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Old 07-12-2019, 10:50 PM   #1101
thehitcat
H.S. Freshman Team
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bouchlaghem View Post
Back from the dead, actually restarted playing on RR12 about 2 months ago and picked up two young guys. Been voting on the websites as well every day (~1100 credits now) and thinking of just saving up some credits until my players reach 27-28, which is when I'll likely turn them to trainers and finally start my dynasty thing.

Just came here to say that Lilian Bangue (FRA, 21y11wk, 7.45) just won his first Challenger title and is climbing up in the top 160, hoping he can win some major tournaments next year as well. He's a clay-indoor specialist (40-39) which matches very well with French courts and the 4.4 home advantage can give him a legitimate boost in the long-run I believe. Hoping to turn him in a good elite player even if he doesn't win grand slams, his TESS is around 14.7 anyways (though 8.1 TE). Also, 96% aging factor has to make him a decent competitor and give him a slight edge once again, but no high hopes.

The other one is my protégé Raul Ruano (ESP, 19y23wk, 6.77) who's still getting the Futures wins at home at the moment and focusing on maxing out that skill as soon as possible. He's still quality at sitting at 244th, a solid teenager, but this early in his career it's all about stats. Ranking'll come later, he's got time to work on that side of his game! 101% aging factor though, he's peaked physically already but still not declining. TESS of 15.4 (TE 8.5) and his rating is not that bad this early in his career, I think he can reach 7.0 comfortably by his twentieth birthday, 7.5 by his 21st should not be a stretch since service will upgrade fairly quickly once his skills is maxed out. Want him to be a consistent winner at Madrid by the end of his career and maybe get some nice runs in Roland Garros (60% clay specialist) but we'll see, who knows!

Just wanted to share, sorry if I'm hijacking the thread and if there's a better place where I could share this!

This is exactly what this thread is for. If you decide you want to join us come over to Server 1 at some point. And good luck to both your players. You should keep us up to date on their progress.
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:39 AM   #1102
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy
Congrats to Kasaravalli for his first pro competition win inGstaad!

Thanks! I'm going throw a little water on that celebration by pointing out that he was quite fortunate to get it. Was actually outplayed pretty badly by both Balzer in the QF and Cagide in the semis, esp. the first match of those two. Lost the first set in both, and really should have been out in the quarters. Nice to get that first 250 though for sure, and it helps solidify his position and avoid a repeat of last year's slide.
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:38 PM   #1103
Christy
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Join Date: Jun 2018
So Wentz continues his domination of hard courts. Coming from midtable last season to dominate is impressive. Jung his only hard court loss but that was in the slam (it went to 12-10 in the 5th).

Depending on the US the EOY no. 1 could be close! How long can he keep the streak up.

Sets up the US nicely. Perez, the no. 1 and current holder of the last 3 hard court slams.

Hart showed in Wimbledon he is still up there with the best. On hard court is probably still behind Perez/Wentz but is the no. 2 seed which could work out nicely for him.

Wentz has won the last 4 hard court masters and only 1 loss in hard court this year. Combining ability, hard court specialisation and only playing singles.

Outside chances
Mpataki, hasn't won anything but is so often there or there abouts. Can he eventually put it all together?

Jung: potentially the world's best player and a hard court specialist but needs to stay off the doubles court. Was also Wentz last loss on hard courts.

Dogic seems unlikely but might be a spoiler. Was so close last year and any hope of a top 8 finish likely rests on this tournament.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:42 AM   #1104
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Wentz is an intriguing case. He's won four HC Masters in a row now and I do think he's overall the best hardcourt player in the world, but he had quite close matches in Canada against Hart and Jung, and in Cincinatti in the final against Perez. So I don't think he's quite as good as all the titles indicate. But if he can win in Flushing Meadows, or even make the final, he figures to move up to #2. Either way, both top seeds for the USO will definitely be rooting for him to be drawn in the opposite half.

Argentina likes Cincy for some reason - Perez has done better there than Canada the last couple of years, and three of the top-half's four quarterfinalists were Argentine. Tobias Velilla made an impressive run as an unseeded semifinalist. The WTF battle heats up with Jung making the Canada final and Solberg reaching the Cincinatti semis, but neither being consistent in both. Aviles losing in the third round of each won't help his total. That trio at least need to be at their best for the USO to solidify their candidacies.

Sushant Chiba had a first-round exit in Canada, then turned back the clock to upset (13) Emilien Mathou in Cincinatti before a third-round defeat to the surprising Acke Kjaerstad in a battle of unseededs. Split a pair of tiebreaks before a 6-3 defeat in the decider. Amrik Kasaravalli got the same three singles matches in these masters as he did a year ago, but it was a heck of a three. Narrowly defeated Abinati and had close losses to #10 Tim de Jong and #5 Srba Dogic. He's playing well enough recently that it no longer feels like he needs a lucky break - he has a chance to exit early but also has a chance to hang with most players on clay or hardcourt. With the right draw, it's not out of the question that he makes his first second week of a Slam at the USO or the AO to start next year.

Meanwhile, for the first time Nasir Chittoor entered a Challenger where I expected him to win it. The #4 seed in CH2 Trani, he made good on that to finally break through and get his first title. The higher-seeded players were mostly badly fatigued, including Luca Mondello who he stomped 6-2, 6-2 in the final. Might have been favored over them anyway, but a 0.4/0.4 malus is highly painful. At 20y 37w, he's the oldest of any of my players save Kasaravalli to get a challenger trophy, but that's still six weeks faster than Fitz who 'only' has two. Smith of course has been much faster, but really I'm just chalking this up to how much more competitive things are than they've been in the past. Hopefully Chittoor can grab some more hardware by year's end. . Satyagit Guha qualified in singles and had a competitive first-round loss to the 6-seed, one of his better showings, while the pairing escaped a 11-9 super TB in the first round only to suffer a defeat in the semis by a similar score. That's two out of the last three events they haven't won, showing that while they are a strong challengers double team they are not yet invincible.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 07-16-2019 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:14 AM   #1105
Christy
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Join Date: Jun 2018
I noticed Guha came out in top vs Alenihev in a battle of the titans in a ch3 qualifier recently!

How much air time has been spent trying to come up with tactical reasons for Hart to struggle in Flushing Meadows! Something there just does not suit him. Wentz has to now have at least the year end no. 2 spot. Hart just defensing too many points for the rest of the year.

Good for Perez I think to have Wentz free runs up until the final.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:59 AM   #1106
ntndeacon
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Alabama
I've rejoined this game in the past week or so. And have a couple Bulgarians in world 1. One is a 27 yr old journeyman. And a 14 yr old who has good talent.
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Up the Posh!
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:39 AM   #1107
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Welcome back … the youngster at least will be added to the quarterly rundowns.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:34 PM   #1108
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Congrats to Perez, who is apparently untouchable in best-of-five! I'll have a proper writeup either after work or tomorrow.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:42 PM   #1109
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
US Open

Another evidence of the continuing stabilization of the power structure of international tennis was found in the fact that only one seeded player failed to get through the first two rounds. That was Anilophile (20) Clavet Moniotte, defeated at the second hurdle by Romanian Odimos Csollang, a former teenage prodigy who made a very loud statement here. Not only did he beat Moniotte, but also straight-setted world no. 2 John Hart in the third round, something that ... well, it just doesn't happen by an unseeded player. He would go on to push Velilla to four in the round of 16, an impressive showing indeed. Csollang is recently turned 21, a very meteoric talent from which more will definitely be seen in the future. Tommy Fitzpatrick was the only unseeded Anilophile in the draw, losing in straight sets as he had the misfortune to be matched against 6-seed Solberg.

Most of the third-round matches ended as the structure would dictate as well, with a few exceptions. Amrik Kasarasvalli battled 15th-seed Hughes in an encounter that, at this point in their respective careers, I expected to be close and winnable. Unfortunately Amrik didn't show the fight he has in recent weeks, and folded in three after a couple of close sets. 8-seeded Ollie Haas fell in a long match to (30) Guillermo Valturri as the biggest upset of the day, while Sushant Chiba knocked off 13-seed Emilien Mathou for the second time in as many events. He has a perfect 4-0 record against the Frenchman for whatever reason, and while it was close he came through all the key moments in a 7-6(5), 7-6(6), 2-6, 7-5 success.

More expected results in the fourth round as not a single lower-ranked player won. That included the departure of Chiba, who was quite pleased to take a set off of #3 Wentz. Six of the top eight players made the quarterfinals, along with a couple of outliers in the bottom half. (16) Tobias Velilla and (14) Isa Solheim played one close set, and then Velilla shut the door. Hard. Perez knocked out Ali Solberg in four sets, Wentz did the same to Il-Sung Jung gaining a measure of revenge for that defeat at the Australian early in the year. The best match of the day by far featured Srba Dogic being narrowly bested by Mpakati, 7-5 in the 5th. It wasn't quite as close as all that, but Dogic saved 15 of 19 break points against his serve to make things a lot more interesting.

Chisulo Mpakati's third Slam semifinal of the year ended the same way the first two have. A one-sided decision here to Perez. On the bottom of the draw, Velilla's fantastic run was finished by Harald Wentz in a clear four-set victory, setting up the expected clash of what are unquestionably the two best hardcourt players in the world. The final though was not as good as might have been expected. Perhaps Wentz had an off day, or perhaps overall #1 Nicolas Perez a particularly good one, but either way a resounding 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 title for the Argentine champion resulted. The opening set against Solberg is the only one he lost, and at least for this year he is supreme in the Slams while Wentz takes command of the Masters. I'm sure we'll see more clashes between the two in the future, perhaps as soon as Shanghai; the Austrian had won three straight on hardcourts between them before this result.

Elsewhere ...

Back on the Challenger circuit, a rare essentially perfect result in CH3 Bangkok. Nasir Chittoor takes home hardware for both singles and doubles, dispatching among others Guha in the quarters and Helmut Hoetker in the semis. Satyagit Guha would have liked to be in a different section, but he qualified and then easily defeated the 5th seed in the first round so he seems to be gaining momentum as well.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:18 PM   #1110
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Q3 Rankings Update

1. Nicolas Perez (24, ARG) - 12,460

Perez now has 5 Slam titles and a handful of Masters, well on his way to stamping his place in history.

