Published on September 25, 2007
With the injured Paradorn Srichaphan out, Danai has the burden of carrying the hopes of the nation. But far from impressive results in recent matches and a wrist injury might spoil his dream of progressing far in the tournament.
The Thai, who slipped to No 122 in the ATP rankings this week, has suffered five straight first round exits. And due to an injury, he only picked up his racquet again four days ago.
"My confidence is not high at the moment as I have been on a losing streak. I just started training on Friday and have no idea how my body will react in a long match,'' said Danai.
He hoped the presence of a large number of fans would help carry him into the second round for the second successive year.
"I couldn't hit at all for a week. I still feel a little bit of pain when I hit the ball," said Danai, who should enter the match with a slight edge over the Israeli qualifier whom he beat 7-5 6-0 in the Japan Open six years ago.
The match will be televised live on True-Visions from 9pm.
"Levy is tough to play because he has a good attacking game. He also has a variety of shots,'' Danai said about his rival, ranked 203 in the world.
Danai is not the only Thai in the main draw. World junior No 50 Kittiphong Wachira-manowong has been given a wildcard into his first ATP tournament. The 17-year-old will pit his skills against world No 10 and third seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
"I have never seen him play but I have heard about him before. He is a good player and I don't expect to beat him. But I will try my best out there,'' said the Thai top junior, who will also play tomorrow.
Apart from the Danai-Levy match, today's highlights include the duel between Spanish heart-throb Feliciano Lopez and Croat giant Ivo Karlovic, one of the biggest servers on the tour.
Former world No 1 Carlos Moya, who had a Pad Thai cooking class with Lopez yesterday, meets German Benjamin Becker.
In the last qualifying round, rising local star Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattana had a disappointing finish and only took one game from Israeli Harel Levy. Peerakiat made a series of errors to leave the tournament in just 39 minutes.
In other matches, American top seed Zack Fleishman beat countryman David Martin 6-4 6-4, Dominik Meffert from Germany dismissed Swiss George Bastl 6-4 6-4 and Australian Nick Lindahl upset third-seeded German Simon Stadler 6-2 7-6 (7-4).
Order of play (Sept 25)
Matches start at 12 noon
Michael Russell (USA) v Mischa Zverev (GER); Feliciano Lopez (ESP) v Ivo Karlovic; Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v Frank Dancevic (CAN)
Start not before 7pm: Benjamin Becker (GER) v Carlos Moya (ESP); Harel Levy v Danai Udomchoke (THA)
Matches start at 12 noon
Amer Delic (USA) v Dominik Meffert; Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) v Michael Llodra (FRA); Zack Fleishman v Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
Start not before 4:30pm: Scott Lipsky (USA)/David Martin (USA) v Vincent Spadea (USA)/Fernando Verdasco (ESP).