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Old 09-25-2016, 07:20 PM   #511
Brian Swartz
Pro Starter
 
Join Date: May 2006
2048 Season Preview

Looking at my updated 'overall ratings' is my favorite part of the year I think. At this point I can see how well the young players progressed, and take a look at how the new year might unfold. Of course there are always some surprises as well.

1. Girish Girsh(87%, 8.62, -0.13)

Showing once again that his spot in the rankings, while dominant and impressive, is something of a mirage.

2. Antonin Iglar(80%, 8.52, -0.18)

Yikes. An even steeper drop. I'm reminded that last year I said he was 'my odds-on favorite for the top player this coming year' based on how well he finished '46. Yeah, about that ...

3. Gustavo Caratti(88%, 8.39, -0.02)

Everything confirms that Caratti, whose mental game and to a lesser extent technical abilities are just too weak to really push for #1 seriously, is just past his best play as well. The clay dominance continues to be his ticket, and he'll keep trying to push for Iglar's #2 spot based on that as the Czech legend fades.

4. Anil Mehul(80%, 8.49, --)

Rather astonishing that he managed to break even this year(though it's not really true, almost certainly it's rather a decline so small that it hasn't showed up yet). Still, a sixth straight season of more than 80% wins and over 70 total. Very nice. He's still much better than most of the Top 10 players, and should be able to be 5th at worst this season, possibly as high as 3rd.

5. Mugur Kinczllers(85%, 8.15, -0.06)

Baseline technique has faltered as Kinczllers has put more effort into working on doubles, but he's still a solid #5.

6. Theodore Bourdet(90%, 8.15, -0.03)

Bourdet's serve might be the best in the world right now, but it has come at the expense of a weak baseline game. He could pass Kinzcllers potentially, but even that seems a bit unlikely.

7. Davide Poilblan(88%, 8.18, -0.13)

His results last year notwithstanding, Poilblan is past his best and doesn't have the power or quite the technique to go much further. These three are very closely matched right now though, and it'll be interesting to see how that develops.

8. Prakash Mooljee(97%, 8.58, +0.11)

Mooljee's improvement has slowed markedly as he starts to descend from his physical peak, but he's still getting better while those around him decline. Only Girsh is better in terms of baseline technique right now - Prakash's serve still needs some work but is getting to be respectable at the elite levels. Overall, he's now second-best just a hair behind Girsh, and their practice encounters in recent weeks have borne that out. He'll surpass the world no. 1, at least on paper, very soon. It's not about draws any more for Mooljee, it's about winning - there's nobody he should be taking a back seat to. He should push up to at least 4th this year, and could get to 2nd. It all depends on how consistent he is at beating weaker players and taking at least his share of chances against his few remaining peers.

9. Pierce Gaskell(79%, 8.28, -0.06)

Gaskell's overplaying caught up with him in what was more or less a bit of an underachieving year. His results should continue to decline, as he's apparently made the turn towards doubles.

10. Bjorn Benda(75%, 8.03, -0.18)

Benda's another guy shifting to doubles and giving way to the younger players, amid a management change this year.

11. Agustin Herrera(89%, 8.20, +0.02)

Herrera has dropped out of the Top 10 briefly but is still up a couple spots from last year's 13th-place finish. I expect he'll pop back on the first page ahead of at least Benda for a while. He's good enough to hang there for another year.

12. Shreya Ujjaval(94%, 8.37, +0.06)

Ujjaval cut his previous ranking of 29th more than in half, and should continue to progress. He's starting to approach his peak now, but I'd already rate him 6th overall a bit behind Caratti and he'll be the Argentine's equal soon. He should be able to pretty consistently handle Kinczllers, Herrera, and the French players now. Whether he can catch them is another matter. His goal for this year will be what Mooljee's was last year, make the Tour Finals at a minimum. 7th is probably a reasonable year-end target for him.

15. Zourab Andronikov(93%, 8.28, ??)

After hanging out around 30th for a few years, the Georgian standard-bearer made a big push last season and I doubt he's done yet. Strong with a big serve and a good mental game, Andronikov is another threat to break into the Top 10.

18. Tiosav Srbulovic(98%, 8.16, ??)

Barely 22, Srbulovic is the top player right now in the 'younger than Mooljee' category. Though he is not at the elite level yet technically, few can match him athletically, particularly in terms of footspeed. Tiosav is also a hardcourt specialist which makes him very tough about half of the year. I think he'll push up into the low teens or better, on the doorstep of the Top 10 but not quite there.

19. Sava Cirakovic(95%, 8.00, ??)

Mooljee's top same-age rival, Cirakovic has the usual elite-serve, poor-rally disease. Strong but fairly slow, he's moving up a bit at a time doesn't look ready to progress much more at this point. Eventual Top 10, but can't say a lot more than that and it will probably be a couple years.

25. Luc Janin(100%, 8.26, +0.34)

Just shy of his 21st birthday, Janin continues his meteoric rise. His technical skills are already as good of those of Srbulovic, and he's every bit the athlete along with being considerable more committed to being the best he can be(3.8 endurance). His improvement this past year was just ridiculous, and it's not out of the question that he could crash the Top 10 party by the time he turns 22. Everything points to him being scary good -- he's going to have a relatively short career, but he's sure making the most of it so far. Not even Iglar was this good this fast.

69. Shyam Senepathy(97%, 6.89, -0.16)

Nobody should be declining at this age, which tells you all you need to know about Senepathy's inept management. Slow and still has the rally ability of a futures player -- the serve will only take you so far. Still moved up +16 from 85th, but is stalled here.

8(J). Ritwik Dudwadkar(83%, 5.07, +1.03)

Almost as much of a bump as he got last year; Dudwadkar is now more physically developed than the older players like Mehul. Weird, given that he's only 17 but he's on the opposite end of that aging curve. He's nearly as fast as Mooljee, footspeed being his greatest strength. Not a fun guy for opposing players to serve against.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-25-2016 at 07:20 PM.
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