James got unseeded Frenchman Axel Michon in his first round of the Colombian challenger. Michon has won two future tournaments in his last three tournaments so it will definitely be a big test for Ducky. A possible second round match up with the current top 100 player Alejandro Falla from Colombia would probably show where James really is and how far he is from the ATP level of play on clay. A win in his first round will put him just 2 points behind Ben Mitchell in the race for the number 2 '92 born Aussie player, it has really been back and forth from both of them all year but I'm sure they are inspiring each other to want to go out there and get some results.
James is likely to stay in South America for a few more weeks, he is on the entry list for a challenger in Argentina after this coming week and on the entry list for the challenger in Uruguay the week after. He hasn't got direct entry in either of them so might have to play qualifying but that didn't seem to be a problem this week. He'll probably stay for another week after the challenger in Uruguay as there is another challenger in Ecuador so it could be a good finish to the year to get some decent exposure to challengers across different countries.
Ducky started well against Michon, winning the 1st set 6-3 after saving 8 break-points and converting his only break-point opportunity. But he was unable to break through in the second set, with Michon saving 3 break-points to get to the tie-break. In the tie-break they swopped early breaks but Michon prevailed, winning the tie-break 7-2 and then getting the better of James in the last set, converting just one of five break point opportunities to win the set 6-4.
A good effort by James, where a bit of good luck could have made all the difference.
The Duck is into the final round of qualifying for the Buenos Aires challenger after two convincing straight sets victories in the first two rounds. He will face Marcel Felder in the final round which could be tough. Another main draw appearance for James would most certainly build confidence for James as well as proving he deserves his spot on the challenger tour. A win in the main draw will also see James enter the top 250 for the first time in his career and tick off another milestone in a gigantic year for him. If he qualied and won his first round he would also jump Ben Mitchell in the rankings and regain his place as the number 2 Aussie '92 born player.