|09-23-2019, 12:28 AM||#1201|
Join Date: May 2006
Thanks to thc for 'hosting' the Anil Cup again this year, which has recently started. And apparently expanded to a 32-draw because reasons?
Argentina vs. Sweden, Grass
Argentina ekes out a narrow 3-2 win to defend their world championship, and the hero isn't who you'd expect. Tuesday's rubber brought a four-set upset by Acke Kjaerstad over Nicolas Perez, and the no. 1 needed some serious heroics to battle back against Algot Hakanson on Thursday. 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-1. Hakanson had a chance to win it all for Sweden in that third-set tiebreak, but it all went downhill for him when that didn't happen. Then with the tie level at 2 points apiece, Tobias Velilla claimed his second win on the week over Kjaerstad and Argentina was crowned once again. Heck of a final to conclude the year's frivolities at the top level.
** Switzerland vs. Korea -- 17th-ranked Korea has been struggling about in Level 2 for quite some time now. That's unusual for a nation that boasts the #6-ranked player in the world … but their second-best is Bum-kun Jo (113th). Stop laughing over there, I don't write these names, I just report them. It proved a fatal weakness here as the Swiss stay up 3-2, Jung getting two wins but the Koreans were helpless in the other three rubbers.
** Italy vs. Serbia - Fans of 7th-ranked Italy, who made the SFs just two years ago, are disgusted they even have to play this match. Serbia meanwhile is making their second straight promotion attempt, both times after losing to Romania in Level 2. This time didn't go much better than last season's skunking by Russia, a 4-1 victory for Italy as once again the status quo is maintained. The top players for both nations are all over the hill, so I don't see either one of them having a particularly bright future.
** Romania vs. Denmark - I hear that there is angst in Romania over the failure of favourite son Odimos Csollang (10th) to show up for this pivotal playoff tie. And the thing is, looking at his form I think he would have been well served to do so. In his absence, their third straight attempt to promote was struck down 4-1, and Denmark goes up instead. Relying as they do on aging Isa Solheim (94th) and little else, I don't see the Danes sticking but for a nation that's struggled to stay at Level 2 even recently this a fantastic achievement for them.
** Russia vs. Czech Republic - 11th vs. 13th here in a tough matchup of two nations that both should probably stay up, but only one gets to because of the draw. Russia cleans house 5-0, and with players like Stachovsky (35th) and Hudobin (36th) - although they are headed in opposite directions - they're really an overpowered group here and best nation in the playoffs. However, they've lost nine straight Level 1 group ties over the past three years. Eeek. The Czechs kind of stink right now, so it's no shame to see them go down … but behind improving players Viktor Dzubak (86th) and Lubos Rucklov (114th) they should eventually have a shot at bouncing back up. I'm legitimately curious to see how they do in Level 2 next year, after having a five-year run of Level-1 futility snapped here (they made the SFs in '63, but it's been ugly since then).
Final WTC Standings
1. Ireland - 2599
2. Argentina - 2469
3. United States - 2176
4. Sri Lanka - 2157
5. France - 2035
6. Sweden - 1985
7. Italy - 1941
8. Spain - 1916
9. Mexico - 1856
10. Netherlands - 1845
There seem to be a lot more have-nots milling about these days. For example, 1980 pts would get you 10th just last year; good enough for 7th right now. Just a mathematical oddity that stuck out to me, this year is a real outlier historically in that sense. If Argentina runs the table again next year they should take over the #1 spot from Ireland, while Sri Lanka continues to jockey with the United States for the third position. Sweden is worth watching as well; this will probably be the best year for the Hakanson/Kjaerstad combo in terms of peak playing performance.
Next year, we are in Group 2 which of course is the group of death. Grrr. Everybody is Top 10 or better. USA (3rd), Sri Lanka (4th), Italy (7th), Netherlands (10th). Fortunately the last two at least are not what they once were; Angloma, Haas, and de Jong are all in decline. So we should be able to get through it again and battle with the Americans for the top spot in the group.
Coming Up …
The results of the Anil Cup and our regularly-scheduled end-of-year spam. We'll have lots of new faces to talk about at the top of the sport, and some more ratings and dubious predictions to present.
Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-23-2019 at 12:30 AM.
|09-23-2019, 05:18 AM||#1202|
Join Date: May 2006
The punch line for the Anil Cup is clear: THE NEXT-GENS ARE COMING!! Fear them I say. Ignore them at your own peril.
I'm looking forward to the next few years on the tour.
|09-23-2019, 06:50 PM||#1203|
Join Date: May 2006
Fourth Annual Club Championship
With the expanded draw, there were byes for all but a smattering of first-round matchups. Also, some weak-minded Anilophiles didn't show up. Most did as usual though.
On the doubles side, top seeds Hughes/Hart stormed through to an easy win as one might expect, beating Hakanson/Moniotte in the final. 2-seeds Pargeter/Narciso lost in the semis to the runners-up, while Guha/Chiba were seeded third. I was curious how they'd fare against a top duo - 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 against the Irish. They're gradually getting more competitive. Kayeeda/Intodia were the final seed, but they lost early on in a tough 5-set match. Kasaravalli/Chittoor went out quickly to nobody's surprise.
On the singles side, we learned that Christy's young guns are ready to move up quickly. Sushant Chiba was knocked out in straight sets by Kayeeda, while Intodia did the same to Helmut Edlund. One other seed was beaten at the first hurdle, when (6) Tommy Fitzpatrick fell once again to Chittoor, 7-6(5), 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-2. Nasir has now won both of their 'official' encounters, beating Fitz here two years ago … but in their practice matches he's generally gotten his brains beat in. This string of fortune won't last forever, but I'll take it. Moniotte eliminated him next time out in a four-set match that he was lucky to stretch that far. Meanwhile, Rakesh Kayeeda lost to Hakanson in three but made a match of it, while Ritwik Intodia led 2-seed Kasaravalli before ultimately falling in a 5th-set tiebreaker. That was far too close for comfort, the little whelp needs to learn to mind his place for a while longer.
Perez flattened Clavet Moniotte in the semis as you'd expect, while Algot Hakanson had close loss against Amrik Kasaravalli again, his fourth success in their last five meetings. The only exception was the indoor WTC encounter this year. 4-6, 6-4, 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-1 … last set the Swede fell off but Amrik clearly could have lost this one, having to rally for the second straight round. Nicolas Perez defends his title from last year, permitting one set to fall before winning the final in four. If I have my history right this time - the club records only go back three years - that makes two for him and two for Hart in the club championship rolls.
|09-23-2019, 07:55 PM||#1204|
Join Date: May 2006
2068 Final Rankings
1. Nicolas Perez (26, ARG) - 12,550
Not since shortly after taking the top spot almost two years ago has Perez's perch been in such jeopardy as it is right now. For the moment he's still #1 though, and if he managed to snap out of his slump over the off-season it's not hard to imagine him putting some distance between himself and the field once more.
2. Harald Wentz (25, AUT) - 11,300
Wentz finished '68 on a tear, claiming among other things his first Tour Finals and first Slam at the USO. With those successes he's knocking on door of becoming the top tennis player in the world ... if he can keep it going. We've thought him a threat before only to see his performance fall off. Time will tell if he's learned from that, or is merely repeating it.
3. Tobias Velilla (24, ARG) - 8,780
I still don't think Tobias is quite good enough to do what he did last season. He won the Australian, then didn't make the last eight of any of the first five Masters, only to reach the final at Wimbledon and the WTF. More consistent towards the end of the year, he still seems to have overachieved. I predicted he'd move up a couple spots (from 9th) and make the field at the tour finals ... not be a threat to win that kind of event. It'll be curious to see if he can stay at his current level. Esp. if N. Perez starts the year with a vengeance, I expect he'll find it difficult.
4. Calisto Aviles (25, ESP) - 6,820
If Velilla falters, the steadily-improving Spaniard is well-positioned to move up. Aviles has done well esp. the past couple of years, but it's going to get a lot harder to keep adding more points now.
5. Chisulo Mpakati (25, ZIM) - 5,770
Mpakati was headed the other direction in '68. Two years ago he made three Slam semis and was noted for his consistency; last year it was only one though he did reach that stage at four Masters. With a career 0-4 record in finals at the big events, he seems just a step behind the other contenders.
6. Il-Sung Jung (26, KOR) - 5,055
Jung added a second Masters Shield in Miami last year, and continues to be a wild-card. He can threaten almost anyone or be a complete no-show.
7. Lucas Perez (26, ARG) - 4,860
Time for me to eat a bit of crow. I called out Lucas for his lack of improvement, saying he was 'just treading water' and that 'there's no good reason for him not to have improved more'. I still think that was true at the time, but something lit a fire under him to move up from 12th, past multiple players better than him in theory.
8. Ollie Haas (26, NLD) - 4,380
Continuing to slowly slip with the advance of time.
9. Tim de Jong (27, NLD) - 3,675
Finished stronger than he had any right to, ensuring he'd remain in the Top 10 a while longer.
10. Odimos Csollang (22, ROU) - 3,315
Our initial first-page appearance of the next generation that will eventually depose Perez from his perch. I don't know if it'll be Csollang that does it, but his meteoric talents have been the first to arrive on the scene with an early semi showing in Miami, then two more late in the year at the USO and Paris.
Usually when I talk about players who were in Challengers the year before, they're in the mid-20s the next season on the way up. Not in the freaking Top 10. That kind of rise deserves attention to be paid.
