THE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013
De Schepper: "It's a Pleasure to Be Here"
by ATP Staff|
Frenchman Kenny de Schepper is in unchartered territory.
The 26 year old, who had only won only one match at a major before The Championships this year, has reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
The Toulouse resident, who holds a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 80, upset 22nd seed Juan Monaco in 6-4, 7-6(8), 6-4 on Saturday to post the best win of his career, and only his third victory against an ATP World Tour Top 100 opponent.
“I feel good here. I live from day to day and I focus on every game I play,” De Schepper said after the match. “This is a personal satisfaction to be in the second week. I always felt that I had the potential to do something in the Grand Slams so it is good that it happened today.”
The 6-foot-8 De Schepper cracked the ATP World Tour Top 100 only last month, and admitted he’s a late bloomer. “I decided to change my game when I was 18, I went to a one-handed backhand, before that I played behind my baseline and I did not not come to the net to volley,” he said. “I was aware that I was tall, but that I did not use my abilities so I changed all that and today it is a pleasure to be here.”
The unlikely pair of De Schepper and countryman Adrian Mannarino are poised to make history. If the Frenchmen score victories on Monday, they’ll become the first duo from their nation to reach the final eight since 1991, when Guy Forget and Thierry Champion made the quarter-finals.
De Schepper will be attempting to post his first ATP World Tour-level win over a fellow left-hander when he takes on No. 54 Fernando Verdasco on Monday. The Spaniard, who has been pleased with the way he’s been serving in the tournament to date, dropped a set in the opening round against Xavier Malisse, but navigated past French 31st seed Julien Benneteau and Latvia’s Ernest Gulbis in straight sets.
“I'm sure it's not going to be easy match if he's in [the] fourth round,” Verdasco said of his clash against De Schepper. “I will need to play my best tennis.”