2. John Hart (29, IRE) - 9,240

Hart dropped down to #3 barely for a week, then narrowly back up ... he'll soon lose the spot for good I think. Regardless, this seems a good time to summarize his outstanding career as it's unlikely IMO that he wins another major title. 9 Slams him 7th in the all-time list, along with three WTF (T-6th), 23 Masters (T-6th with Haresign), and 196 weeks at #1 (7th). The one blemish really is no Olympic gold, but still overall you can't place him worse than 7th. Probably ends up at the top of the third tier rather than at the bottom of the second depending on how you slice it, but his achievements compare favorably to any player I've ever had. Add in spearheading the best run of success in the WTC and his place in the memory of tennis fans everywhere is assured.

3. Harald Wentz (24, AUT) - 9,230

From the past back to the present, where Wentz aims to claim the spot of top challenger to Perez's throne securely. Two Slam finals this year without a title, but it seems unlikely he'll go without indefinitely. Even for a fast-riser such as him, there's a couple years yet before his abilities begin to erode.

4. Chisulo Mpakati (24, ZIM) - 5,975

I just can't get over the fact that three of the top four are 24 years old. Mpakati has been more consistent this year, he's just not quite as good as Perez or Wentz. Still, I expect him to continually gradually adding to his total and separating himself from the rest.

5. Il-Sung Jung (25, KOR) - 4,845

The enigmatic Jung waits his chance to break into the Top 4, even as he refuses to give up on doubles ambitions.

6. Ali Solberg (28, SWE) - 4,630

Not all of the old guard are content to meekly fade away.

7. Ollie Haas (25, NLD) - 4,445

Disappointing result at the USO, but Haas has never put enough time into hardcourts.

8. Tim de Jong (26, NLD) - 4,270

A very sound pair of Dutchmen continue their efforts.

9. Srba Dogic (25, CRO) - 4,175

Dogic has returned to reality after the fool's gold of last year's surge.

10. Calisto Aviles (23, ESP) - 3,655

Aviles is still very much a question mark.

11. Barry Molyneaux (29, USA)

Another elder statesman slips out of view. The US Open has always been his bread and butter, and a 4th-round exit demonstrates for good that his time is done.

12. Tobias Velilla (23, ARG)

13. Lucas Perez (25, ARG)

Argentina could soon place a trio of performers in the Top 10.

14. Emilien Mathou (26, FRA)

Would just as soon never play Chiba again.

19. Clavet Moniotte (26, FRA)

20. Sushant Chiba (31, SRI)

21. Acke Kjaerstad (24, SWE)

22. Algot Hakanson (26, SWE)

Hakanson has made the third round of the last three Slams, and like so many others is waiting for his big break.

23. Amrik Kasaravalli (25, SRI)

Best-ever ranking, but still a long ways from the next tier above.

24. Fabio Cagide (22, ESP)

Spain's next hope, but still has a half-dozen challenger titles on his resume.

28. Joao Narciso (23, BRA)

Similarly, Narciso is holding his ground admirably but has an obscene amount of challenger points yet to replace.

31. Santino Belmon (25, ITA)

32. Ross Vicars (20, USA)

20 years old and ranked 32nd in the world. That's a heck of a thing. It'll be curious to see if Vicars really is that good.

We have 10 in the 28 & up category that will eventually be falling out. Some sooner than others of course, but there are spots there available to be taken. The bunching up is not nearly what it was a year or two ago ... but the next generation coming up promises to eventually recreate that situation. What we're seeing here is a lull, a brief moment of opportunity for players to make a name for themselves if they can strike RIGHT NOW.

35. Odimos Csollang (21, ROU)

I feel I'd be remiss not to mention him after the USO run in which he pushed an eventual semifinalist. Csollang seems one of those best-positioned to seize the moment soon.

36. Helmut Edlund (22, SWE)

Continuing to hang out right here on the edge.

41. Willy Weigl (22, AUT)

As is Weigl.

55. Mark Smith (20, GBR)

Smith's apparent disregard for the idea of waiting a decent interval is impressive. He recently seized the Ningboo CH2 title, his third at the challenger level.

71(D). Satyagit Guha (21, SRI)

586th in singles, Guha has been pushing forward with some consistency recently.

73(D). Nasir Chittoor (20, SRI)

The recent challenger singles successes have Chittoor at his career-best of 98th, but he'll be losing some of that at least temporarily. Some runner-up finishes from last season will be dropping off, and he's due for an extended stint on the practice courts.

74. Tommy Fitzpatrick (21, IRE)

Continuing to hang out in the good-but-not-elite challenger space.

84. Shakti Vemireddy (20, SRI)

Shivakumar has indeed fallen off the grid as feared, but Vemireddy soldiers on. A runner-up showing at CH1 Beijing a few weeks back was his best yet ... still looking for that elusive first challenger trophy.

153. Ritwik Intodia (20, SRI)

A month ago, CH3 Brasilia was Intodia's first Challenger-level win.

180. Helmut Hoetker (19, SUI)

A couple low-level challenger semis in recent months for Hoetker, who continues to work to establish himself at this level.

199. Rakesh Kayeeda (20, SRI)

Popped back into the Top 200 just this past week after an extended stay below the line. Can he stick this time?

285. Lubos Rucklov (19, CZE)

Tearing up the futures ranks, Rucklov won his first FT1 recently in his home country. He's coming up, and soon.

598. Chiang-hui Cheng (18, TPE)

Cheng has definitely straightened himself out, claiming an amateur title and then a couple of low-level futures since last we looked. He has also endured a few early-round futures exits, but with improving draws that problem should at least partially take care of itself.

1407. Mike Corey (18, USA)

Still plowing away through the juniors, a recent JG1 title but also still playing too much.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:35 PM   #1111
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: May 2006
Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-USO Edition

In

Nicolas Perez - 11,550
Harald Wentz - 9,050
John Hart - 6,770

Three are in as the Slamless Wentz joins the fray, and it would seem a clear pecking order has been established for this trio.

Probable

Chisulo Mpakati - 5730
Ollie Haas - 4210
Il-Sung Jung - 3845
Calisto Aviles - 3555

Mpakati will soon be the fourth qualifier. Haas and Jung both look strong to make it, but they've got enough work yet that it isn't certain. Aviles could still well fall out.

Contenders

Tobias Velilla - 3335
--------------------
Ali Solberg - 3210
Tim de Jong - 3180

It was already going to be tight for the final spot or two, but Velilla's run at the USO has made things even crazier. I think we've basically got a four-person race (including Aviles) for two spots. And its always possible that Jung has a couple key stumbles even. This could be one heck of a finish.

Long Shots

Srba Dogic - 2875
Lucas Perez - 2720
Barry Molyneaux - 2420

Dogic could still make something happen if he can manage a deep run at Shanghai, but I'd say its unlikely given how far his seeding has fallen. Lucas Perez is one of those who just doesn't look he's quite there yet and there's so much traffic ahead of him - but he's close enough that one big run at a masters and he's in the game.
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Old 07-19-2019, 07:17 PM   #1112
Christy
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Join Date: Jun 2018
When trying to chase down Hart the big thing I noticed was his consistency. He had points everywhere. 7 years and he had the QFs in slams in all but 3. All Masters QFs except 2 (and 2 more to play). Making it out of the WTF group everytime too. He simply didn't seem to slip up early.

As well as his obvious record in trophies won. May have a decent shout in Paris.
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Old 07-23-2019, 05:11 PM   #1113
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Octoberish

The biggest news in the USO - Shanghai window is usually what happens in the WTC, and this year was an interesting one for that. Our quarterfinals against the Netherlands, finalists last year and also three years ago. The Dutch began as expected, with Kasaravalli losing to Ollie Haas in four sets. Much to my astonishment though, we would not lose another match the rest of the week. Guha/Chittoor won their first international doubles match and did so with ease, while Tim de Jong had two five-setters, losing both of them. Sushant Chiba won in straights over Haas which was also a stunner. I definitely did not see this coming, but wasn't complaining.

In the semis we came up against Argentina. That didn't go as well. Twice leading by a set, Chiba was defeated by Tobias Velilla in a five-set comeback win. And that would be the highlight. Amrik Kasaravalli impressively took a set off Perez before losing, doubles was a wipeout, and we were skunked 5-0. Now it is worth remembering that we hadn't made it this far in four years, but it was still a painful beatdown. On the other side, France ended the magnficient run of Ireland, who had won a stupid 48 straight WTC ties and five straight world championships before a narrow 3-2 loss to Austria in their last group match. This time it was 4-1, with even John Hart only managing a single point as he was a 5-set upset victim of Moniotte in his first outing. Almost certainly a historic run of this nature will never be seen again, and the Irish have no fear of losing the #1 spot anytime soon, but it's time for somebody new to seize the wreath of glory.

I'd definitely favor Argentina, who is to an extent the new Ireland here. With Nicolas Perez consolidating power as the world no. 1 and the also-young duo of Velilla and L. Perez competing for that second spot, they'll be tough to beat for years. Only ranked 8th in the world, they have work to do though before ascending to the top.

Elsewhere ...

Chiba took the rest of the period off to practice, while Amrik Kasaravalli entered the China Open 500 as a 7-seed. And stuff happened there. First, he defeated the overplayed Velilla, extracting a bit of revenge for the WTC loss with a 7-5, 6-3 win. Then it was Lucas Perez in the semis, who Amrik was 0-3 against. That changed with a weird 6-4, 6-4 win here. Kasaravalli returned very well at times, posting a 41% success rate from that side of the net, but Perez was more consistent. It ultimately came down to the break points where Kasaravalli was a perfect 4-of-4 on his chances, while saving 3 of 5 on his own serve. Either way I'll take it. Fortune turned the other way in a 6-3, 7-5 defeat to Dogic in the final, a match he probably should have won … but 1 of 6 on breakers compared to 3 of 4 for the Croatian. Getting a 500 title would have been huge, but he'll bank the 300 points for the final and say thank you. Some big performances this week.

While Chittoor also rested, Satyagit Guha entered a FT3 in Romania and not only got his first futures title - finally, at age 21 - but did so in dominating fashion. Nobody got close to him, and he may move up a tier for his next futures event, whenever that is.
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Old 07-23-2019, 05:19 PM   #1114
Christy
n00b
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
I would add in that Kasaveralli overtook Chiba as top Still Lankan player (just about). It was a strong performance to overcome the Dutch. For the Argentinian match, it is rough having a down performance when you are the underdogs.

