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Old 07-04-2016, 12:46 AM   #414
Brian Swartz
Pro Starter
Join Date: May 2006
Madrid Masters

Shreya Ujjaval stopped by for a match. That's selling him a bit short. Going up against ninth-ranked Thiago Herrera, arguably a top-5 player on the dirt, he stole a set before losing 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3. Can't blame that performance -- only thing I blame is the decision for him to play here in the first place. This sort of one-and-done thing is why I wouldn't do it.

In the second round, the top unseeded player, Agustin Herrera(Peru's third-best and currently #17) sent Gaskell packing in straight sets. At the time it looked just another sign of the top American's gradual decline, but we'd hear more from Agustin later on ... Elias Trulsen bowed out in the third, narrowly to unseeded John Condon, a name not worth mentioning anymore the rest of the year but on clay he has his moments. A. Herrera took down another seed in McCuskey as well.

As usual, things started to really get interesting in the quarters. Mehul outlasted Thiago Herrera 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and Caratti shockingly dropped a set to Condon before blasting him aside 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. The bottom half was competitive as well, with Girish Girsh coming up a bit short against Benda 7-5, 7-6(0), and Agustin Herrera eliminating Antonin Iglar, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4. Already a career-making tournament for him.

The semifinals set up then as a prelude to yet another Caratti-Benda duel on clay. Gustavo held up his end by routinely dispatching Mehul, but the German fell to Herrera just as easily(6-3, 6-3 in each match). That set up the first unseeded Masters finalist I can ever recall. Agustin couldn't stop the athletic Argentine who won yet another routine straight-set win and has done nothing here to dispel the notion that he is ready to be nearly untouchable on this surface. Herrera is still the man of the hour despite the defeat however, rising from 17th to 10th with his run here. It will be interesting to see if this is the start of a trend for him -- at 25 years old, he has some time to make his mark for certain. It was a good tournament for Mehul and Girsh as well -- losing to Caratti and Benda is nothing to be ashamed of.

Elsewhere ...

Ritwik Dudwadkar proved my prediction that he's close to turning the tier-4 corner correct. Despite being quite exhausted by the end of it, he made the doubles final in Calcutta(clay) and took his first singles title at this level despite a couple of fairly close matches. Getting nine matches in a single week is huge for him, and he'll have next week completely off followed by a full month of training before he enters another tournament.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 07-04-2016 at 12:47 AM.
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