11. Amrik Kasaravalli (27, SRI)
Less than a hundred points behind the Romanian, Amrik sits having overachieved a bit last year - I pegged him as 'low teens' and he spent a single week at 10th. It'd be cool to get him back up there, but it won't be easy.
12. Clavet Moniotte (27, FRA)
France's top player is another one to briefly reach #10, but he's a few months older and less likely IMO to get back there.
13. Barry Molyneaux (30, USA)
I'm simultaneously impressed and annoyed by Barry's refusal to JUST GO AWAY.
14. Fabio Cagide (23, ESP)
Spain's improving #2 was 25th last year, so he's definitely headed in the right direction at a good clip. Had some growing pains, but also some strong moments, both at unexpected times.
16. Ross Vicars (22, USA)
Up from 29th and just recently making to the next tier in his advancement. A future terror in the American hardcourt events.
17. Algot Hakanson (27, SWE)
So close, and yet so far. Hakanson still has a shot to stick at 16th or better but time is ticking away.
19. Acke Kjaerstad (25, SWE)
Inching upwards from 23rd a year ago.
21. Sushant Chiba (32, SRI)
He's milked about all he can from that unexpected SF run at the AO last year. I expect this year's event to be his final singles Slam. Doubles ranking is up to 63rd.
23. Pedro Perez (26, ARG)
Another newcomer, showing up at the elite scene just in time to say hello. He's old enough that I doubt they'll be time for much else.
25. Peter de Boer (23, CRO)
And thus begins the procession of even more newcomers.
26. Mark Smith (21, GBR)
27. Tommy Fitzpatrick (22, IRE)
28. Joao Narciso (24, BRA)
Back again for another bite at the apple.
29. Jaak Christ (24, USA)
There's always more Americans.
30. Helmut Edlund (24, SWE)
31. Nasir Chittoor (22, SRI)
32. John Hart (31, IRE)
Bye-bye John. But yeah that's a scary group of upcoming talent ahead of you. Nine players promoted from the challenger ranks who are at least arguably still improving ... only P. Perez is even close to peak among that group. That's nearly a third of the elite Top 32. And that's not counting Cagide and Vicars, strong young guns who were already there.
As I said, the next-gens are coming!
39. Willy Weigl (24, AUT)
Had a taste of the promised land, and then was kicked out ... but he'll be back.
49. Shakti Vemireddy (22, SRI)
I often forget about Vemireddy since he isn't in the club. Still pushing up, was almost 30 spots further down last year, and into the elite challenger group. .
65. Rakesh Kayeeda (22, SRI)
We just learned not to sleep on these guys. A trio of CH1 titles in the last few months demonstrate Kayeeda's readiness.
93. Ritwik Intodia (22, SRI)
Taking a bit longer and isn't consistently winning at the challenger level yet. Part of that though is a lot of the players who just got out of the way have cleared space for him - if they stay out of the way.
124. Lubos Rucklov (20, CZE)
Got one challenger win last year, and should keep pushing up.
132. Chiang-hui Cheng (20, TPE)
Pretty much the same story here.
149. Mike Corey (19, USA)
A recent addition to the challenger scene, Corey has a trio of SF showings early.
153. Rene Dechesnay (25, MAL)
A smattering of results here, mostly doing a lot better in doubles than singles.
176. Satyagit Guha (22, SRI)
I'm not really sure where the singles career goes for Guha from here. Now that he's going to be playing the big events in doubles (currently 51st), I'm just going to sort of take that as it comes.
21(J). Aleksije Konstantinovic (17, CRO)
One of the oldest juniors this year, we'll see if AK-47letters can translate that into big success. Last year he didn't win any event bigger than a JG4, so it'll be a big jump up here.
55(J). Joseph Charriol (17, MAL)
Also the annual tradition of establishing yourself at a higher tier here. Had one JG3 win.
107(J). Kjell Falkeving (15, SWE)
Two late JG4 wins after maxing out or close to it on JG5s. Falkeving appears to have read the book on how to train a junior and didn't forget any of the important parts.
127(J). Eduardo Yroz (15, CHI)
Tried a JG3 late in the year and reached the semis ... in the new season with the graduations he should succeed at that level.
142(J). Raul Almaraz (17, PRT)
Needs to stay away from the big events, but got a couple of JG4 wins. Final year for him down here.
194(J). Ambroz Kozubek (15, CZE)
Kozubek will be an almost max-age junior in a couple of years. For now he has a few JG5 titles under his belt but likewise needs to stay away from the larger enticements.
256(J). Anant Koppula (16, IND)
On the other end of a scale as a very young junior ... he's actually only five weeks older than Kozubek. Just got his first JG4 win, and I expect more this year.
286(J). Sebastien Bisteri (16, ESP)
Tried a couple of premature JG4s recently ... three JG5 finals but hasn't actually won one yet.
304(J). Josh Frobisher (14, GBR)
Sticking with the JG5 plan, Frobisher has a couple of wins but hasn't gotten deep in them consistently yet. It's a new year for him, and he's got lots of time.
811(J). Anikitos Khadjikyriakos (14, CYP)
Last two events he made the semis and quarters, so he's starting to get some momentum going. Doubles showings improving as well.
921(J). Thanasis Theodopoulos (15, CYP)
A mix of events ... Theodopoulos is trying to move up prematurely and would be better served to stay at JG5 until he wins a few. That should come soon I'd imagine.
1283(J). Lucas Dufourcq (14, FRA)
A new face here. Dufourcq has an elite mental game, very good if not world-class endurance (3.7), plenty of talent, and athleticism is a little above-average. Picking up somebody this good and young off the free-agent market is the sign of a manager who is paying attention to detail. Even has a very low (96%) aging factor. I hope to see the development of Lucas continue - right now he's going through the growing pains of establishing himself in JG5s. I can see him potentially being a future Top 10 player.
Overall, a lot more of you are working on your players which means more work for me. Keep Up The Good Work! We've got a few upcoming juniors worth watching for a long time, and the future of the Anilophiles after my days are done is looking up.
Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-23-2019 at 07:56 PM.
|09-24-2019, 04:22 AM||#1205|
Join Date: May 2006
1. Nicolas Perez - 91%, 8.68 (-0.04)
Theoretically, Nicolas should basically be at peak and not declining just yet. Either this small dip is in the 'rounding margin', or perhaps it is merely a case of him having had such high technique that training can't keep up with it. I've never had anyone with the levels he's reached, so he may be just beginning the decline phase a bit sooner than I anticipated. Even if so, it should be very slow for at least this year.
2. Harald Wentz - 92%, 8.64 (+0.01)
My that's close between these two. Wentz is younger but aging faster, and has gone all-in on the serve (4.5) to detriment of skill (4.8). Also, management is using two different trainers on him (4.7 and 5.0) because ?? Despite all the weirdness, the numbers say a really close battle might be had for the #1 this year. I still favor Perez though. I think he's just had a bad couple of months.
3. Tobias Velilla - 94%, 8.56 (+0.13)
Good improvements continue for Velilla, with the same management, approach, and massive serve as Wentz. What he doesn't have is the same athleticism, but he's mostly made up for that now. Maybe I was premature in calling for his decline ... maybe not. It's real close at the top.
4. Calisto Aviles - 93%, 8.63 (+0.08)
Wow. Yet another high-serve, relatively low-skill contender pressing in. Aviles is right there knocking on the door as well.
5. Chisulo Mpakati - 92%, 8.62 (+0.02)
I still see no good reason for Mpakati not to be back in the thick of things. Just needs to stop being a tool.
6. Il-Sung Jung - 92%, 8.81 (+0.10)
I did the math twice here. Guess who's back to being on-paper best player in the world ... and won't play like it because he thinks doubles are cool.
7. Lucas Perez - 91%, 8.39 (+0.05)
This supports the idea that Lucas just got hot at times this year. He doesn't belong with the others. A fine player, but has no business doing more than staying where he is at best.
8. Ollie Haas - 89%, 8.38 (-0.08)
Now we're seeing clear evidence that he's on his way out.
9. Tim de Jong - 87%, 8.35 (-0.04)
Doing an impressive job of trying to hang around.
10. Odimos Csollang - 97%, 8.58 (??)
Our first real look at the Romanian Ravager. Serve is getting close, baseline game isn't there yet, but he's got elite athleticism esp. in terms of mobility and absolutely top-shelf mentality. Almost a contender already. Csollang is scary. He's a max-aging guy so his career will be cut short ... but he could be a force of nature for a while. For this year, he seems a clear bet to move up to 7th or 8th at least and join the Tour Finals group.
Top Ten Analysis
Before I look at the previous-year comparisons, it's scary how close 1-6 + 10 are ... particularly when you throw in Jung's dysfunction. Through sheer inertia and being that little bit better, Perez and Wentz should stay at the top given their points advantadge. There could be some real wars in the second week of Slams coming up this season though. A lot of it could be stuff outside of the manager's control - simply who is playing better at the time. .
'65 Avg - 8.573
'66 - 8.532
'67 - 8.526
'68 - 8.539
'69 - 8.564 (+0.025)
I don't think we've reached the overall pinnacle of this generation yet. Only de Jong and Haas are clearly in decline, and they're likely to be replaced soon by younger players who are at least as good. And overall it's still the strongest group since the first year I tracked this four seasons ago ... and fast-approaching that level as it is. In other words, hang onto your hats - this could get real.