Wentz also took back 2nd position right before Shanghai which was important for Perez (or so he thought).
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Old 07-23-2019, 10:30 PM   #1115
Bouchlaghem
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Been a bit over a year in-game and wanted to update everyone on my protégés of RR12. I'm at ~1300 credits so I think 2000 by the time they're both trainer-level is doable.

Lilian Bangue (FRA, 22y25wk, 7.83)

Sincerely believe that he could be ready to take on major tournaments very soon. It is unbelievable to think he hasn't yet peaked, the aging factor of 96% has kept him at 99% for little over 2 years now. As I focused on skill earlier on, he's in the process of catching up on service before jumping back in the circuit actively (1:2.54 cost ratio at the moment). Retaining his Bordeaux CH1 title remains the highlight of his career so far, especially after defeating two players of the top 50 in Fuertes (49th) and Desguarets (48th) on his way to the prize. Expecting 8.0 by his 23rd birthday, hoping his physical peak doesn't come too soon.

Raul Ruano (ESP, 20y37wk, 7.36)

I would say he's about Challenger-level at the moment. He's also on his way to upgrade his service, in fact the cost ratio for him is even more drastic at 1:3! His peak was last season at 187th, though at the moment he's jumping up-and-down Futures level as I'm focusing on going to practice until he's ready for a jump in quality. Very excited and surprised about him, still so young and he hasn't even hit the 101% yet, he's part of a very promising Spanish generation that won the JTC 3 years ago. He could surpass Bangue if his aging factor doesn't damage him too much (which it so far hasn't), and have a good career under the Spanish dynasty that is establishing itself.

And that's it for me!
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Old 07-24-2019, 12:11 AM   #1116
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Most players don't actually peak till about age 27, so you've got a while. Looks like both are doing well.

ETA: in terms of physical peak, you are very close to end of that. It's usually a little over two years, and he'll start slowly dropping on that side soon.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 07-24-2019 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 07-24-2019, 12:22 AM   #1117
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Shanghai

The trend in hardcourt Masters this year was finally broken. Nicolas Perez strengthened his grip considerably on the tennis world by taking the title, but he lost a set in each of the last three rounds so it wasn't a walk in the park. Ollie Haas was a bit of a surprise finalist - he appears to be having a resurgence of sorts, eliminating Mpakati and Ali Solberg along the way. Il-Sung Jung came the closest, and was a tiebreak away from a straight-sets win over Perez in the semis. As for the expected Wentz, he had a three-set loss to Solberg in the quarterfinals, losing tiebreaks in the first and final frames. Very tough loss for him, but I can't really say that he's slumped, more gotten unlucky. In that match, he won the overall points 131-122, return points 38% to 32%, and the BP disparity was quite severe. 4 of 6 for Solberg, 5 of 27 for Wentz. It's not taking anything away from the Swede to note he was very fortunate to come through that one.

John Hart had his run end at the first hurdle in the second round, losing in a third-set tiebreak to Moniotte. Clearly the Irish have decided it's time to go doubles, and I'd expect a fairly rapid descent for him now as he's essentially surrendered the passing of the torch to Perez. My players did quite well, each lucking out with a matchup against a qualifier in the first round. Sushant Chiba then eked out a match against Balzer with a strong showing in the decisive tiebreaker before a surprising 6-4, 6-4 upset to end the appearance of 8th-seed Tim de Jong early. He even stole the first set against Perez in the quarterfinals - courtesy of his only break point opportunity of the match - before fading. Amrik Kasaravalli dominated the first set against 4th-seed Chisulo Mpakati in his third-round encounter before the smelling salts were administered in a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 defeat. It's hard to get a read on matches like that but either way I can't complain about that kind of showing.
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Old 07-24-2019, 12:49 AM   #1118
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-Shanghai Edition

In - 4595 to qualify

Nicolas Perez - 12,650
Harald Wentz - 9,570
John Hart - 6,730
Chisulo Mpakati - 5,910
Ollie Haas - 4,805

Mpakati is the second fully official newcomer here. The way things are going he figures to move up to #3 early next year. Haas is the third with his run to the Shanghai final pushing him over the line. That makes it five down and three to go.

Probable

Il-Sung Jung - 4205

Jung, due to his doubles commitments, has virtually no points from smaller events. He *probably* doesn't need to do anything in Paris to get in ... but it's not at all certain just yet.

Contenders

Tim de Jong - 3990
Calisto Aviles - 3835
-----------------------------
Ali Solberg - 3660

de Jong's uninspiring performances of late still have him just inside the bubble, while Aviles made the Shanghai QF to give himself just a smidge of a cushion. And Solberg isn't the only one chasing ...

Long Shots

Tobias Velilla - 3525*
Srba Dogic - 3340
Lucas Perez - 2900

Velilla actually has 45 more points than this for 3570, but one event will drop off when he plays Paris and gets a full set of Masters. Also, he's currently one of the victims of the ranking bug so that will hurt his chances. Still, he's close enough that this is effectively a four-way race for two spots. I think Dogic misses out, and Perez is just barely close enough to merit including, the longest of long shots.
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Old 07-24-2019, 07:36 PM   #1119
Bouchlaghem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
Most players don't actually peak till about age 27, so you've got a while. Looks like both are doing well.

ETA: in terms of physical peak, you are very close to end of that. It's usually a little over two years, and he'll start slowly dropping on that side soon.

Thanks for the heads-up! Seems like he actually already peaked (but for a couple weeks maybe, since I didn't notice it), Bangue just dropped to 98%!
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:35 AM   #1120
Christy
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Originally Posted by Bouchlaghem View Post
Thanks for the heads-up! Seems like he actually already peaked (but for a couple weeks maybe, since I didn't notice it), Bangue just dropped to 98%!

Brian means that overall they peak at about 27.

Your player is past their physical peak but the improvement of their skills should outstrip their physical decay for a while so they will be a better player in a years time but not as strong or fast.

Yeah for some reason meteoric players reach 101% and late developers only hit 99% for a while. Maybe it was to balance out the fact that late bloomers seem to do better overall.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:54 PM   #1121
Brian Swartz
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Paris

When last we looked there were technically seven players in the hunt for the final three spots in the Race. As play began in the final Masters of the year, and the only one contested on an indoor surface, almost nothing had changed in the last couple of weeks. The hopefuls:

Il-Sung Jung - 4205
Tim de Jong - 3990
Calisto Aviles - 3775
-----------------------
Ali Solberg - 3660
Tobias Velilla - 3525
Srba Dogic - 3340
Lucas Perez - 3110

It would take nearly a perfect storm for Jung to not make it at this point, and really all three players above the line would need some bad luck to not be in, but it's never over till it's over. L. Perez made the final of the Swiss Indoors 500 the week before (beating Kasaravalli along the way for good measure) but it figures to be too little, too late. His only chance is to take home the title.

In the first round, Amrik Kasaravalli lost to crowd favorite Clavet Moniotte, 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-4 in a battle of two of the best unseeded players in the draw. Moniotte would go to knock out Solberg, the best chance for a surprise here, in an even closer second-round match. That means that the Swede will miss the Tour Finals for the first time in four years, and after making the semis last season. Might have been his last chance to stay relevant, but Ali is going doubles like all the other vets anyways. He and Solheim are going to sail into the sunset together. Molyneaux, Balzer, and Hughes were other seeded players to wave goodbye at the first hurdle, along with Tim de Jong who leaves the door open a bit for Velilla, Dogic, and Perez with a 3-6, 6-34, 7-6(6) defeat against Alkot Hakanson. I sure wouldn't have bet Hakanson to be the longest-lasting Swedish player here, but that's how it worked out. And that trio chasing; all of them won and advanced. So there was still plenty of life left in the Race suspense heading to Round 3. Final note: Sushant Chiba gave the best player in the world one heck of a scare in a 7-6(5), 7-6(8) second-round match. Not bad for a 31-year-old who has just made the decision to go doubles himself (more on that later).

Usually the third round is the point where all the dreamers wave bye-bye. And most of them did again. Up first was Jung against Lucas Perez, who claimed the 6-2, 6-4 win to keep his hopes alive. Tobias Velilla was the next victim of Hakanson, and Srba Dogic's hopes were dashed in losing a third-set tiebreaker to Moniotte, the man who simply refuses to lose. That leaves us with L. Perez shooting the moon as the only chance for a change:

Il-Sung Jung - 4295
Tim de Jong - 4000
Calisto Aviles - 3865
-----------------------
Ali Solberg - 3670 (out/eliminated)
Tobias Velilla - 3615 (out/eliminated)
Srba Dogic - 3430 (out/eliminated)
Lucas Perez - 3290

This is as of the Paris Quarterfinal Round. So Jung is in, de Jong is in ... and Aviles is in unless Perez wins the whole thing, in which case he's 7th, de Jong is 8th, and Aviles misses out again. Oh, and defending champion John Hart lost to Mike Rhodes, close straight-set match in the third round as well. A weird battle of veterans there.

As for the quarterfinal matchups themselves, well ... yeah. Three of the top four seeds excluding Hart, but then a couple of double-digit seeds and three unseeded players. The Real Perez is Lucas's next opponent. They've never met indoors but Nicolas holds a 5-2 edge overall, having won the last five meetings. It's now six in a row as Nicolas crushed Lucas 6-2, 6-1, ending his hopes of making the field. It may well be that a year from now there will be three Argentinians in the WTF, but this year there will be just the one. Elsewhere Rhodes lost in straight-sets to the seemingly unstoppable, unflappable Hakanson who has come out of nowhere. The two underdog Frenchmen on the bottom half of the draw ran out of gas, but they kept pushing to the end. Emilien Mathou goes out to Wentz 7-5 in the third, while Moniotte gave Mpakati a competitive two-set resistance.

Three powerhouses and a swedish surprise then in the semis. Both matches were quite close. Hakanson lost a 7-5, 7-6(4) decision to Perez, and at least for now will need to be considered a much sterner threat on indoor surfaces than he previously has been. Form held in the second match as well, with a final-set tiebreak ending the run of Chisulo Mpakati and sending Harald Wentz on to the final. Unfortunately for him, it was another bad result against Nicolas Perez as once again the world no. 1 demonstrated why in a 6-4, 6-2 final to claim his 8th Masters Shield. Wentz and Mpakati strengthened their grips on their current positions though.

