.

It'll be hard, but now that Chardy's proven himself he's got to back it up! Nothing's more disappointing than watching such great talent fall back off into the shadows.

But I wish him the best of luck! And definitely will continue rooting for him!

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