One thing is for sure; it is without question the greatest collection of big-serving players - and conversely the weakest group in terms of baseline play for players of this caliber - that I've ever seen.
11. Amrik Kasaravalli - 92%, 8.51 (+0.13)
Amrik has made the traditional elite mark of 5.0 skill but the serve still lags a bit. Might be able to squeeze a bit more out of him this next year, but if so it'll definitely be his final season of improving. Even so, only the Dutch players appear as possible marks for him to pass, and the younger ones are coming up too strong and quickly for that to matter much even if it happens. Kasaravalli will keep fighting of course, but I don't see him making the tour finals even at this point. There's just too much depth in this era.
12. Clavet Moniotte - 89%, 8.39 (-0.03)
Just barely on the downside of his career now. Moniotte is still the best in France hands down, but starting to slip.
14. Fabio Cagide - 96%, 8.48 (+0.15)
Cagide's ready to make his play for breaking into the Top 10 soon. A packed fight to be sure.
16. Ross Vicars - 99%, 8.43 (+0.16)
Tracking right with Csollang and Cagide, except younger and not quite as good. Could still turn out to be the best of the three in the long run.
17. Algot Hakanson - 90%, 8.33 (+0.06)
Still edged up a decent amount last year, but I have to think he's about done growing now, or close if he isn't. Probably hangs out in the teens for another year or two.
19. Acke Kjaerstad - 93%, 8.59 (+0.13)
There's no excuse for Kjaerstad to not have moved up more by now. He's got the abilities of a solid Top-10 player, but just hasn't won quite enough to make that push. The idea of an 8.6 player sitting down this far would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
21. Sushant Chiba - 77%, 8.03 (-0.26)
While I gasp at that number, I must also note that his doubles training has less than a third to go.
23. Pedro Perez - 91%, 8.10 (??)
And now we get into the new faces. Perez #3 here is somewhat short on technique, but fast with above-average power. Good enough to get here, but not good enough to be a real factor in these hyper-competitive times. He wasted some time, though not a huge amount, on doubles.
25. Peter de Boer - 96%, 8.34 (??)
de Boer the Greater possesses a massive serve and nearly untiring endurance (peaked at 4.9 I think). Not particularly special athletically but not embarassing either. Baseline play still needs to improve some. He's going to be a factor, but not a contender I don't think.
26. Mark Smith - 99%, 8.21 (+0.34)
The youngest player at this level, Smith has the serve but not yet the ground strokes. His power and grass proficiency are still the most notable aspects of his game along with the youth.
27. Tommy Fitzpatrick - 98%, 8.29 (+0.29)
Fitzpatrick is the most technically-ready of the upcoming Anilophiles, and appears well-prepped to begin the upward grind against the best players in the world. A couple years from now he's in the Top 10 I'd say, but for the moment all must bide their time and fight for whatever they can get.
28. Joao Narciso - 95%, 8.13 (+0.08)
Narciso is among those who may find it a bit harder to stop the constant merry-go-round. We may have jettisoned enough dead weight up here - with Hart, Chiba, Balzer, etc. soon to go as well - to give him an easier time sticking now though. And still pushing upwards.
29. Jaak Christ - 96%, 8.04 (??)
Christ is a hard-working player who has rampaging SIS (Serve Infatuation Syndrome) like so many others. He's slow, and can't play off the crowd like Vicars can, so it will only carry him so far. I imagine he peaks in the 15-20 range.
30. Helmut Edlund - 95%, 8.11 (+0.06)
The inexorable mathematics off life often mean that a big boost will be followed by a slower one the next year, and that's what happened to our Swedish friend here. He's very much in the same spot as Narciso, fighting to stay up is his future. I've been surprised that he's managed it this long, and he just might succeed ... or not.
31. Nasir Chittoor - 99%, 8.29 (+0.39)
Right there with de Boer, Smith, and Fitzpatrick, Nasir is closing in on being ready technique-wise. Next week is his final challenger, and then he'll be forced to toss those training wheels aside - hopefully for good.
32. John Hart - 82%, 8.27 (-0.26)
Down from #3. But he's still good enough to compete up here if he wanted to. Well over 80% trained in doubles, and 5th in the world in that discipline - that's where his mind is and should be at.
39. Willy Weigl - 96%, 8.03 (+0.10)
Our current 'odd man out' hopes to work his way back up to elite status, but continues to lag just a bit behind in his technical training. Particularly it's the baseline area that just doesn't seem quite up to snuff yet.
49. Shakti Vemireddy - 99%, 8.29 (+0.38)
Vemireddy is ... well, he's very ready (har har har), making up in athleticism what he lacks in all- court proficiency. Most of the problem is that he's trying to write checks his performance can't cash, playing all the big events and then mostly 250s. All of which results in just one Challenger title last year. That won't get it done sir. Earn your spurs first ... or continue to face the possibility of floundering.
65. Rakesh Kayeeda - 99%, 8.00 (+0.34)
Kayeeda was outside the Top 200 at this point a year ago. He uh, seems to be finding his way quite well these days after that hiccup.
93. Ritwik Intodia - 99%, 8.15 (+0.30)
Intodia has cut a more consistent, gradual rise through the rankings but remains the slightly superior player.
124. Lubos Rucklov - 101%, 7.88 (+0.48)
Continuing to unleash the full force of his most-impressive athleticism on the Challenger ranks, Rucklov should do so with increasingly effect this year.
132. Chiang-hui Cheng - 99%, 7.50 (+0.71)
That's ... a big number. Cheng wasn't at his physical peak yet last year, but now he is. To the detriment of the competition at this level.
149. Mike Corey - 100%, 7.07 (+0.73)
Another youngster grasping full possession of his physical gifts, Corey is interestingly focusing even a bit more on skill compared to service than I would. Not a bad idea necessarily, but quite an unusual one. Ranked 900th a year ago, you certainly have to say what he's doing is working right now - Mike is still a teenager.
153. Rene Dechesnay - 93%, 7.31 (??)
Didn't have numbers for him last year (hired mid-season), but the journeyman Dechesnay does seem to be wisely boosting his flagging serve from what I remember. That should continue to pay dividends.
176. Satyagit Guha - 99%, 7.16 (+0.34)
Just feeling those initial, subtlest effects of age an now fully focused on shotmaking techniques for the first time - having recently finished on doubles work.
21(J). Aleksije Konstantinovic - 87%, 4.64 (??)
Most of the juniors are new to their managers in the past year, so we're getting initial numbers on them that'll basically just serve as reference points in the event they stick around.
55(J). Joseph Charriol - 89%, 4.28 (+1.07)
Charriol though is an exception; he's been around a bit longer.
107(J). Kjell Falkeving - 67%, 3.18 (??)
127(J). Eduardo Yroz - 82%, 3.43 (+1.47)
142(J). Raul Almaraz - 88%, 3.64 (+1.09)
194(J). Ambroz Kozubek - 79%, 3.06 (??)
256(J). Anant Koppula - 76%, 3.23 (??)
286(J). Sebastien Bisteri - 76%, 3.01 (??)
304(J). Josh Frobisher - 60%, 2.35 (??)
811(J). Anikitos Khadjikyriakos - 69%, 2.11 (??)
921(J). Thanasis Theodopoulos - 69%, 2.41 (??)
1283(J). Lucas Dufourcq - 59%, 1.97 (??)
|09-26-2019, 03:58 AM||#1206|
Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup, Group Play Round 1
Sri Lanka vs. United States, Indoors
The matchup between #4 and #3 in the world rankings got off to a rough start for us. A back-and-forth encounter between veterans Barry Molyneaux and Sushant Chiba went in favor of the opposition, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-5. Every chance for Chiba to win it in those last two sets. Kasaravalli evened it up with a four-set win over Vicars, and then doubles happened. . Pargeter/Geng rallied from a 2-0 set deficit, including a third-set breaker and close sets in the fourth and fifth, to put the US back on top. Again Amrik Kasaravalli was able to equalize, another four-set win over Molyneaux. But when Ross Vicars dismissed Chiba in straight-sets on Friday, we lost a heartbreaking 3-2 decision. In a tie we could easily have won 4-1 and should have taken 3-2 at a minimum, we lost.
The margin for error is now over. We need to beat Italy and the Netherlands, and I'm not certain we will manage to second task. Probably we get out of this group, but it's now an open question.
The next week, it was time for the warmup events. In Brisbane, Kasaravalli needed three sets to get by a qualifier early on but eventually reached the SF round … where Calisto Aviles was a bridge too far, competitive but clear two-set defeat. Chiba entered as well but was upset by German Claud Rothsberg in the second round, 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-5. At least he got some good mileage out of losing to a player not in the Top 50. Satyagit Guha was off to Noumea CH1, where he unsurprisingly lost in the first round of singles but made the SF in doubles, so it was at least a decent week for matches. Impressively, Lubas Rucklov knocked out the player there I wanted to avoid, Russian Ivan Hudobin, in the second round! Rucklov would go on to make the final. And Nasir Chittoor played in Sao Paolo CH1. The one serious customer there was in the semifinals, Pieter de Boer. Chittoor was fortunate to escape a match that should have been a close loss, 6-4, 7-5, by winning all five of his break chances. He claims what I hope will be his final challenger win.