The field for the World Tour Finals then features a record six newcomers joining only Perez and Hart who have been there before. Perez would seem to be the clear favorite at this point, but who knows what will happen with the others?

Elsewhere ...

Another perfect Challenger in CH2 Sao Leopoldo. It was so nice of Joao Narciso to get out of the way and be ineligible this year. Nasir Chittoor takes the title as the two-seed, defeating Aleksander Boltanski(POL, 68th) 6-2, 7-6(3) in the final. Everyone else was a total pushover, including Satyagit Guha in the second round. Annoying to have them meet that early, but it's the third straight Challenger crown for Chittoor while Guha's trend of consistent success also continues. Looks like we've broken through the wall and are getting some momentum here. The doubles semifinal was a bit tense going to a super TB, but ultimately the pairing prevailed there as well.

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Old 07-26-2019, 07:05 PM   #1122
Christy
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I would have considered that second round loss mildly annoying as a loss of a few hundred points. However without a few points going the way of Perez in the second round over Chiba that title goes elsewhere. Small margins.
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Old 07-27-2019, 11:22 AM   #1123
Christy
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Just a few points separated a championship run and getting knocked out in the second round.
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:01 AM   #1124
britrock88
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Joao is sitting in the perfect #31 spot headed into next year!
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Old 07-29-2019, 11:02 AM   #1125
britrock88
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Also, any plans for another Anil Cup in W52 this year?
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:00 PM   #1126
Brian Swartz
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World Tour Finals

Kicevo, Macedonia was the site for this year's mini-tournament. The award for biggest surprise goes to Ollie Haas, who reached the final and took the first set from presumptive - and actual - champion Nicolas Perez. This is Perez's first WTF crown, but I'm thinking it probably won't be the last. The way he finished the year really strengthened his grip as the world #1. As for Haas, he edged out Harald Wentz in a two-tiebreak semi that was impressive in its ineptitude - the players won 25% and 30% of their return points overall, yet managed to go a combined 0-for-15 on break chances. On the other side, Perez dominated Il-Sung Jung more than the scoreline looked like he did.

Aviles was the only player to go winless in the round-robin stage, whilst Mpakati wasn't far from advancing but a three-set loss to Haas doomed him. Also getting a single victory were de Jong and John Hart, who had won the last three years and reached at least the SF the three years before that. Kind of a sad end to a long string of success here for him.

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Old 07-29-2019, 03:15 PM   #1127
Brian Swartz
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Challenger Wrap-Up

Nasir Chittoor continued his run of Challenger successes, winning singles titles in CH3 Montevideo and CH3 Cancun heading into the 'offseason'. In Montevideo he defeated Boltanski again, this time in the semis, and teamed with Satyagit Guha for the doubles title. It was a tense one, with super tiebreaks required for the last two matches including a 10-8 nailbiter in the final, but they ultimately pulled through.

The final week with Cancun, both players didn't have the form remaining for a dual set so instead of playing doubles, Guha split off for an FT2 adventure in Ecuador. He reached the final there, but came up short against another fatigued player, Esteban Claveria(ESP, #230). Was a close match though going the distance, and doing that well against one of the better futures players shows that Guha is ready to push upwards to that echelon. The previous week he qualified in Montevideo, but another rough draw had him exiting to Chittoor in the second round.

A quality finish overall for both players. The goal of this last push was to improve rankings and therefore quality of practice partners over the break, and that was achieved.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:24 PM   #1128
Brian Swartz
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The Quest For 8.9 Continues
Age 21 Review

** Prakash Mooljee - 94 skill, 66 service, 0 doubles
** Girish Girsh - 94/65/0
** Ritwik Dudwadkar - 93/67/0
** Sushant Chiba - 92/67/0
** Satyagit Guha - 74/58/93
** Nasir Chittoor - 92/71/0

Mooljee is the previous standard-bearer here by a hair, with Dudwadkar right there and Girsh/Chiba a small bit behind. Satyagit Guha continues to lag behind by the same amount from a singles point-of-view, and is much later to futures success for the obvious reasons. Another year and doubles will be close, but probably a bit longer to totally max it out. Nasir Chittoor had a somewhat disappointing year overall, taking longer than I hoped to find Challenger success. He got there at the end of the year, but overall he appears to be roughly the same three thousand XP ahead of the curve that he was a year ago. I'm less confident now that I'll actually get to 8.9 with him, but every player has ups and downs. He was quite close to the next train when he turned 21, but some of the others might have been as well - I can only look at what's actually on the page.
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Old 07-29-2019, 04:28 PM   #1129
Christy
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Does he have an edge physically?

I mean I think Kayeeda would have the jump on most of these in terms of skills. Still well behind on the challenger front due to the fact that some of the over 90 players are faster.

Speaking of the elderly, Mateo Kaspar may just be the oldest no.1 fpr doubles. Prieto might have done it. He was tied first at 38 and 4th the following year so it depends on whether he had lost ground by the time he turned 39 or not. Hart and Hughes seem likely to be a future top pairing and have had good wins in challengers.

Perez is 1 slam off of exactly equalling Alestra's singles titles.

Last edited by Christy : 07-29-2019 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 07-30-2019, 03:43 AM   #1130
Brian Swartz
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Good question - and the answer is no he doesn't. Chittoor's strength is in endurance, which needs to eventually make it's presence felt in skill. 3.1 strength, 2.2 speed which is below-average for my top players. 4.5 endurance is as good as I've ever had. Kasaravalli for example hit 3.7/2.7 in the athletic categories but just sucked in endurance as the other end of that. Most of my players have been in between. Nasir needs to raise technical as much as possible with the endurance and Mehul-as-supertrainer combo. It's working, just not as well as I'd hoped. To really have an all-time great player, I think I'd just need top-notch material a cut or two above what I've found.

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Old 07-30-2019, 06:18 AM   #1131
Christy
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Probably going to come up a bit shy unless you are much better at scheduling than me (very possible). Perez was 4.9 end and seems unlikely to hit 8.9 (his peak so far is 8.72). 100% aging probably does not help as you have a bit more time with your player though so maybe.

I figure you are looking for 120/91 at 94% age to get him there. Approx.

All time great also depends on the era. 10 years ago Perez would get nowhere. Now he has a relatively light top 5 (but a very heavy top 32). I think this will overestimate his ability in terms of trophies but I am ok with that.
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Old 07-30-2019, 05:52 PM   #1132
Brian Swartz
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MUST.HAVE.ANIL.CUP.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:48 AM   #1133
Brian Swartz
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We need the rest of ya'll to enter the 'Anilkophiles' club tournament over the next several hours. We appear to be a bit light on entrants compared to the last couple years. Just a PSA.
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Old 08-02-2019, 05:00 AM   #1134
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup Finals

The good news for France is that they still have the power Kaspar duo in doubles, who easily won their match. The bad news was everything else. Neither Perez or Velilla lost a single set for Argentina, who are the new world champions after a 4-1 victory. I should not like to bet on them being dethroned anytime soon.

Playoffs

** Croatia vs. Romania - Interesting matchup here of a couple of nations from Level 2 trying to move up. Romania won the SF matchup 4-1, but in the vital playoff we have the reverse as Croatia promotes by the same count. What changed? Well, for reasons beyond my understanding, Odimos Csollang(34th) elected not to participate in the playoff round. That left both teams with a big gap between their top singles players, instead of Romania having two quality ones to challenge Srba Dogic and company. After two straight playoff defeats the last couple of years Croatia is back up, while undefeated level 2 champions or not, the Romanians suffer a second straight playoff setback.

** Germany vs. Morocco - Three of the four singles players in this matchup are in the 40-50 range in singles, with a fourth at about 60th. That would seem to portend a close matchup, but the decisive factor was probably the indoor court surface. Either way, Germany wins 4-1 to hold on to their top-level spot while Morocco will spend another year in the second tier.

** Poland vs. Mexico - One would go down in this matchup. Valturri(27th) and Campos(30th) are a quality pair for Mexico and ensured it wouldn't be them. A 5-0 skunking on grass sends Poland down after a two-year stint at Level 1. They're good enough to threaten for promotion again next year if they get the right matchup, but not good enough to stick I don't think.

** Serbia vs. Russia - This will be the first year in a while Serbia stays where they are. From L1 down to 2 in '75, down to 3 in '76, back up to 2 in '77 … but they bit off more than they could chew here in a 5-0 shellacking on clay with a close doubles loss all they can really say for themselves. Only a bad group draw in last year's Group of Death even put Russia, who won five rubbers in round-robin play, in the playoff to begin with. Stachovsky (24th) is fading and Rublev (36th) is a wanna-be, but they are more than good enough to hang in the top tier.

Final Standings

1. Ireland - 2624
2. Spain - 2295
3. Italy - 2233
4. Netherlands - 2093
5. Sri Lanka - 2090
6. Argentina - 2074
7. United States - 2062
8. France - 1998
9. Czech Republic - 1981
10. Thailand - 1858

Ireland is still #1 for at least another year, and probably at least two. You don't lose that kind of lead quickly, esp. when you still make the semifinals. Argentina is of course the big riser here and Sri Lanka also made a smaller move upwards. Expect the Netherlands to remain a power for a while, and you can never totally dismiss Spain or the USA. Italy surprised me though. Two QF losses and one SF the last three years, and before that they were down in level 2. I think they just haven't lost enough points yet … SF in '70, finalist in '71, SF in '72 before a rough patch. That was back when the likes of Gilberto Chinaglia, former world no.4, was a headliner for them. They've managed to be respectable enough not to fall of a cliff while Ireland was dominating I guess.

Next year, we have Italy (3rd), United States (7th), and Germany (14th) in our group. That's Group 1. The Netherlands have been given a free ride through in Group 2, Group 4 is pretty balanced … and France/Russia hav a serious bone to pick about Group 3, this year's group of death. They'll face off against #1 Ireland and #2 Spain. Who knows what they did to deserve that fate. As for us, we should be able to win our group. Having said that, it's going to be a dangerous transition year, but barring a disaster we'll get through to the knockout rounds with relative ease.
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Old 08-02-2019, 05:13 AM   #1135
Brian Swartz
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Club Championship
Third Annual Anil Cup

Third edition ended the same way the first two did; Nicolas Perez against John Hart. And this one was a doozy. Feast on this scoreline: 7-5, 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-6(7). Perez came within inches of losing all three tiebreaks. He could have lost this match at the end; he could also be slapping himself for not winning it in straight sets had he prevailed in the second-set breaker. 401 total points contested, so both players were really winners as they racked up the XP. Hart was fairly soundly outplayed, but somebody forgot to tell him that he's not the champion anymore. Perez becomes the first player to claim the Anilophiles crown in consecutive years.

