Ryler DeHeart will be one of at least four Illini competing in the main draw of the JSM Challenger.
Nov. 14, 2010
URBANA, Ill. - A diverse mix of talent comprises this year's field for the 2010 JSM Challenger at Atkins Tennis Center, as past tournament champions return, in addition to several top up-and-coming athletes on the ATP World Tour and USTA Pro Circuit. Highlighting the main draw will be at least four players with Illinois tennis connections including senior Abe Souza and junior Dennis Nevolo and former collegiate standouts Amer Delic and Ryler DeHeart.
Wild-card recipients Souza and Nevolo drew tough first-round opponents, as Souza will take on 2007 JSM Challenger singles champion, Jesse Levine, while Nevolo will battle second-seeded Peter Luczak. Levine reached the main draw at Wimbledon this past summer and checks in at No. 273 in the world, while No. 143 Luczak competed at all four Grand Slams and reached as high as No. 64 in the world in 2009.
Delic, who won the 2006 JSM Challenger singles title, returns for his seventh tournament of the year as he continues his comeback after a knee injury kept him sidelined since July 2009. The 2003 NCAA singles champion peaked at No. 60 in the world in 2007 and has won six USTA Pro Circuit titles in his career. Delic, who received a wild card into the main draw, will face a yet-to-be determined qualifier in the first round.
Rounding out the group is former Illini All-American Ryler DeHeart, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 174 this past May and has made two finals appearances in 2010, including a win at the USTA/Ursula Beck Pro Tennis Class in early August. DeHeart will face Raven Klaasen in the opening round, who is coming off a Futures finals appearance in October.
The tournament's top seed went to rising 20-year-old Kei Nishikori of Japan, who leads the field with a current world ranking of No. 120. Nishikori returned to the USTA Pro Circuit this year after battling an elbow injury and has quickly made up for lost time, as he has claimed three Challenger titles and advanced to the third round at the US Open and the second round at the French Open.
The list of seeded players also includes Carsten Ball (No. 3), who won his first career Challenger singles title this past July; Izak Van Der Merwe (No. 4), who has made three finals appearance this year and claimed one Challenger title; Bobby Reynolds (No. 5), who qualified for the ATP World Tour Masters Series event at Indian Wells and has won two Challenger titles in 2010; Alex Bogomolov Jr. (No. 6), who reached the semifinals at two Challengers this year; Lester Cook (No. 7), who cracked the top 200 for the first time in his career in September and finished runner-up at the Tulsa Challenger; and Giovanni Lapentti (No. 8), who won the his lone Challenger title of the year in October.
The second round of qualifying play is currently underway at Atkins Tennis Center and will conclude Monday morning, with the start of the main draw set to follow. Qualifying doubles matchups will also be available later this afternoon.
For additional tournament information including draws, results and schedules for each day, visit IllinoisChallenger.com.