Coming Up …
The next week, which we're currently in, is just practice for my players. All will be entering the Australian Open as we start to see who got the job done in off-season training and who went through the motions.
|09-26-2019, 04:18 AM||#1207|
Join Date: May 2006
Elite (Top 32)
With graduation from the Challenger level, it is now winning time. Chittoor (and others) have now reached the level of the 1%ers. Literally; this group comprises almost exactly that amount of all ranked players. I can't do a proper comparison at this level to previous proteges, because there is no clearly delineated way to separate such as 'win futures until you reach the Top 200' etc.
The whole way of scheduling and competing must change now. Nasir is now eligible to be seeded in all Slam events as well as the big Masters in Indian Wells and Miami. Additionally, finishing the year 30th or higher means he is required to play all Masters events except Monte Carlo … and they'll count as being missed even if he doesn't. Which is a bad thing to have an empty event, esp. since it means getting banned from your best Masters event the following year. In Nasir's case, he finished 31st last year so he doesn't have to worry about that just yet.
What he does have to worry about is now being part of the Consolidation Corps. If you assume that he just makes it as far into the draw as his ranking would predict, the only events that he can reliably replace the points from one of his challenger wins at - and he's currently got a whopping 16 of them comprising nearly 96% of his points total - are the Slams. There he'll get 90 points for three matches if he doesn't lose early, while that took five matches in a challenger last year. Everywhere else though, he's got to perpetrate an upset of some kind to get equivalent value to the tournaments he's defending. If he can't do that with a reasonable level of frequency, it's right back on that Challenger Carousel. Some will stay up; some will not. I expect Chittoor to succeed, but if so he needs to seize some opportunities, find some 250s with relatively weak fields and make at least the semifinals there if not further, etc. For the next few months he's not defending much at all … but after that there will be a calamitous exodus of points and it's never trivial to prepare for that.
Assuming he gets over that hurdle, the next stage is to reach World-Class status, i.e. halve his ranking and get into the Top 16. From here on out, every such 'promotion' involves getting into a select group half the size of the current one. That doesn't sound too bad; futures is a third of amateurs, challengers a fifth of futures, etc. This is only half … but a significant part of that half is the best players in the world at the peak of their abilities. Here, most crucially, the only way to make significant upward progress is to beat those players ahead of him. The run-around in challengers to avoid the best competition to get ahead in the rankings game is of limited use now, and soon will be of none at all. It's time to plunge directly into the swift current of the established powers - he'll make his way through them, or flounder in the attempt.
|09-26-2019, 03:52 PM||#1208|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Perez could be interesting to see if he can keep up this level. He is in danger of hitting his skill cap. He should get to 120 in the next few weeks, I am not sure what the lowest it can hit at is.
Certainly reaching the high xp numbers needed to improve is taking longer and longer (though I have at about 8.67- granted I can't login on my laptop for some reason so might be slightly off on the physicals). So largely static on the year.
Things could south quickly if he hits that skill cap though.
|09-27-2019, 10:41 PM||#1209|
Join Date: May 2006
I'm not entirely sure what you are referring to with 'skill cap', but in absolute terms there practically isn't one. The technical limit is 200 which nobody's ever going to reach. I think Mehul was 145-155 when he went trainer.
|09-28-2019, 07:53 AM||#1210|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Don't think I have had anyone past 122 or so. Good to know.
|09-29-2019, 04:05 AM||#1211|
Join Date: May 2006
2069 Australian Open
Doubles … did not go well for me. Guha/Chiba met up with 9th-seeds Solheim/Aas and got their butts kicked fairly severely. They'd eventually play 2-seeds Hughes/Hart tough in the third round, before the Irish lost in the quarterfinals. There were some new pairings about, and one of them, (4) Nives/Godinic, wound up carting off the trophy. Prince Karl didn't do so well, not having a regular partner right now, and suffered the insult of a first-round exit to qualifiers. So there's a bit of a shakeup going on in the doubles ranks.
On the singles side, Satyagit Guha qualified in a Slam for the first time, then won a fairly favorable first-round matchup in four before getting his appointed smacking by Mpakati … who was charitable enough to allow a couple games in the final set to avoid the dreaded triple-bagel. Elsewhere, Kjaerstad was pushing to five in the first round, and (21) Pedro Perez was the surprise upset victim of Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) … no relation to the real-life player, I'm told … 9-7 in the 5th. Edlund was almost another upset victim, pushed to 8-6 by a Bolivian player whose name I'd never previously laid eyes on. But in the end it was only Perez the Third who failed to advance.
In the second round some of the geezers stepped aside. Sushant Chiba was beaten by a Swiss Karl-Heinz Edelman (who?) in straight sets. Balzer suffered a similar fate, but at least he played someone, losing in four to one of the de Boers. Narciso was pushed to five by Licona but survived, while (20) Emilien Mathou was swept out by countryman Clavet Belgraver. And then came the third round, when stuff started happening as all manner of newly seeded players came up against quality competiton.
Pretty safe to say I had the match of the round, as Chittoor took down Srba Dogic in a match I did not expect to win. On hardcourt Dogic had a modest but safe advantage IMO, but a topsy-turvy epic ensued which Nasir came out on the winning side of 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3, 2-6, 13-11! And actually, he should have won it sooner but wasn't particularly opportunistic on this day. A surprisingly strong performance and this match went almost 400 points. Going in, I thought (24) Tommy Fitzpatrick had a better look at advancing against Molyneaux, but after splitting a pair of tiebreaks the veteran American eventually pulled through, also in five sets. He shouldn't have though - Fitz outplayed the older player and it was only Barry's legendary mental game (4.7) that allowed him to steal the victory here. Tough loss for Tommy. Then came the biggest surprise IMO, with the previously consistent 4th-ranked Calisto Aviles losing, again in five, to de Boer the Greater. I did not see that one coming. de Boer the Lesser nearly pulled off a similar feat, going down 7-5 in five sets to de Jong.
That was only the top half of the draw for the third round! The bottom wasn't quite as wild, but there was still some action worth mentioning. A couple of all-Anilophile matchups with Helmut Edlund meeting his end in three close sets to Moniotte, while Joao Narciso played Kasaravalli to a tough four. Smith got the upset he was looking for in four sets against (8) Ollie Haas, while (17) Algot Hakanson could do no more than winning one frame against Csollang.
(26) Nasir Chittoor's prize for reaching the fourth round was Perez himself, and that went the minimal three sets. Nasir won nine points against the serve of the world no. 1. They'll meet again, but he was overmatched here for sure and did well to get this far. de Boer the Greater was outlasted by Vicars in a five-set affair, while an initially stunning upset of Il-Sung Jung by Kasaravalli in straight sets was explained by the fact that the Korean was quite tired by this point. Clavet Moniotte was dismissed in three by Velilla, and similarly for Mark Smith against Csollang.
Three double-digit seeds in a mixed group in the quarterfinals to start off the second week. First up, Chisulo Mpakati showed he's sick of being Perez's pigeon, taking the first two sets in tiebreaks and forcing a third … which he lost 13-11 before falling in a devastating comeback. It's the 13th straight win in the series and 16th out of 17 overall for Perez, but Mpakati should have prevailed this time. He had the chance, and just couldn't finish. (16) Ross Vicars was knocked out in four by L. Perez, Wentz continued to cruise along by smacking Amrik Kasaravalli silly, and Odimos Csollang came within a whisker of knocking out the defending champion, 8-6 in the 5th for that one. He's an increasing threat, but was stopped this time.
Three of the last four then were from Argentina, in addition to the red-hot Harald Wentz. He got his first challenge from Tobias Velilla, but there would be no repeat here as the Austrian won in a tough four sets. Pushed once again to five sets in a three-tiebreak match that he could well have lost, Perez advanced again versus Lucas Perez. Nicolas 'The Real Perez' Perez had a very even start against Wentz, but gained the upper hand later in the championship match to win in four. His third AO title and 8th Slam overall, and this one wasn't a demonstration of pure skill but of grit, determination, and will. He had every reason to fold the previous couple of rounds but didn't, and as a result the greatest challenge to his reign at the top has been quieted for the moment.
Lower down in the rankings things keep churning, churning, churning. Kasaravalli reaching the quarters is a good event for him, and Chittoor gets more security with the fourth-round finish and upset of Dogic, so other than doubles it was a strong event for my players.
Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-29-2019 at 04:07 AM.
|09-30-2019, 01:09 PM||#1212|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Definitely a bit of luck involved in that run. Could have easily ended in the quarter finals at which point Perez's lead at the top becomes wafer thin. As is he joins some of the best on the page of most slam wins.
|10-03-2019, 10:43 AM||#1214|
Join Date: May 2006
The luck was not with the Sri Lanka contingent during the first extended break of the year. Win some, lose some … and it was mostly the latter for us here.
World Team Cup, Group Play Round Two
Sri Lanka vs. The Netherlands, Grass
For the second matchup in a row, we had an opponent on their preferred surface, a minor surface that isn't often selected. Amrik Kasaravalli beat de Jong in straight sets to get things started properly. And then we get to my brain fart. I knew Chiba was going to drop like a rock after the AO … but somehow it didn't occur to me that meant Nasir Chittoor would get the nod as our second singles player. That's a good thing for his development and he's the better player at this point, but I wasn't ready for it so he didn't gain as much xp from it as he could have. He started by getting beaten in straight sets by Haas, grass-court proficient. We bounced back as Guha/Chiba easily won in doubles, but that was the last of the good news. Ollie Haas won again over Kasaravalli in straights, and then the closest rubber of the week went to Tim de Jong over Chittoor, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. Fortunate it wasn't worse really.