Perhaps he was making up for the fact that he had lost only nine games combined in the previous two rounds against Algot Hakanson and my own youth Nasir Chittoor. Clavet Moniotte completed a perfect group of all four seeded players making the semis, losing a respectable straight-sets effort to Hart. Interestingly, the Irish no. 1 tried to lose his first two matches almost. Tommy Fitzpatrick had a heartbreaker in the first round for the second year in a row, taking the first two sets before losing the next two ... and then getting bageled in the decisive 5th. Harsh. Then Seamus Hughes put in his two cents, requiring another rally from two sets down.

Doubles could care less about your pointless rankings. Top seeds Corey/Pargeter departed stage right to Intodia/Alenichev in the first round. Not to be outdone, (2) Guha/Chittoor were straight-set losers to qualifiers Hakanson/Moniotte. In the end, Irish power duo Hart/Hughes steamrolled the field, knocking aside another qualifying pair, Chiba/Kasaravalli 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in the title match. That's ... embarassingly thorough.

Guha, for his singles part, lost his qualifying match against Ritwik Intodia who would go on to beat another qualifier in Guintcehv to be the only qualifier to make the quarterfinals. Bravo! Perez (against Chiba) and Moniotte (against Kasaravalli) straight-setted my senior players in the first round of singles. That means Chittoor was the only one he got a match win, and that because he was matched up favorably against Kayeeda. But as always it was still fun.

I nominate Perez for early retirement (jk). Soon it'll be fun to see who is fighting for second place here.

Coming Up …

Next, I spam the thread with more info than you could possibly care about regarding the start of another new year of competition.

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Old 08-02-2019, 05:21 AM   #1136
Christy
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Correction: That was Perez's first club win.

Hart beat him in straight sets in both the previous Anil Cup finals.

Honestly I am looking forward to the start of year info!
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:49 PM   #1137
Brian Swartz
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Oops - not sure why I was so sure Perez had won last year. That'll teach me to rely on memory instead of verifying stuff.
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Old 08-02-2019, 12:51 PM   #1138
Brian Swartz
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2067 Final Rankings

1. Nicolas Perez (25, ARG) - 15,250

After going 92-6 last year, winning four of the five pillars (SF loss at Wimbledon) and four Masters as well, Perez is the undisputed top dog. Now it's about legacy, staying on top for as long as possible winning as much as possible. He could be entering a weird era in which he should be the overall favorite, yet may not be necessarily considered the best on any one surface.

2. Harald Wentz (24, AUT) - 10,420

Wentz's 82-13 mark was remarkably similar to what Perez posted a year ago. For the middle half of the year he was unstoppable on hard courts until fading at the end of it, collecting the first four of the five hardcourt masters. Despite reaching the final of RG and the USO, Harald is still searching for his first Slam title however. How much of a threat he is able to be to Perez on his favored hardcourt will largely determine whether Wentz is to be any kind of serious challenger, or merely the best of many distant alternatives.

3. John Hart (30, IRE) - 6,530

The five-year streak of 91 or more singles victories - and 100 a year ago! - is now over. The sun is setting on Hart's sparkling career, but all good things come to an end. Tennis will miss him.

4. Chisulo Mpakati (24, ZIM) - 6,500

Meteoric though he may be, Mpakati is still on the rise. He reached the semis or better in about half of the big events, but came away with no titles. I'd expect a little more consistency this year, but he'll need more than that to take the next step. Last year he was 0-7 against Perez & Wentz, and those are the guys he now needs to beat for further progress. Interestingly, he won the first six matches against the Austrian but now hasn't beaten him in more than two years. He'll get a lot more chances this year I'd think to try and reverse that trend.

5. Ollie Haas (25, NLD) - 5,615

Judging by points, Haas would appear to be next in line for a Top 4 spot. He'll always be a threat at Wimbledon but broadened his accomplishments with finals at the WTF, Rome, and Shanghai. Like Mpakati, no big titles though and about half the time he was knocked out early. One thing to remember about all these guys is how much more they had to fight through with the draws. A year past, Wentz was 16th, Haas 15th, and Mpakati 11th. By virtue of sheer inertia I expect them to consolidate and achieve somewhat better results as a whole.

6. Il-Sung Jung (25, KOR) - 4,605

Every tournament is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get. Usually it depends on how he lasts in doubles, where Jung is ranked 31st. If he doesn't replicate his final at the Australian he could tumble considerably, while he's capable of being a threat to anybody under the right circumstances on the other hand.

7. Tim de Jong (26, NLD) - 4,150

Aside from the final at Wimbledon, he did almost nothing to merit his ranking at the big tournaments. Only tournament win was the Istanbul 250, and that was several months ago. Overall record of 66-25 is borderline; 72.5% wins which is good but not more than that. So there are definite questions about whether the Dutch no. 2 will hang this far up with his hardcourt weaknesses.

8. Calisto Aviles (24, ESP) - 3,925

No longer just a clay phenom, Aviles has sacrificed some of that strength on the dirt to do better on the hardcourts. He won Monte Carlo but but had a spotty record elsewhere at best. This year he typically won a couple of matches instead of disappearing earlier, but still couldn't hang with the top players on other surfaces. It was just enough to have him narrowly claim a Top 8 spot after barely missing out the previous year. Does the slow upwards trend continue?

9. Tobias Velilla (23, ARG) - 3,670

Let's take a moment to notice that if you remove Hart, you'd have a Top 8 of players 26 or younger ... and only de Jong is that old. Tobias mostly finished the year strong with SF at Cincinatti and the USO, though Shanghai was a disappointment. Up sharply from 24th a year ago, he's the youngest player currently in the Top 10 and has no reason not to expect continued upward momentum.

10. Ali Solberg (28, SWE) - 3,670

Actually tied with Velilla, Solberg is on his way out to the doubles pasture.

11. Srba Dogic (26, CRO)

After the brief dalliance at #3, Dogic is back down roughly where he belongs. Despite his relatively young age, his abilities are already on the decline so I don't expect to have occasion to mention him much in the future.

12. Lucas Perez (25, ARG)

Exactly where he was last year. Has he stalled permanently? Several players passed him up without taking him with them.

13. Barry Molyneaux (29, USA)

I mention him just to note another former top player headed into the sunset.

15. Emilien Mathou(26, FRA)

Last year he was 9th, and I had him pegged as a WTF qualifier. Umm, nope. Does he have a bounce-back year in him?

16. Clavet Moniotte (26, FRA)

Moniotte is headed the other direction, up a few spots into a new tier from 22nd. It'll be interesting to see whether that translates into more consistent results.

18. Algot Hakanson (26, SWE)

The indoor focus paid off in a trip to the Paris SF. Hakanson could prove an interesting figure if he ever rises high enough to make the Tour Finals, but that would seem a tall order. For now, he's trying to push his way into the Top 16 and there's plenty of vets around to expect it to happen soon.

20. Amrik Kasaravalli (25, SRI)

Slid above Chiba late in the year and the two have been flip-flopping. That may happen a bit more but it will soon become permanent that Amrik is the top-ranked Sri Lankan. Still a couple of Challenger titles on the ranks but, like Hakanson, he's eyeing a move into the Top 16 and soon. After a couple of years in the mid-30s, he did at least cement his place here and make progress.

21. Sushant Chiba (31, SRI)

It's time for this elder statesman to give way to others. He 'went doubles' at the end of last year, intending to team with Guha as soon as Chittoor is ready to lean into moving past the Challenger tier. It's not quite time for that yet, but by making the move now Chiba will be able to better hit the ground running in the pairs competition, and make way for the younger player to become the no. 2 singles in WTC play sooner. With only one more serve train left and skill improvements costing almost 8.5k each at this point, he had little left to give the tour anyway - maybe another year or two at most at the elite level.

23. Acke Kjaerstad (24, SWE)

Essentially treading water.

25. Fabio Cagide (22, ESP)

Spain's future is bright between Aviles and this rising star, the first of our new names to take a look at. A few challengers still in his count as you'd expect, Cagide broke out with a SF in Barcelona and QF at Roland Garros. He's a clay specialist, but unlike the senior Spaniard he also is reasonably proficient on hard courts. Definitely one to watch in the coming year.

29. Ross Vicars (21, USA)

Here's another neophyte. Vicars played only two Slams, departing early, and no Masters so he's very much of an unknown. Hardcourts are his best surface, and he is the owner of several challenger titles along with the Winston-Salem 250. Time to see if he can hang with the big boys.

32. Santino Belmon (26, ITA)

Down from 25th a year ago, Belmon is barely hanging on and technically could still be improving which garners him a mention.

33. Joao Narciso (23, BRA)

Narciso had slid just out of the Top 32 after spending most of the year inside it. Still a lot of Challenger points on the docket, and I expect him to bounce up and down over that line a bit. However, the 28 & above contingent now holds a full dozen members, which is a lot of spots to come open. Joao should find himself comfortably in the elite tier before long. It's a land of opportunity right now for moving up ... and the Anilophiles just happen to have a number of players gearing to do just that. This is a happy coincidence of the fates indeed.

35. Helmut Edlund (23, SWE)

Strangely, Edlund won only two challenger events last year. Both were big ones, CH+ events in Braunschweig and Mons. He'll definitely be looking to claim one of the spots opening up.

39. Willy Weigl (23, AUT)

Seven challenger titles and just as many runners-up in addition to those. I don't expect Weigl to be patient much longer either.

57. Mark Smith (20, GBR)

It continues to be the case that Fitz & Chitz have not been able to match the rise of this grass-court phenom from the Isles. With three challenger trophies along with a SF at Queen's Club 500 and another at the Newport 250, Smith is looking to force his way into the upper echelon of challenger players right now.

62. Tommy Fitzpatrick (21, IRE)

Fitzpatrick is not far behind. Couldn't replicate the previous years' Slam successes with a full set of first-round losses, but won three challengers with four runner-up showings and a boatload of semis. A lot more hardware is expected this year.

