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Old 06-17-2017, 10:54 PM   #632
Brian Swartz
Pro Starter
 
Join Date: May 2006
January

World Team Cup

#6 Argentina was up first, on paper our toughest group opponent. We skunked them 5-0, ending that discussion quickly. Doubles was the closest, with Mehul/Dudwadkar taking that rubber in a big comeback against a couple of excellent doubles players. 1-6, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-0 was the count. When you lose two sets that badly, it's pretty much over 99+% of the time. In the first three singles matches we didn't drop a set, so this was the only real drama.

The next week, I screwed up and thought I'd entered tournaments that I apparently didn't. That left everyone needing some extra training from Anil Manohar, but more urgently dropped Dudwadkar from 32nd to 33rd with only one week left before Australia. All of my senior players were in action that week. Anil Mehul just needed matches so he bashed his way to an easy win in a tier-2 futures; almost back up to Challenger status in singles now. Prakash Mooljee headed to Auckland 250, where it was an easy road before running into 6-seed Hsuang-tsung Teng in the final. He eventually won that, 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-3, but it was anything but easy. Naturally another ranking snafu strikes, which seems to happen at this point in the year, so from that standpoint the title did him no good. It was his 9th 250-level title for those of you(nobody) scoring at home, one short of Mehul's national record. Most critically, Ritwik Dudwadkar entered his first 250 in Sydney, needing enough points to get himself a seed next week. He was 6th here, and got a couple of qualifiers early on, dropping just three games in the first two rounds combined. So far so good, but the road then left #5 Luc Janin in his path in the quarterfinals. Their first meeting was a stunner, with Dudwadkar pulling off by a mile the best win of his career, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1! Overall he was clearly the better player, esp. in the final set. Next up was Jake Jolland, a very even matchup at this point of their careers. It was a hell of a match, but Ritwik pulled it out again, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(6)!! Definitely got his comeuppance against Fangio who blasted him in the final, but it was still a great pair of wins against higher-ranking players, and beating the No. 5 in Janin is nothing to shake a stick at. Definitely also made him safe in the rankings as the final here is worth 150 points, his best single result to date. Even more importantly, he seemed to be playing up to his abilities this week -- that's rare in his track record, and a very encouraging sign. If I had the first foggy notion this was coming, he wouldn't have entered doubles here as well to get more matches.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-17-2017 at 10:56 PM.
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