The Netherlands defeat Sri Lanka 3-2, meaning that no matter what happens in the next round against Italy, we're out at the group stage. Not good for Chittoor's development, and embarrassing waste of what is probably Kasaravalli's best season. Combination of being in the group of death and then facing the two tough opponents on the worst possible surface for each … and we STILL should have survived it because if either of the five-set ties against Russia in the first round had gone our way, we'd be fine. Reminds me of many moons ago when we couldn't buy a tie against Benda's Germans or Hammerstein's Austrians that wasn't on clay, when we'd be favorites on any surface but that.
Yeah, I'm a little salty about this.
Kasaravalli's lone event after that was at the Rio Open (500). His matches against Calisto Aviles have been close recently, though he'd lost three of four. Here, the Spaniard prevailed 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 in a dead-bang-even SF match. Both players had five BPs; Aviles won two and Kasaravalli won zero. It happens, but it felt like adding insult to injury. Chittoor had two events, both clay 250s. In the first, I figured him to run into Rhodes in the semis. Nope, it was countryman Shakti Vemireddy, who'd knocked out the aging vet in the previous round. That sent up a pick-em match, with the winner getting a very nice result (Velilla awaited, so neither of us was winning this event). The scoreline? Vemireddy, 6-4, 7-6(5). It was close, but he deserved the victory. That was the Argentina Open, and Nasir sallied forth a couple weeks later in the Brasil Open. Again he reached the semis, this time with little hope of going further. He was competitive but inferior against Fabio Cagide. Would have been really nice to get to that final, but a couple of 250 semis is enough to replace a couple of his challenger wins from last year. Doesn't get him further ahead, but keeps him from regressing.
Sushant Chiba had a date at CH2 Bergamo. My how things have changed. An irrelevant QF loser to a rising Italian player, he easily cruised to the doubles title with Satyagit Guha. That, plus getting Guha more matches, is what we came for. I wasn't super-thrilled with the later player getting dumped in the second round, but it was an indoor event so I wasn't shocked either.
Coming Up …
The IW/Miami double closes the book on the first hardcourt swing. First Masters for a number of players including Chittoor - I've seen a number of Anilophiles who just made it to elite doing good things since Australia. Next ranking supplement should have some good news to report. All the big events are important for all of my players these days, giving me a little more skin in the game so to speak. At the top, both Perez and Wentz faltered at one of these events last year, so one of them could step forward and shift the balance of power … or someone else could step into the gap. Was Mpakati's AO a one-off, or a sign of things to come? Aviles bouncing back from a slow start to the year? Velilla and Jung always wildcards these days …
Lots of possibilities.
|10-07-2019, 10:05 PM||#1215|
Join Date: May 2006
Guha/Chiba had a pair of close calls in doubles, winning in a first-round super TB then losing in a second try at it 14-12. Hughes/Hart did a little better, taking a 10-7 TB in a semifinal win over the former #1s from Mexico, then beating top seeds Nives/Godinic to claim the IW doubles crown. With Godinic and Kaspar splitting up the Irish may well now be the top pairing in the world.
#1 Nicolas Perez and #2 Harald Wentz both made it to the semifinals; both were stopped there short of the goal though, while their conquerors duked it out for the hardware. That was local fave Ross Vicars, who defeated Tobias Velilla 6-4, 6-4 to grab his first Masters. I thought it would be another year before Vicars got a big trophy and started showing what a terror he's capable of being on the American hardcourts, but he decided to get started a little early here. One of his victims was hard-luck Chisulo Mpakati in a three-tiebreak quarterfinal. (25) Peter de Boer was another candidate for tournament surprise, pushing Velilla to three sets in the final eight after eliminating Jung the previous round. Lucas Perez and Ollie Haas were also predicted losers at that juncture.
4th-ranked Calisto Aviles was a fourth-round loser to Vicars who really tore a path through the top players here. Algot Hakanson also made it the round of 16 (l. Mpakati). In the third round, we said goodbye to Mark Smith (l. L. Perez in three) and Clavet Moniotte who was beaten by rising Russian (30) Ivan Hudobin in another close three-set match. Neither have anything to be ashamed of there. I was thoroughly disgusted throughout the fortnight, and Amrik Kasaravalli managing just five games against Kjaerstad was as good a reason as any. Sushant Chiba has nothing to be ashamed of though, pushing Haas to three sets despite being close to his 33rd birthday after eliminating fellow veteran Rhodes to get there. Tommy Fitzpatrick was yet another victim of Vicars and pushed him to three, and Helmut Edlund was rudely shoved aside by Aviles.
There were yet some who didn't get that far. Nasir Chittoor was upset by one of the more dangerous floaters, Hugo Licona, 6-2, 7-6(5) in the second round. That gives Nasir the dreaded 10-point Masters exit I was hoping to avoid, and frankly he got his butt kicked in a match that he was a slight favorite in. Not good. The upset bug bit Joao Narciso as well, but he has a much better excuse against American Charlie Newnham playing in front of a favorable crowd. We even had a sighting of Mike Corey as a wild-card, but he lost to a qualifier in the first round. Went the distance though.
|10-07-2019, 10:21 PM||#1216|
Join Date: May 2006
Hughes/Hart did it all over again, this time as top seeds … and this time nobody got close to them. Guha/Chiba got an up close and personal look at the new kings of doubles as they were double-bageled in the semifinals. Of course the big news for us was getting that far; a 6-3, 7-6(8) over 5th-seeded Arquilere/Gravier in the first round was the only major hurdle en route … but that stomping was ugly. Won only a third of the points on our own serve. There, uh, might be some work yet to do.
The singles action provided a marked change from IW in some ways. Nicolas Perez got back in the winner's circle, taking down Calisto Aviles who avoided any early stumbles - a rough start to the year for him but atoned here somewhat. 6-3, 7-6(2) was the count here in a clear win for Perez who now has 13 Masters; 2-3 more will get him on the all-time list. First semifinal victim was Velilla in a rematch of IW, but this time he went down in three sets against Perez. It was close once more though. Aviles knocked out Il-Sung Jung in a couple of tiebreaks; the Korean seems to like Miami, and won here last year, but came up a bit short this time.
Another QF loss for Chisulo Mpakati (l. N. Perez), Harald Wentz went out here (l. Jung), and a solid showing for Odimos Csollang who hasn't been quite as good as I expected (l. Aviles in three). Oh, and then there was the tournament surprise award to Mark Smith, competitively losing to Velilla after having eliminating L. Perez a couple rounds previous. Smith simply will not be ignored, and he's showing he'll be dangerous on more surfaces than just grass.
Algot Hakanson (l. Velilla) and Ross Vicars (l. Wentz in three to end his streak) were the only other Anilophiles to reach the round of 16. In the third, Joao Narciso (l. de Jong), Clavet Moniotte (l. de Boer the Lesser in three), Tommy Fitzpatrick (l. Wentz but credibly), Helmut Edlund (l. Aviles, again, this time in three), and Amrik Kasaravalli (l. Hudobin in three) were knocked out. Kasaravalli had even points, 88-88 in his match, against young Hudobin who made a big impression this month. But there are no moral victories for him at this stage. He lost a round early in both events.
So did Nasir Chittoor, who got a rematch with Shakti Vemireddy and again came up short, 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3. Very close, but Vemireddy deserved the win. That was another second-round defeat while seeded that Nasir couldn't afford. In the first I lost my other two players: Satyagit Guha qualified but lost to a second qualifier, while Sushant Chiba was edged out in three by Italian Siu-Chung Men.
Other than the doubles tandem, this was another crap event for my contingent. We need to pull our heads out of our posteriors and start winning more of these close matches.
|10-07-2019, 11:14 PM||#1217|
Join Date: May 2006
1. Nicolas Perez (26, ARG) - 13,780
Everything points to Perez remaining 'first among equalis' as he continues to chase down big trophies to build his legacy. Two out of three so far.
2. Harald Wentz (25, AUT) - 11,160
Looks like Wentz is settling in to being, at best, clear #2 again. He took his shot at the end of last year, but couldn't quite get to the summit.
3. Tobias Velilla (24, ARG) - 8,280
Tobias clearly has no intention of fading away with two semis and a runner-up in the early stages.
4. Calisto Aviles (25, ESP) - 6,560
Some stumbles early but after the final in Miami Aviles is heading in the right direction as we switch to his favored clay. As always, this period will define his season.
5. Chisulo Mpakati (25, ZIM) - 5,730
A couple of brutally close defeats now for Mpakati already. I would think he's got to be a frustrated player these days.
6. Lucas Perez (26, ARG) - 5,015
Consistent aside for Miami, he isn't breaking through yet but is another guy whose chance to do so is on the dirt.
7. Il-Sung Jung (26, KOR) - 4,325
Slipping a bit it seems.
8. Ollie Haas (27, NLD) - 4,275
9. Tim de Jong (28, NLD) - 3,950
Surprisingly solid start for de Jong, and both are still holding their ground well against the next generation.
10. Ross Vicars (22, USA) - 3,520
Just edging onto the first page this week. He's set to be a force in the summer for sure; not as certain how he'll do in the spring.
11. Odimos Csollang (22, ROU)
Sputtering a bit, but just behind Vicars and still dangerous.