70. Jozef Weinkove (19, DEU)

An obligatory 'watch for this guy in the future' feature for a Top-100 teenager. Easily within that group, and still has almost three months until his 20th birthday. Weinkove will have a short career, but at least so far he seems to be making the most of his chance.

71(D). Satyagit Guha (21, SRI)

8 Challenger titles in 12 events for the Guha/Chittoor pairing, but they still often find themselves in close matches and are not yet dominant in this tier. In singles, Satyagit is making his way up the futures ranks, presently at 418th. He's been looking strong in those events and regularly winning main-draw matches after qualifying in the challengers, so I expected continued steady advancement.

72(D). Nasir Chittoor (21, SRI)

Didn't see much singles success early in the year, but that changed late as he was champion at his last five tournaments. Until the Anil Cup, Chittoor had gone almost five months without a loss in singles play to go along with the strong push up from about 300th in doubles when last the calendar turned. At 83rd on the solo side, he's well behind Smith and Fitzpatrick ... but he's coming upwards as well.

78. Shakti Vemireddy (21, SRI)

After three finals in the middle of the year, Vemireddy seemed to regress at the end and is still searching out his first Challenger trophy. That's actually one fewer final than he made the year before, but overall did a little better as he's up from 97th. I think Shakti is too good to continue languishing, but not good enough to keep with the Anilophiles listed here.

125. Ritwik Intodia (21, SRI)

A couple low-level challenger wins in Brasilia and Ljubljana a few months back gave Intodia a boost. He's now replaced all but one of the futures results and appears ready for a more serious assault on this tier.

182. Helmut Hoetker (20, SUI)

A modest gain from 251st last year. Hoetker is working to establish himself in the challenger tier with a lot of futures result on the resume.

200. Lubos Rucklov (19, CZE)

The last seven futures events he's played, he won. Three were at the FT1 level. Time for a new challenge.

209. Rakesh Kayeeda (21, SRI)

Surprised to see him still hanging out this low. Futures opposition is no contest for him, but he's struggled to establish himself above the challenger line. Of course it's only a matter of time.

294. Chiang-hui Cheng (19, TPE)

Six consecutive futures titles, though he hasn't played any at the top tier yet. Still, Cheng is clearly getting set for a promotion.

900. Mike Corey (18, USA)

Corey reached as high as #3 in juniors, and has won the last three amateurs he played. He's now a futures player, setting his sights on bigger prizes ahead.

4(J). Patrick Burmann (17, AUT)

One of the oldest juniors this year at 17y 44w, Burmann appears to have a shot at some big titles in that competition.

192(J). Joseph Charriol (16, MAL)

A year behind, Charriol has come close JG4 glory but no titles above JG5. Figure that changes now.

804(J). Raul Almaraz (16, PRT)

A recent pickup, Almaraz is now feverishly working to boost his form in preparation for the new year.

812(J). Rimvidas Batchev (14, BUL)

About to hit his 15th birthday, Batchev has had the usual spotty results in JG5 competition for his first year and will be looking forward to the diluted pool of opposition.

957(J). Eduardo Yroz (14, CHE?)

Just acquired clay specialist from Chile. JG4 QF a week or two ago, but other than that we don't know much about this guy.
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:44 PM   #1139
Brian Swartz
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2068 Season Preview

1. Nicolas Perez (93%, 8.72, +0.06)

Let's take a moment to note that Perez now has 5.5 Skill. I've never seen that before, with anyone. I'm pretty sure even Mateo Kaspar never got that high. I've been able to sporadically hit 5.4, briefly, with a couple of players. And Nicolas is still improving.

2. Harald Wentz (94%, 8.63, +0.13)

This number says Wentz, who has surpassed the aging Rhodes to claim the title of world's top server (4.4), is good enough to make things interesting if Perez hits a cold streak.

3. John Hart (84%, 8.53, -0.16)

Looks pretty bad until you realize that he's about two-thirds trained in doubles already.

4. Chisulo Mpakati (94%, 8.60, +0.14)

Like Wentz, he's still not world-class in terms of technique from the back of the court. His serve has reached a sufficient standard, but definitely still relies on his impressive overall athleticism to make up the difference. It doesn't quite ... but it's close.

5. Ollie Haas (91%, 8.47, -0.02)

In theory at least, Haas is at his peak as a strong all-around player with no weaknesses but also no spectacular strengths to allow him to match the top contenders. Looks for all the world like a best-of-the-rest gatekeeper.

6. Il-Sung Jung (93%, 8.71, +0.01)

Progression halted this year because he put more effort into doubles. The phrase 'you can't fix stupid' is a bit harsh but I think it applies here. Slides into a virtual tie with Perez for theoretical best player in the world, but practically speaking it isn't nearly as close.

7. Tim de Jong (90%, 8.39, -0.09)

While his abilities declined, de Jong rose from 19th to 7th. That's ... weird. It's also a bit early, even for a relatively modest endurance player, for a regression of this size. Regardless of the why, this is another indication he might just fade backwards again.

8. Calisto Aviles (95%, 8.55, +0.11)

The fastest man since Meikeljohn appears to be putting in the work required to become more than a fringe, seasonal concern.

9. Tobias Velilla (95%, 8.43, +0.13)

The serve is right up there with that of Wentz. The rest of the game isn't quite, but that's true of like almost everyone. Favorable odds for him to make the Tour Finals this year I'd say.

10. Ali Solberg (87%, 8.36, -0.26)

That there is known as falling off a cliff. Largely intentional of course.

Top 10 Analysis

'65 Avg - 8.573
'66 - 8.532
'67 - 8.526
'68 - 8.539 (+0.13)

Continued gains and the better players getting up where they belong make this the best group we've seen in three years. It should keep improving for at least the next year or two as we have 6 of the current players improving and only 3 declining (Haas is sort of just there, and probably won't move much). Also interesting is that there is now nobody outside the Top 10 who even comes close to this average, so the players who are here, excepting Solberg who's gone soon, are those who should be. Who is ready to step up and fill in the gaps?

12. Lucas Perez (93%, 8.34, +0.02)

Welp, that there explains why Perez is just treading water. At his age, with solid (3.5) endurance, there's just no good reason for him not to have improved more.

16. Clavet Moniotte (92%, 8.42, +0.17)

After last year's disappointing slight regression, this is a huge step upwards. Unlike Mathou, he shouldn't be done improving and Clavet should seize the spot of top French player firmly here. If he plays his cards right, a berth at the bottom of the Top 10 isn't out of the question.

18. Algot Hakanson (92%, 8.27, +0.06)

Doesn't have the baseline chops and at this point there isn't enough time left to develop it. Hakanson will pass up some of the veterans still, but I don't see him rising above the teens.

21. Amrik Kasaravalli (93%, 8.38, -0.04)

This is one of those cases where I know enough to be able to say the regression isn't real. Amrik is actually still improving a bit ... a little bit. I'd say low teens probably for him this season.

22. Sushant Chiba (80%, 8.29, -0.07)

And here, it's probably worse than the number looks. If not, it soon will be.

23. Acke Kjaerstad (95%, 8.46, +0.08)

Continued modest gains, as well as being somewhat of an underachiever the past couple of years. Kjaerstad would seem to be overdue for a breakout, and seems clearly superior to the higher-ranking Hakanson but stays in his shadow.

25. Fabio Cagide (98%, 8.33, ??)

Cagide's rising stardom is fueled by remarkable athleticism. He's quite fast and might be the current strongest player on the tour. Technique is still coming but it's getting there, and he's definitely good enough to be where he is. Spain has a bright future indeed and should begin to be a major threat in the WTC again.

29. Ross Vicars (100%, 8.27, ??)

Vicars here is even more impressive, and should be the next great American player. Elite power and fairly good speed, not the athlete Cagide is on either front but definitely quality. Well-developed for his age, he also boasts elite marks in the mental game and an even better ability to feed off the support of the crowd. That will count for a lot at the USO and multiple Masters where he will have a partisan following. And he also has high-level willingness to train. Ross is a big-time threat to all of our up-and-coming Anilophiles for sure.

33. Joao Narciso (97%, 8.05, +0.18)

Continued steady progress.

35. Helmut Edlund (97%, 8.05, +0.28)

Heh. That's about as close as you can get with these two.

39. Willy Weigl (97%, 7.93, +0.16)

Weigl is lagging behind a little more in baseline play, holding him back a bit.

57. Mark Smith (100%, 7.87, +0.40)

62. Tommy Fitzpatrick (99%, 8.00, +0.39)

You can see the bunching-up here in terms of our young players. There's barely a sheet of paper between this group from Narciso through Fitzpatrick. Until they all get decisively out of the Challenger tier, an increasing amount of carnage will be had as they jostle for position.

70. Jozef Weinkove (101%, 7.32, ??)

Weinkove is good, but not spectacular by any stretch. Definitely seems to be overranked at this point.

78. Shakti Vemireddy (99%, 7.91, +0.34)

Not gaining quite as fast as the others, but still better than his ranking would indicate.

83. Nasir Chittoor (99%, 7.90, +0.43)

Keeping pace basically. My goal was 8.0 and he's actually not that far from it - it'll come on the next train he does in a few weeks. Of course similar boosts will probably be had by other players in that time. Sometime this year he'll switch over to singles-only, 'Challenger Hero' mode. But it's not quite time yet with the crowded group ahead of him. I'm rooting for all of them just to they can get the heck out of the way. Meanwhile I have exactly 1.0 more to get for the 8.9 goal, and about six years to get there. Of course, it's the hardest point on the scale to acquire.

125. Ritwik Intodia (99%, 7.85, +0.43)

A sharp upward move would seem to be in the offing here.

182. Helmut Hoetker (101%, 7.31, +0.45)

Thought this would be a hair higher, but still a respectable progression.

200. Lubos Rucklov (101%, 7.40, ??)

Rucklov is interesting to be sure, with top-shelf power and mentality, good speed, but also some effort having already been spent on doubles.

209. Rakesh Kayeeda (99%, 7.66, +0.44)

The lack of success last year isn't because he hasn't been working at it. I think it's just been bad luck, but it will come. He's actually down a little from 192nd this time last season, and that's just silly.

294. Chiang-hui Cheng (96%, 6.79, ??)

Possibly not ready for challengers yet, but if not he'll get there soon as he approaches physical peak.

