Been about a month and a half since I updated this. I've been thinking about what I want to do here, and we've just reached the end of another year in the game. I think I'm going to do a synopsis each 'quarter', every few months of game time or about once every two weeks or a little less in real time. Seems to me that will strike a good balance between the old way of detailing every major tournament, and completely dropping off the map. I don't really want to do either of those.
So to start with ...
2049 World Team Cup
Our four-year reign of terror came to an end in the semifinals, where we were upset by the Czech Republic. With Girsh now 30 years old, we don't have two prime players anymore, and that made us a little vulnerable. We lost doubles, and Prakash Mooljee won both of his rubbers in straight sets. This surprised nobody. That meant that Girish Girsh just needed to take one of his. His first crack, against Antonin Iglar was your typical 'win more battles, but lose the war' kind of match. He had the upper hand more often than not, but was 2 of 8 in break points, and Iglar was 4 of 6, taking it in four sets.
That meant that it all came down to Girsh against Tomas Niklas, tied 2-2 going into the week-ending deciding rubber. This one was a war. Only the fourth set wasn't close, and it went the distance and then some. When all was said and done, Niklas had ended our reign with a 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2, 9-7 classic. Over 400 points, 44 combined aces, and plenty of chances for both players. After a streak of almost five years covering 33 straight ties that we were successful in, we fail narrowly. Really should have gotten one of Girsh's matches, as close as they were, but he couldn't make it happen.
The Czech Republic went on to lose to Argentina, 3-2 on clay, in the final. Caratti actually only won one of his matches, but they got victories in doubles and from Tristan Benitez as well. Three of the week's encounters went the full five sets; it was a battle royale.
It's far from over for us though; we're still on top of the world rankings, but our lead has shrunk significantly.
2049 Final Nation Rankings
1. Sri Lanka -- 2584
2. Argentina -- 2461
3. United States -- 2411
4. Germany -- 2264
5. France -- 2116
6. Spain -- 1979
7. Russia -- 1936
8. Czech Republic -- 1920
9. Sweden -- 1874
10. The Netherlands -- 1836
In the long-term, we're looking pretty good to stay on top. Argentina bulled it's way to an exciting title, but with Gustavo Caratti 30 years old as well, his decline will leave them with only Benitez(19th) even vaguely approximating an elite player. They were also blessed with a lot of clay this year. The Czechs have Tomas Niklas of course, but Iglar is fading as well and Hugo Jurco(22nd) is good enough to keep them among the top nations, but isn't a top player yet. Also, they'd faded so far that they have a long ways to go to catch up. The USA has Johnny Browne -- more on his exploits in the rankings updates -- and Tiosav Srbulovic(12th). That might be the best pairing, but once Girsh is off the scene we'll still have Shreya Ujjaval to go with Mooljee. I still like our chances against anyone out there, all things being equal. We can be beaten as has been shown, but I'm not sold that it can be done consistently.
Last edited by Brian Swartz : 01-07-2017 at 05:59 PM.