12. Fabio Cagide (23, ESP)
Here they are, the big three or at least first three of the up-and-comers. Fabio's time is now after a somewhat disappointing clay run last year kept him from advancing faster.
13. Amrik Kasaravalli (26, SRI)
Down from 11th, but he hasn't slipped so much as others have gained. Still, it doesn't appear it's going to get any easier.
15. Clavet Moniotte (27, FRA)
The long, slow slide has begun.
16. Algot Hakanson (27, SWE)
Hakanson has done just enough to get into the Top 16, and he may stay there a bit esp. if he can get by Molyneaux (14th).
17. Acke Kjaerstad (26, SWE)
Up a couple spots and looking fairly dangerous despite limited hardcourt abilities. Could be headed for a strong year and into the lower teens.
18. Constantino Gonzoles (28, ARG)
It must be mentioned that he's back up near his career-best despite being well past his prime. Looks like it's just a reminder of what could have been had he been more fortunate at points earlier.
20. Mark Smith (22, GBR)
Outstanding showing in the recent masters has Smith looking upwards more aggressively than the other risers. On the other hand, he's not much on clay so wait till Wimbledon ... where he could make some serious noise.
21. Peter de Boer (23, NLD)
Probably not too long before he's the top Dutch player in the world. Up from 25th and should be pretty good on clay as well.
24. Tommy Fitzpatrick (22, IRE)
So far Fitz has done what's expected of him, no more and no less, and continues grinding away.
25. Joao Narciso (25, BRA)
Looking more and more like he's going to stay up this time, Narciso stumbled early at IW but has been solid otherwhise.
26. Nasir Chittoor (22, SRI)
The nice run at AO and a couple of solid 250 results helped, but recent failures have at least wiped out those successes. It's going to be a very tough year unless Nasir makes something happen on clay, which he's capable of doing if he sharpens up and gets some favorable draws.
27. Jaak Christ (24, USA)
Another youngster grinding along and holding his own.
29. Ivan Hudobin (23, RUS)
Up from 35th, and we'll be hearing more about him in years to come. For now though, clay/grass are the weak part of his game so I don't expect much the next few months.
30. Helmut Edlund (24, SWE)
Solid so far this year, Edlund is another who needs to make things happen on clay to avoid slipping back down.
32. Pieter de Boer (23, NLD)
His exploits in Miami got him just above the line ... for now.
39. Willy Weigl (24, AUT)
Tried a couple 250s earlier, then the last three challengers have resulted in three finals ... but only one trophy. That has Weigl treading water, but not able to bounce back up yet.
47. Shakti Vemireddy (22, SRI)
Aside from making Chittoor's life miserable, Vemireddy hasn't actually moved much. Still hasn't figured out he's still a Challenger player, and a bunch of early losses have resulted.
49. Rakesh Kayeeda (22, SRI)
Kayeeda recently joined the Sri Lanka Legends list (10th). He's gobbling up challenger titles left and right these days, working his way towards the top.
51. Sushant Chiba (32, SRI)
Now better in doubles (42nd) after the Miami SF. Sometimes gets a word in edgewise in singles still, but that won't last much longer.
72. Ritwik Intodia (22, SRI)
Seems to be breaking out now with wins in his last two challenger events. Look out above.
104. Lubos Rucklov (20, CZE)
Rucklov has been consistently lately, with QF exits in four straight events. He's kind of stalled, and will probably just sort of hang out here for a bit.
129. Chiang-hui Cheng (20, TPE)
Similar story here, with a number of QF/SF challenger results.
148. Rene Deschesnay (26, MAL)
Won Cherbourg CH2 a few weeks ago which hopefully is a sign of things to come. In general, Deschesnay has been too aggressive in entering higher-ranking events.
151. Satyagit Guha (22, SRI)
39th in doubles now, and we're taking aim at getting a doubles seed by the time we hit RG. I think that's doable. Meanwhile singles events remain few and far-between and will probably stay that way.
161. Mike Corey (19, USA)
I honesty don't know what he's doing. A couple times playing just futures doubles one week, then just a singles event the next ... Corey needs to figure out what he wants to be .
34(J). Aleksije Konstantinovic (18, CRO)
He's been seeing regular JTC action which is fantastic, but probably reaching a bit too high in the regular events for his ranking (a JG1 this week).
66(J). Joseph Charriol (17, MAL)
Assesment here is the same; more JG3s are recommended before pushing to the higher tiers. Best recent result is a JG2 final at Funchal.
129(J). Eduardo Yroz (16, CHI)
A little bit all over the map in scheduling; JG4s is the appopriate tier. Mixed results in JG3s and JG2 entries have been a stretch.
131(J). Kjell Falkeving (16, SWE)
More consistent here, bouncing between JG3 and JG4. That makes some sense though with a few JG4 titles and a couple of finals. My main suggestion here is that form is too high - more practice weeks, less tournaments.
151(J). Anant Koppula (16, IND)
Criminal overplaying. It doesn't matter what you enter if your constantly going 500 mph.
163(J). Raul Almaraz (17, PRT)
Not quite as bad, but same disease.
221(J). Sebastien Bisteri (16, ESP)
And here as well.
224(J). Ambroz Kozubek (16, CZE)
Make it four in a row.
295(J). Josh Frobisher (15, GBR)
Here the news is a little better. Tried one JG3 which I wouldn't advise repeating; in fact I'd say win an other JG5 or two. A couple of JG4 SFs show he's getting close to being ready for them.
554(J). Anikitos Khadjikyriakos (15, CYP)
Hasn't made a junior final yet, so the consistent JG4 events are not justified. More practice weeks and JG5s until you win a few of them are indicated.
641(J). Thanasis Theodopoulos (15, CYP)
Ditto to everything I just said.
888(J). Lucas Dufourcq (14, FRA)
Here's one I can heartily endorse. Dufourcq had a bit of a rough outing his last time, but is sticking with JG5s and has a QF/final in recent days so he's getting close. On the right path at least early.
|10-07-2019, 11:17 PM||#1218|
Join Date: May 2006
29. Ivan Hudobin - 1485
30. Helmut Edlund - 1445
31. Valery Stachovsky - 1425
32. Pieter de Boer - 1390
33. Giona Angloma - 1345
34. Emilien Mathou - 1325
35. Andrey Rublev - 1305
Eventually we'll see Weigl pop back up into this group. Mathou recently dropped down and I think we'll see Stachovsky, who is 30, do so soon as well. Meanwhile Hudobin pushed up. Edlund right now is the guy basically riding the edge. He's hanging on … but for how long is a very open question.
|10-08-2019, 04:40 AM||#1219|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Good to pick up Miami. Only Canada and Perez will have the complete collection of 750 or better competitions won.
Also good that Wentz was not the one to make up ground in IW. Vicars, Chitoor, Fitzpatrick and a few more will be nearing the top next year and so it will be much tougher sledding. It is all about how far up those record top 10s he can go (and which ones Perez can get on).
|10-11-2019, 07:03 PM||#1220|
Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup, Group Play, Round 3
Sri Lanka vs. Italy, Indoors
Two out of three ties freaking indoors. What is this nonsense? Anyway, it looked like it might be tough early on, with Siu-Chung Men, ranked all of 68th in the world, hanging right with Amrik Kasaravalli in the first match. Eventually score there was Amrik winning 6-7(6), 7-6(6), 7-6(2), 6-4. But that opening set would be the only one we would lose all week. Sri Lanka defeats Italy 5-0 and avoids the ignominy of having to go into a playoff . .. which ironically probably would have been better for experience purposes. Nasir Chittoor gets a couple of straight-sets wins, his first in WTC play, and one for Chiba/Guha as well. Netherlands beats the USA to win the group, and our WTC involvement ends, prematurely in my view. For the moment we slip to #5 behind the Czech Republic
Chittoor entered the Houston 250 (Clay) the next week along with a number of other Anilophiles. He would lose in the QFs to Algot Hakanson, 6-4, 7-6(5). Hakanson's superior athleticism was the difference, but it was close enough that if I'd been in the form sweet-spot Nasir might have gotten the upset. And he was stupidly close to it, literally just 0.1 short of getting the bonus. Grrr. Top seed Vicars took advantage of the home crowd to win the title. Over at the Grand Prix Hassan 250 (Clay), Kasaravalli was the top seed ... and was upset by Andrey Rublev in the QF there. Went to the third-set tiebreak, but Rublev despite being an inferior player with only moderate clay abilities earned the win. Disgusting showing by Sri Lanka's best. Clavet Moniotte came away with the win, beating Rhodes in the final.
Last edited by Brian Swartz : 10-11-2019 at 07:03 PM.
|10-11-2019, 07:17 PM||#1221|
Join Date: May 2006
Hughes/Hart continue to show they are the best around, claiming another bit of hardware for their trophy case. Chiba/Guha had to qualify, but eliminated third-seeded Swiss team before falling to former #1s (6) Galvan/Aguilar in a 6-4, 6-2 quarterfinal. Right now we need a bunch of points to move up much at all, and are gaining but not enough to make a significant difference.