418. Satyagit Guha (99%, 6.82, +0.39)

900. Mike Corey (95%, 6.34, ??)

Strong talent (4.7), but Corey doesn't have the dedication, athleticism, etc. to really stand out. Good speed is his most notable asset.

4(J). Patrick Burmann (98%, 5.15, ??)

Burmann has better mentality, but the athletic side isn't as good. Long-term, I project Corey to have the better career of the two.

192(J). Joseph Charriol (81%, 3.21, ??)

Charriol is physically very weak, somewhat so mentally. Does have pretty good speed and endurance is a little above-average but I think there's better material out there to be found, frankly.

804(J). Raul Almaraz (80%, 2.55, ??)

Another player who probably should be replaced for similar reasons.

812(J). Rimvidas Batchev (61%, 1.79, ??)

And I make the same recommendation here as well. Batchev has reasonably good talent but will peak at 2.7 endurance with athleticism and mentality all definitely on the low side. It's hard to do much with that.

957(J). Eduardo Yroz (73%, 1.96, ??)

Yroz has a little more about him. A meteoric style player, he'll bring himself up to adequate athleticism, 3.2 endurance, and has a pretty good mental game as well. Not a superstar candidate but there's enough here to fashion a player who could spend some time among the Top 32 before he's done.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-02-2019 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:48 AM   #1140
thehitcat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
We need the rest of ya'll to enter the 'Anilkophiles' club tournament over the next several hours. We appear to be a bit light on entrants compared to the last couple years. Just a PSA.

Sorry was on vacation and had to set it up on my Iphone. Fun final however
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Old 08-03-2019, 05:28 PM   #1141
ntndeacon
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Location: Alabama
Took the advise on Batchev. Dumped him and got a 16 yr old...

Aleksije Konstantinović
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Up the Posh!
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Old 08-05-2019, 11:01 AM   #1142
AnalBumCover
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: La Mirada, CA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
2068 Season Preview
192(J). Joseph Charriol (81%, 3.21, ??)

Charriol is physically very weak, somewhat so mentally. Does have pretty good speed and endurance is a little above-average but I think there's better material out there to be found, frankly.

My Maltese experiment might not be going very well to start. The pool is very limited, but then again, so is the small island with a population of under 500k.

I'll probably take the next several years to create some players to help seed the Malta pool. In the meantime, I'll be on the lookout for those Monday morning regens.
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Old 08-05-2019, 03:31 PM   #1143
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
That makes a lot of sense - I wasn't thinking about dealing with just the one country. Enjoy climbing that steep mountain

January

Germany was our foe for the first step in the WTC, and we lost only two combined sets en route to a 5-0 win. Nice victory in doubles for one of them, and Kasaravalli dropped one in the opening singles match but still was plenty good to grab the victory. The USA beat Italy 3-2, and the Italians are up next for us … indoors. That'll complicate things and it wouldn't at all shock me to see them 'upset' us given that surface.

Amrik Kasaravalli ended up playing two warmup events that both ended the same. In Brisbane (2nd round) and Auckland (QF) he exited to upcoming phenom and hardcourt specialist Odimos Csollang. Csollang wasn't ranked quite high enough to make the start-of-year rundown, but we've mentioned him before and he'll definitely be there next season, sliding up a few spots to 31st after his performance in those events. Sushant Chiba entered Chennai, having a solid showing with a QF exit to Velilla, 7-5 7-5 defeat there. Chittoor/Guha haven't played since the WTC, though there were some tough choices whether to enter an event or take a subpar practice week. They were still in need of some more rest and training overall.

Coming Up …

The Australian Open. For the first time in many years, I will have all four of my players participating. It should be a fun adventure to kick off the new year.
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Old 08-06-2019, 05:17 PM   #1144
Christy
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Quick splash from some singles players. Solheim/Solberg and Hart/Hughes both made the doubels semi finals. Hart/Hughes taking out the no. 2 seeds as well.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:51 PM   #1145
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
2068 Australian Open

A bit of background before we get to the results. The doubles team of Solberg (#10 singles) and Solheim (#20 singles) has abandoned solo play, not at all an unusual thing at this point in their careers. But this does open up two seed positions. Which leads me to ...

de Boer, de Boer, and da Bore

I've seen an increasing amount of Peter de Boer(NLD) in various places. Or rather, I seem to have. See the thing is there is also the case of Pieter de Boer (NLD). Same country, same last name, one letter difference in the first. And it gets weirder. Ages are just a single week apart, with two different managers. Both were created by the same manager, but one was discarded. And now, at age 22 and a half years old, they are just three spots apart in the rankings, 35th and 38th. Gonna be fun telling those two apart.

So back on topic, Satyagit Guha had a couple of close qualifying singles matches. He won the second round in the three sets, but a close two-setter ended him in the final round. I thought he did well to get that far. In doubles, the younger duo lost in the first round of the main draw to one of the better unseeded teams, and did so pretty badly (3-6, 6-2, 6-0). A good demonstration that they are probably not going to move up much further in the rankings than they are. Nasir Chittoor had a very average draw, matching up with Chile's ill-prepared Raul Gil. Gil, ranked around 60th, became his first Slam victim in very routine fashion, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Nasir has now won a Slam match … and he lost to Aviles in the second round, but it was still a reasonable result for him. Mark Smith elected for a practice week, something I considered doing again but it didn't look to me like there were enough players going that route to make it worthwhile. In other unseeded Anilophiles news, Tommy Fitzpatrick lost just a single game to an unseeded German player, then upset the last seed in the draw, Rublev, to earn a third-round date with Perez. A respectable 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 showing there and definitely a good result for the young Irishman who is looking strong to follow in his predecessors footsteps and quite possibly replace the man he just lost to eventually as the next world no. 1. Willy Weigl had a tough four-set win over former young star Stanislav Dobos(ROU) … Dobos never had that talent materialized and has a career-high ranking of 42nd. Weigl was knocked out by his much more well-known countryman Wentz in the second round, taking just four games. Similarly, Helmut Edlund won a four-set first match, then went out to Haas in the second round. Good to see all of our unseeded players avoid going up against a top opponent at the first hurdle, that's some good fortune for the club. On the other hand, Edlund is a bit of a special case. He was looking good for a seeded spot, but then one of the de Boer's won a 250 the week before to move above him. That put the Swede in a tie with the Russian Rublev for the last spot … and apparently he lost a coin-toss or something. That's a really rough way to miss out on an opportunity for a much better draw.

Meanwhile, Joao Narciso was moved up to the 31st slot, and made it to the third round as did all but two seeds. There it was L. Perez who knocked him out in straight sets. And there was a lot of other carnage at that stage. (17) Algot Hakanson went down in four sets to Dogic, while (19) Seamus Hughes didn't duplicate the doubles success in an epic 11-9 5th-set defeat to Aviles. John Hart, still ranked third in the world, was badly fatigued and it showed in his early exit to … Chiba. Three sets no less. Hart was 1 of 13 on break chances but was actually definitely outplayed in that one. Assuming the doubles success continues, I doubt we'll see too much more of him in singles events. Mathou also escaped Gonzoles in five in a fine match. I was a bit befuddled by the relatively poor showing of Csollang, who was defeated in straight sets by Moniotte. And Kasaravalli had a solid 'upset' of (7) Tim de Jong in four, a match that I considered him a slight favorite in and which presented an interesting opportunity.

After the third round, the final quarter held four players that you would not have expected to see in the semifinals, but one was about to make their year if not quite possibly their career in most cases. Chiba was the long-shot but he was still alive, and Moniotte based on how he's been playing the favorite I think. In between, flip a coin between Kasaravalli and Perez. Leaving aside Chiba, between the other three they came in with one Slam QF combined (Moniotte at RG last year). So no matter what, somebody was taking a big step forward.

Form held in the fourth thankfully, except for the matches involving my players along with one other one. Mpakati was pushed to five by Srba Dogic who is still a threat on hard courts, while Il-Sung Jung lost in similar fashion to Velilla. A surprising close three-set win for Chiba over Clavet Moniotte found Sushant once again was the better player and once again scattered opportunities against him with only one break of serve surrendered. I don't know what he's eating this week, but I want some. Then Kasaravalli stopped Lucas Perez in a very close 6-4, 7-6(8), 7-6(6) decision that should have probably gone the distance. It was one of those where I'm sure his mental edge played into it, but Perez is above-average in that category as well. I had this match as basically a pick-em, and it was … it just fell his way. Then the quarterfinals held a couple expected results, and a couple of surprises. Perez in three over Ollie Haas, Wentz in four over Calisto Aviles meant the favorites moved on. In a close three, Chisulo Mpakati went out to Velilla, the 'other Argentine' making his second straight … and second ever … Slam semifinal. And in the totally-predicted (NOT) all-Sri Lanka match at the bottom of the draw, I got the result I didn't want but still had to clap. Amrik Kasaravalli was outlasted by the nearly 32-year-old Chiba, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3.

And then came the thunderbolt in the first semifinal. Nicolas Perez, top player in the world and winner of the last four hardcourt Slams including two here in Australia, was ousted by his countryman Tobias Velilla. Perez controlled the first set but was outplayed from there on, throwing the predicted result out the window. Meanwhile Wentz did what you'd expect, tossing Sushant Chiba in three. Chiba had a chance to steal the first set but, after saving a couple of set points against while serving to get into a tiebreak, he double-faulted on the next one. The script was also ignored in the final, as Harald Wentz figured to get his maiden title. How much better a chance are you going to get then having Perez knocked out beforehand? Well, after taking the first two sets he missed his chance in a third-set tiebreak, ultimately falling to a comeback by Velilla 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4! The trophy stays in Argentina, just with a different player. In a very even overall match, both players had half a dozen breaks … but Wentz required a reasonable 15 chances while Tobias converted every.single.one of his. I don't think I've ever seen that before, 6-for-6 in a slam final. The Austrian actually slightly outpointed him overall, 150-148, but of course that isn't what really matters.