Nicolas Perez has never managed a clean sweep of the clay events, but he is the two-time defending RG champion and for three years in a row he's won two of the three Masters on the dirt. If this tournament was any indication, he'll be the best on clay once again. He only had to break a sweat twice, the toughest match being a 7-5, 7-5 win over Lucas Perez in the quarterfinals. Only four games apiece were allotted his last two opponents, the Spanish contingent of Fabio Cagide in the semifinals and Calisto Aviles in the final. The other SF featured Amrik Kasaravalli in his second masters semifinal (Rome last year), where he was pretty badly outplayed by Aviles but still had a chance to beat him in a second-set tiebreak. Kasravalli got here by dispatching Chisulo Mpakati in three sets, then surviving a first-set breadstick to rally and take a tight deciding breaker over no. 2 Harald Wentz in the quarterfinals. Fine showing on his part, and other than Perez in current form he's capable of hanging with anyone on this surface if he plays well.
Ollie Haas and the continually-impressive Peter de Boer were the other quarterfinalists. In the third round, Algot Hakanson got a whole three games off of N. Perez, Clavet Moniotte was dispatched by L. Perez in a competitive two, and Ross Vicars managed just three games against Aviles. Second round saw Nasir Chittoor exit at the hands of Velilla, Tommy Fitzpatrick pushed Haas to three before leaving, and Willy Weigl got a set off of Kasaravalli but couldn't finish the upset. Helmut Edlund (l. Gronhag in three), Mark Smith (l. Cagide), and Joao Narciso (l. de Boer in three) were all unfortunate enough in their first-round draws that they were eliminated right away.
|10-14-2019, 03:54 AM||#1222|
Join Date: May 2006
The two-week break before the clay season heats up was next. While the other three players took the time to practice and rest, Nasir Chittoor needed matches. One of the best opportunities for getting points in the smaller events was the second week, with three 250-level events. I chose the Estoril Open, and was seeded #3. I expected second, but Constantino Gonzoles, the top seed, was a late entrant. He had some early-round struggles but got through. Nasir had no such issues, swatting aside Henricksson in the quarterfinals. The two met in the semis, and I figured Chittoor to be a slight favorite - instead he easily won a decisive 6-4, 6-2 victory! There were upsets in the other half, and it ended up being Markus Gronhag, who I've previously discussed, waiting. The Norwegian is still ranked around 50th but better than that - again I thought Nasir would have a slight edge. He pulled through 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 … but he shouldn't have. Gronhag had one fewer break in twice the opportunities, and Nasir had to serve 138 times to his opponents 98. It was largely luck - and would have been every bit as big for Markus if he prevailed - but I'll take it; a first professional title is a big boost and goes a long way towards excising the disappointment from those hardcourt masters events.
I checked some of my other players, and this is basically right in line with when they won their first professional title. Mehul took a year longer (it was actually a 500 for him), Kasaravalli a LOT longer, Mooljee was several months earlier but Girsh, Chiba, Dudwadkar were all around the same timeframe, within weeks. So basically I'm right on schedule here. Nasir is also in the earliest stages of declining from his physical peak now, which made it a good opportunity for another comparison with Fitzpatrick … and darned if it isn't still super close. Leapfrogged the Irishman in the rankings with this win - though we must continue to recognize that Mark Smith is still ahead of both - but that's a dance that is simply going to continue. Right now it seems clear that Nasir is better on clay, TFitz is superior on hardcourts, and both continue to look for any small edge they can find. It won't be long before regular direct confrontations come, a year or at most two I'd say, but it's still a 'cold war' here.
Last edited by Brian Swartz : 10-14-2019 at 03:55 AM.
|10-14-2019, 07:47 AM||#1223|
Join Date: May 2006
When in Spain, beware of the Spaniards. Calisto Aviles winning his third Masters shield, second in a row here, is not particularly huge news. But few would have predicted his opponent in the final match to be Mike Rhodes, 31-year-old has-been … and at this level, virtually a never-was as this was his first ever masters final, having made the RG championship match once. But that was four years ago, a lifetime in tennis. Rhodes had slipped to 22nd in the rankings and appeared on his way out of the elite ranks, no shame for one his age. But he got a new lease on life here. To reach the final, he edged Nicolas Perez in a 9-7 third-set TB, very representative of how close that match was. For Perez, it's a big step down from the dominance he showed at Monte Carlo, but hardly a disaster. On the other side, Harald Wentz went three with Aviles and you can't blame that result either.
I should catch up on doubles before going through the rest of the results. Hughes/Hart take yet another trophy but still haven't surpassed Godinic in the rankings. They needed a super-tiebreak to get by (6) Arquiliere/Gravier in the final. Chiba/Guha had to qualify, something they really should be past doing soon, and then proceeded to lose to one of the more dangerous floater teams, Fantoni/Aubry, in a competitive 6-4, 7-5 decision right away. Not what I was hoping for after the strong showings in Miami and MC.
Ok so back to singles, where Chisulo Mpakati is simply a cursed man beyond belief. Won the first set against N. Perez 6-2, then lost tiebreaks in the next two sets. If you had to pick a winner on match stats you'd take him by the narrowest of margins (one more return point won on same number of chances, +2 in breaks) but it was a case of controlling the one set and then being a little inferior in the others. How many times can he keep doing this though? The law of averages would indicate he deserves a couple more upsets than he's had already just this year. Lucas Perez took a tiebreak before falling meekly the next two sets to Wentz, while Il-Sung Jung was opportunistic enough to give Aviles a real run for his money. And then there was the veteran Constantino Gonzoles, who lost to Rhodes and got to the QFs at my expense, flipping the script on Nasir Chittoor in a one-sided 6-3, 6-3 third-rounder. That one stung, because Nasir had just gotten done blasting aside the #3 player in the world, Tobias Velilla, in what was at that point the upset of the tournament. I thought he had a path to the quarters, maybe even the semis, the way he was going. And then … *thud*. It's still a good result to reach the last 16 of Masters … but it could have been much more.
Also leaving in the third round were Clavet Moniotte (3 sets to Mpakati) and Amrik Kasaravalli (2 tough sets against Jung). Earlier departures from Mark Smith (well done pushing home-favorite Cagide to three), Joao Narciso (two breadsticks served up in a punishing display by Haas), Ross Vicars (another Rhodes victim), Sushant Chiba (qualified but de Jong eliminated him), Algot Hakanson (brushed aside by de Boer), and Tommy Fitzpatrick (Rhodes' first victim).
|10-15-2019, 03:38 AM||#1225|
Join Date: May 2006
Thanks! The journey continues …
Hughes/Hart didn't even make it past the second round, upset in a close TB 10-8 by Stachovsky/Plushenko, an apparently new unseeded pairing. They would reach the final before losing in a tight match of their own against 2-seeds Nives/Godinic. It'll be curious to see how the Irish bounce back, and whether or not these upstarts continue playing together and succeeding. As for Chiba/Guha, they didn't even make it out of qualifying -- an 11-9 nailbiter in the decisive super-TB against Mathou/de Boer. A couple of quality players there but very little doubles acumen. Major disappointment here and basically an empty week for us.
Calisto Aviles returned to the singles final, but against a new opponent and without the support of the crowd. So it was that #3 Tobias Velilla prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, his second Masters and first final at any of the big clay events. Velilla crushed the fatigued Il-Sung Jung in his semi, while Ollie Haas was even more surprising in the first. Lucas Perez, Harald Wentz, and of course Chisulo Mpakati were all luminaries losing in the quarterfinals. And there was one unexpected name there as well; Acke Kjaerstad, who recently became the Swedish no. 1. Kjaerstad was fresh off the biggest win of his career, knocking out top-ranked Nicolas Perez 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-4. A dead-even match that could have gone either way but he probably should have lost … still for a 'balanced' player who lists clay as his least favorite surface, this was a huge result.
Nasir Chittoor exited in the third round again, playing well enough to make the score look closer than it was and fighting hard in the concluding tiebreak in a 6-4, 7-6(7) defeat to L. Perez. He got there by eliminating Clavet Moniotte in an epic third-set breaker the previous match. Chittoor would have liked a deep run at one of these - Madrid the last week was his chance - but he's the only unseeded player to reach the third round so he should really count his blessings. Ross Vicars (Velilla) and Amrik Kasaravalli (Mpakati) also departed at the same stage. Rome has been kind to Amrik the last two years with runs to the quarters and semis … but this year it was not to be.
Tommy Fitzpatrick got by his first match before falling to Kjaerstad, Mark Smith did the same before being easily dismissed by #2 Wentz, Willy Weigl lost in the second round to Velilla and Algot Hakanson to Kasaravalli. The Anilophile contingent suffered a couple of first-round exits also, with Joao Narciso going down in three to Gonzoles who just won't freaking go away, and Helmut Edlund did well to push Vicars the distance before being eliminated.
Coming Up …
A week off right now for pretty much everyone, and then Roland Garros concludes our adventures on the dirt. Three Masters on the clay, three different champions. Aviles might be favored all things being equal, but he's really up against it having unwisely chosen an extra event in Barcelona and being quite worn out, the likely cause of his defeat in the Rome final. I'd have to say despite the early loss here Nicolas Perez is still among the favorites particularly given that he's relatively fresh, but really it's quite a wide-open field and several players will consider themselves to have a chance. I can see all my players, singles and doubles, making a fairly deep run or losing in the early rounds. Paris is soon to play host to a critical fortnight for both the Sri Lanka contingent and the larger tour as a whole.
|10-16-2019, 12:28 AM||#1226|
Join Date: May 2006
I'm going to be taking a bit of a hiatus here - I'll still be managing my players but won't have time to do writeups for probably a couple weeks or more. I have a new project that's going to soak up every bit of time I can throw at it for the time being. If any of the other players want to comment on the goings-on in the meantime, feel free, and I'll resume my usual blather whenever I'm able to.
|10-19-2019, 07:13 PM||#1227|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Was surprised Chiba and Guha split. Neither pairing got far in doubles. Solberg has teamed up with Kasper with world no. 1 Godinic teaming up with Nives. This left the Irish pairing of Hart/Hughes as top seeds. They delivered on the week. Beating Kasper/Solberg in the semis and Godinic/Nives in the final putting them close to o. 1 in the world!
In the singles it seemed pretty open with 3 clay slam winners going in though Perez had still to be favourite as defending champion and winner of one of the slams.
Vemireddy drew a low seed in Jaak Christ round 1. A tough battle ensued that saw the Sri Lankan lose a 5 setter. Kayeeda drew a tough match against Haas which was as one sided as one would expect.
Chiba went out in round 2. Rublev was about a good a seed as he could draw but his singles abilities have slid too much to get far anymore.
Pieter de Boer was the only seed not to make it to round 3 with a loss to little known Argentinian Abastras.
Seeding largely held to the quarters. De Jong beat Haas in a battle of the Dutch and Kasaveralli had a nice win against Jung to make another slam quarter final. Then things got weirder. The top half held seed with Perez and Veilla getting the job done but Mpataki beat Wentz and incredibly Kasaveralli beat Aviles on clay. On clay that is an incredible result for his first slam semi final!
Unfortunately he couldn't beat Mpataki who was in his first slam final (surprising he had never been in one) vs Perez. Perez got out to a 2 set lead easily before losing the 3rd and needing a late comeback in the 4th, winning his 9th slam on the tie break. Heatches Hart and moves ahead of that group including Mehul on 8.
This does give him a lot more breathing room at the top given his second half of the season was not too strong last season and keeps up his incredible slam final record of 9 wins in 11. Aviles first shock win and Wentz in the US last season being the only losses.
|10-20-2019, 12:51 PM||#1228|
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: WI via ND via NC
Narciso had a good showing with the (24) seed at Roland Garros, upsetting (16) Moniotte 5-3-3 in the third round and putting up a good fight against (6) Perez in the round of 16, ultimately taking a 5-7-4-5 loss.
Pargeter, meanwhile, retired into the ranks of trainers after Roland Garros. He is one tight Roland Garros final loss to a Kaspar away from making the list of American legends--that was his only Grand Slam finals appearance. He won several Grand Slams and spent time at #1 in the world in doubles during a very successful partnership with Mateo Kaspar. He remained top-25 in doubles until his retirement, and was still actively representing the USA in the World Team Cup.
|10-22-2019, 07:27 PM||#1229|
Join Date: Jun 2018
You raise an excellent point. I did notice his exploits but only in Wimbledon. I won't have time for all of Brian's detail but he definitely should have had a mention in Rolland Garros.
Pargeter is the last hurrah of a quality player who was born at the wrong time for singles.
|10-28-2019, 12:31 PM||#1230|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Wimbledon (slightly delayed report)
In the doubles Chiba/Guha didn't manage to make further ground losing in the 3rd. Hart and Hughes however continued their domination of the doubles scene for another slam.
In the singles: Chiba did make the second round and, thanks to several players taking it off, Kayeeda got the number 32 seed which he translated into a solid 3rd place finish. He lost to compatriot Kasaveralli and reached the top 32 for the first time.
Mathou showed he can still play a bit in round 1 upsetting Fitzpatrick who has not had a great opening season in the big leagues. Narciso pushed Mptaki close in the 3rd round but couldn't find a way in the 5th set to lose in the 3rd round. Smith showed he is has the early edge on the next generation with a win over Chittoor. Kasaveralli and Vicars both went out to the Perez family in round 4.
Weigl met Kjaerstad in the 3rd round. No shame there. He is a solid grass court player. Meanwhile Smith's journey came to an end in the quarter finals to Perez. Good competition from him there. Kjaerstad continued his run of form beating Aviles and Mpataki to make the semi final.
On the other side Veilla and Wentz got through as expected. Veilla got a nice win over Wentz while Kjaerstad pulled off another upset to beat Perez 11/9 in the 5th! The Argentinian deserved the win but couldn't get it done. He then followed this up by beating Veilla 10/8 in the 5th for Sweden's first ever Grand Slam. Who saw it coming from there!
Perez was defending his slam title and the points lost means his no. 1 spot is at risk. He is still odds on to end the year no. 1 as Wentz has far more points to defend at the end of the year.
|10-28-2019, 10:20 PM||#1231|
Join Date: May 2006
Goodness I've missed a lot of craziness here. Hopefully I can squeeze in at least a ranking update post and summarize a few things after the USO.
|11-04-2019, 01:54 PM||#1234|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Ok. I am back apparently. No idea what was wrong but anyway.
Continuing on before Brian gets back here full time.
Chitoor takes a nice 250. He was the number 1 seed but it is his second pro title.
In Canada Perez had the chance to complete the set of all 750 or better competitions. Kasaveralli, Molyneaux and Hakanson all go out in round 1. Disappointing as Kasaveralli had a good first half of the season. Chitoor had a good result beating Mpataki in round 2. Weigl, Fitzpatrick, Narciso and Edlund went out in round 2 as well. Fitzpatrick did go out on seed but he has not pushed forward at all this year. Hopefully he can get going next season.
Then it goes nuts. With the number 1 title on the line Perez loses to Vicars in the 3rd round while Wentz goes out to Csollang?!? Aviles goes out to countryman Cagide. Kjaerstad and Haas also go out at this stage.
This left Lucas Perez and Veilla as the only top 8 reps in the quarter finals with another good result for Smith. Monoitte and Jung round out the final 8. Vicars, Jung, Csollang and Lucas Perez advance with the two giant killers Csollang and Vicars making the final. Vicars had home field advantage but Csollang has owned this match up and continued to do so, giving little chance to Vicars and Csollang takes his first masters!
Perez clings onto the number 1 spot for a bit longer.
|11-05-2019, 12:43 AM||#1235|
Join Date: May 2006
Glad you're able to play again Christy. I haven't had any problems with it at all. There are … other issues. I've delayed this announcement until I was totally sure; the long and the short of it is that the 'hiatus' is not going to be able to be a temporary thing. My time with this game is done.
If anybody wants to know the why, check out the FOFC Creators thread in Off-Topic, but my purpose is not at all to promote that here. I just can't justify the time investment it takes to do the writeups anymore. Initially I thought I'd just keep managing my players and at least do brief summaries of what they do, but even that won't fly. The key time periods of the day when I need to be checking up on things, doing training sessions, scheduling tournaments, etc. in order to manage at a high level are times when I now should be doing other things instead. A choice must be made, and this is what has to go. I long ago jettisoned pretty much all my other superfluous projects - I was in a MP league (NCAA53 for those who remember it) that I set aside a year ago for example. I hung onto this because I wanted to see it through to completion, but that's no longer a realistic hope. As an online game, I can't just save the current state and resume the dynasty later, and I've done too much in RR to be satisfied with subpar management of my players. If I can't invest the time required to do it at a high level, it's time for me to walk away.
I do regret that I won't be able to see how the Chittoor-Fitzpatrick-Smith competition fares, or how high Chiba/Guha might have gotten in doubles. There are some interesting cases in the up-and-coming Anilophiles that I would have enjoyed tracking, the current Perez-Wentz jockeying is pretty compelling, and so on. But wishing does not make horses. Right now I'm in the process of getting some training sessions done for my players, and will enter them in tournaments for the next couple weeks before pulling the plug and firing them in the next few hours so that others can benefit from their service should they choose to.
If anyone wants to take over this thread and keep things updated, have at it - otherwhise it will simply die the death of neglect that all projects eventually do, having served its purpose. I've enjoyed doing this for the past three and a half years, and I can count on one hand the number of written dynasties on any game in any forum that have been as satisfying. Much like Anil Mehul's playing career, an end must come to all things - for me and the journey of the Sri Lanka Legends, that end is now. Really the only lasting thing that I'd change is to have started it sooner so that I could have properly documented the early years of Mehul, the last years of Gorritepe, and so on. .
Sincerest thanks to all who have faithfully read and participated.
|11-17-2019, 02:17 PM||#1239|
Join Date: Jun 2019
|11-18-2019, 02:59 AM||#1240|
Hall Of Famer
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
I only just saw this when the thread bumped.
Damn, but I do get it.
Sincere round of applause for one of the very best pieces of work this forum has seen in a long long time.
"I lit another cigarette. Unless I specifically inform you to the contrary, I am always lighting another cigarette." - from a novel by Martin Amis
|11-18-2019, 10:30 AM||#1241|
Join Date: Jun 2018
Sorry I have not updated this. I had planned to and just haven't had time. Sad to see Brian go but wish him well going forward.
Keyur seems to have stopped which is a pity as he takes Veilla and Wentz with him. Perez's two biggest rivals making the battle at the top academic for the next year probably.
Wentz had gained and lost the top spot after some success and retained the WTF. He just had too many points to defend over the back half of the season.
Kayeeda and Intodia are making the cut now though both were drawn right next to Perez for Australia which is annoying.
Perez also has a serious chance this year to be only the second player to win two single Olympic titles.
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