A number of ranking shakeups. Kasaravalli actually stayed where he is though he did gain ground and still appears to be on his way to the next tier. Chiba is up to 16th after his first SF showing in exactly three years. How ironic it is that he pulls this after I've started throwing everything into doubles? Jung slips a few spots to 9th after failing to defend last year's strong showing, while the new champion Velilla pushes his way up past Haas to 5th overall. Mpakati is up to third and the gap between the top two narrows. There are suddenly a lot more questions at the top of the sport, questions that players, pundits, and managers must all contemplate as not much happens for the next month while we take a break heading into the first two Masters of the year.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-07-2019 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:23 AM   #1146
Brian Swartz
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February/March

The matchup with Italy in the WTC is, as I mentioned before, one I expected to go against us due to it being indoors - a very favorable surface for them. The start sort of went that way. Chiba won in straight sets against their no. 2 singles, then Kasaravalli lost in four against their top player, #32 Santino Belmon. Another four-set loss in doubles put us one rubber away from defeat. Then Belmon took the court again versus Sushant Chiba, and Sushant proved his championship pedigree in an impressive comeback victory. 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6), 7-6(3). Aside from the bad start, he had plenty of chances to lose this game and should have. Both players served well with 48 combined aces, but there isn't a key stat that didn't tilt against him. Just found a way to win. That gave Amrik Kasaravalli the chance in the decider, and just as had happened in the first rubber Angloma couldn't compete. Straight-sets win, and a 3-2 'upset' of the Italians!

That means we've clinched a spot in the quarterfinals. We'll go up against the United States on clay, which should help us, to determine the group champion.

Next, Kasaravalli looked for a good points opportunity. He chose the Delray Beach 250, where he entered as the top seed. Tommy Fitzpatrick entered as well, but was taught a rude lesson by Vicars in the quarters. Gregory Gulley was the opponent in the final, and Amrik couldn't get by both him and the partisan crowd in a 7-5, 6-3 defeat which ended without a single break chance on his part. Gulley and Vicars, who lost in the semis to the eventual champion, both did well to enter this event held in their home country … particularly since both feed of the crowd very well (4+ in that rating).

I then faced a difficult scheduling choice. It was time for youngsters Nasir Chittoor and Satyagit Guha to get out there. Two contradicting concerns presented themselves. Was it best for me to keep playing them together and maximizing their xp and points during tournament weeks? This was my initial inclination, but then I reflected on the fact that there are a lot of Masters coming up. Five in ten weeks. Chittoor's ranking is high enough that I feared it would become difficult to find reasonable practice opportunities in those weeks. The traditional answer has always been just play a challenger for cheap points … but if I play the pair together they'll have way too many matches for that to work.

After mulling this over, I hesitantly split them up. CH2 Casablanca is where Chittoor entered, an event with a joke draw featuring Anilophile Helmut Hoetker as the 2-seed at 156th. No insult intended there, but Hoetker had an unfortunate run-in with one of those high-skill low-serve guys and lost in the semis while Nasir easily claimed the trophy, his 6th consecutive Challenger title. Meanwhile Guha had an easier road than I expected in a F2 event in China, taking the championship there without losing a set. He'll move up to the top futures tier now.

In all my pondering of that decision, I totally forgot to enter any event for the two senior players that week. Doh.

Coming Up ...

The IW/Miami double as the season heats up. We've only had one big event in over three months now, but there are ten more to come in the next half a year from here, the heart of the tour's competition. The big question right now hangs over the head of Harald Wentz. Last season he won both these events to emerge as the top hardcourt player in the world, but didn't end the year that way and hasn't shown he can reproduce the same level of success. If he repeats, he stays as a legitimate challenger to Perez and the unquestioned #2. If he doesn't, Nicolas strengthens his grip and the Austrian slips towards the who-the-heck-knows mix of Mpakati, Velilla, Aviles, maybe even Jung/Haas and whoever else decides to emerge. Chiba and Kasaravalli, partly due to my screwing up the previous week's scheduling, are the top two seeds outside the Top 16. Grrr.

For Chittoor & Guha, I contemplated challenging Fitzpatrick in CH2 Santiago but narrowly decided against it. Helping me make up my mind to practice instead were a few quality players willing to hit with Nasir on clay, among them Anilophile Mark Smith (47th). I'm going to continue playing it by ear every week right now, finding myself hemming and hawing over the best choice on almost a tournament-by-tournament basis.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:09 AM   #1147
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Indian Wells

We got the marquee matchup this time, and top-ranked Nicolas Perez easily dismissed #2 Harald Wentz 6-1, 6-4. Perez was fresher for this one, but I really don't think it would have mattered. All reasonable doubts as to his ability to stay on top of the hill are squashed for now.

Ever the not-quite-there, Chisulo Mpakati was a straight-sets loser to Perez in the semis, while (11) Lucas Perez , the forgotten Perez, on the other side took a set from Wentz before fading. It's his 5th Masters semi, but he's still searching out that first trophy. L. Perez reversed the situation from the AO in a nearly identical draw for Amrik Kasaravalli. Once again he favorable drew de Jong, and once again he won, but this time came up short 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5 at the next hurdle. It shouldn't have been even that close, but both players did poorly on break chances. (29) Joao Narciso also made an impression, pushing Haas hard in the fourth round and knocking out Moniotte the match before that … after needing a third-set TB to defeat household-name and 89th-ranked Jakob Nazoruk of Poland. Obviously he needs no further introduction. But survive and advance, as they say.

Sushant Chiba met his demise in brutal fashion against in-form Tobias Velilla ... who then went out quite surprisingly to Dogic. A few surprises here to be sure headlined by the lesser Perez, but also a lot of the top players acting like it. Perhaps the match of the tournament was Molyneaux over Cagide in the second round, 4-6, 7-6(9), 7-6(2), a most narrow escape for experience over youth ... for the moment. Chittoor/Guha elected to take another practice week.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:09 PM   #1148
Christy
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Well Miami didn't go to plan. Still IW is good to slow down Wentz's charge and a 9th masters. 1 more than Alastra. Still 1 slam short and 30 something weeks at no. 1.

Another strong clay season will help. Lucas Perez is making another charge it seems. We will see if he can have a strong clay season.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:55 AM   #1149
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy
IW is good to slow down Wentz's charge and a 9th masters. 1 more than Alastra. Still 1 slam short and 30 something weeks at no. 1.

You'll make it with yawning ease. Fun fact about the whole Legends ranking; it seems to care basically only about Slams. I was amused, don't remember if I posted about it at the time, when last year Chiba exceeded Ritwik Dudwadkar for 4th on the Sri Lanka list. Of the five criterion listed, excluding age, Dudwadkar is ahead in top doubles ranking (108th to 215th), top singles ranking (1st to 2nd), Masters won (10 to 7), and WTFs won (1 to 0). But Chiba has 4 Slams to his 3, so who cares about all the rest of that. I have a hard time swallowing it, but whatevs.
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:19 AM   #1150
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Miami

So as noted, this one didn't go according to plan. For pretty much anyone. Let's start at the beginning here. The carnage began in the second round. A strong run of recent results by (28) Joao Narciso was ended in a brutal loss to Belgraver (55th) in which the pride of Brazil managed just four games. We'll just assume that he, ahem, enjoyed himself a bit too much the previous night. Molyneaux, Gonzoles, and de Boer all suffered a similar fate. In the third, Chiba took advantadge of one the newly-created holes in the draw to press forward. Seamus Hughes losing out to Wentz is no surprise and a credible result, while another substandard showing from (13) Clavet Moniotte ended in a tight loss to Kjaerstad. He looked so strong at the end of last season ... now seems to be slumping unfortunately. (19) Algot Hakanson knocked out Rhodes in a three-set affair, a key victory for his quest to move up a tier. (17) Amrik Kasaravalli lost to Jung in a match that appeared closer than it really was, while (5) John Hart was dumped by Vicars in a pair of tiebreaks . .. 15-13 in the first one!

Headlining the fourth round was Nicolas Perez exiting the stage to the other Perez, who had narrowly avoided being dumped out against Stachovsky in the previous round. What is it about our current #1 when he goes up against his countrymen? Almost like he feels sorry for them or something. Anyway, Sushant Chiba managed to push Mpakati to three before being handed a breadstick in the final frame. Hakanson was pushed out by (29) Odimos Csollang, and Jung managed a straight-set win over Tobias Velilla who has not been able to validate his AO title.

A reasonable top half minus N. Perez, but the bottom half were wide open for Harald Wentz. Not a single Top-10 player between him and the title match. So of course he lost immediately to Csollang, 7-6(5), 6-4, throwing the entirety of the draw into chaos. L. Perez went out to Aviles, the big chance of Chisulo Mpakati to finally get a big title went away immediately as well - third-set breaker defeat against Haas. And local favorite (22) Ross Vicars got a beat-down from Jung.

Nobody ranked higher than sixth was left for the semis. A narrow first match with Ollie Haas, the highest-ranked remaining player, losing out to Aviles 7-6(7), 7-5. 'Pipe-dream' Csollang almost got by Jung in the second match, splitting a pair of tiebreaks before losing the third set. At least there was some high-quality close matches for the spectators, even if they didn't get to see the expected titans. Calisto Aviles grabbed the first set of the final in a tiebreak, but came up short of getting his first big trophy on hardcourt as Il-Sung Jung bounces back after being shoved out of the Top 10. His second Masters, over a year after his first at the '66 Shanghai event, will elevate him back onto the first page and drop Dogic from it in the continuing carousel. Other than Perez and sometimes Wentz, everything else looks like a game of glorified Whack-A-Mole to be frank. Somebody new pops up almost every tournament, only to disappear for a while, then pop up again later.

Elsewhere ...

Entering CH2 Baranquilla was the right choice I'm convinced, but we didn't do well there. Nasir Chittoor was seeded 6th, though not ranked far behind the competition here. He's had some good practice matches of late against Norwegian Magnus Gronhag and come out on top in his share of them, but this time ended on the short end of a 7-6(5), 6-3 count in the quarterfinals. A narrow first-round doubles win for the top seeds led to a QF loss as well, and Satyagit Guha made it through qualifying only to lose to American Tim Gudsell, who is definitely a superior singles performer. Been a while since we had one of those but we definitely got our medicine here, and it shows that while Chittoor does well in weak fields, he still isn't ready to take on the Challenger elite and consistently beat them. Trainer Anil Mehul gets some extra work here minimizing the damage from the early defeats. Meanwhile, somewhat ironically, it was in fact Gudsell and Gronhag who made it to the title match against each other.

It'll be curious to see the shuffling that happens tomorrow, when - if I'm not too lazy to do it - the next ratings supplement is due out.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-16-2019 at 03:27 AM.
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