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Old 08-10-2022, 08:59 AM   #1251
Chas in Cinti
High School Varsity
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
YES!!!! I'm on board... one of my favorite dynasties (especially the early years)...
Email: [email protected]
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Old 08-10-2022, 11:19 AM   #1252
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Alabama
Nice! bring on the Sri Lankans!
Up the Posh!
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Old 08-10-2022, 08:02 PM   #1253
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
Country Rankings
As of Week 11, 2089

1. Greece - 2,474
2. Spain - 2,442
3. Germany - 2,356
4. France - 2,184
5. United States - 2,135
6. Mexico - 2,120
7. Cyprus - 2,085
8. Great Britain - 1,932
9. Austria - 1,915
10. Ireland - 1,861

45. Sri Lanka - 1,164

Greece just took the top spot - we'll get to why in the listing of the current top players - and of course the rest of the Top 5 are the usual powerhouses. Sri Lanka actually isn't as down in the dumps as you might expect, but make no mistake about it they are still falling. Of course when I started this adventure they were 86th had spent 40 years uninterrupted at the bottom tier of the WTC. So by that standard, these are great times!

A few years after I stopped managing, they had their last hurrah with back-to-back losses in the finals to Netherlands and the de Boer brothers in '70 and '71. Despite a quality doubles team, in both cases it was 4-1 shellackings with Nasir Chittoor, ranked 5th at the time, able to take home one singles victory both years.

For the rest of the 70s they either lost in group play or in the quarterfinals, until the decline really got going in 2079 as they fell out of Level 1 entirely, part of a string of eight consecutive WTC setbacks. It would get worse; nine straight losses from '82-'84 nearly sent them to back-to-back relegations, staved off only by defeating Guatemala to stay at Level 3 and avoid the bottom tier. Last year they stayed up again by defeating Uruguay, and it's quite possible that we're going right back to the relegation playoffs again this year. Losses to Canada and Korea leave the last place in Group 1 up to a matchup against the Slovak Republic. 42-year-old former player of mine Ritwik Intodia paces the doubles, which is sad enough, but at present there isn't a singles representative in the Top 300. By player rankings at least, the Slovaks are a strong favorite.

It seems inevitable we will sink to the bottom tier of the World Team Cup again at some point. Frankly, it would seem inappopriate if we didn't.
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Old 08-10-2022, 08:58 PM   #1254
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
I've also identified the player I think will be the best trainer candidate. Don't have enough points for them yet, and since I'm not at all attached to my first, highly-expendable players, I reset which gave me enough with 25 points to spare.

For the price of 125 RacketBux, I give you the unquestioned top talent of the currently active Sri Lankan players and my first long-term acquisition: 23-year-old Sushant Shrivastava. At present he's ranked 832nd in singles, 1579th in doubles, which places him 4th and 7th respectively among our players who actually have rankings, all 10 of them that Sri Lanka can claim. I missed Shrivastava initially because he's younger than I was looking for (late 20s at the youngest generally for trainer candidates), but he's just the best by a wide enough margin that we will wait longer.

We'll also get to try to contribute in the World Team Cup before too long I think. Shrivastava is just past his physical peak at 97% and also has a good 97% aging factor. 4.3 talent, endurance peaked at a quite respectable 3.5. Average strength, but quite slow moving around the court, and a strong mental approach at 3.8. He's been managed by the game his whole career with the usual results including too much in doubles, not enough in serve, etc.

Sushant has been throwing himself at the futures wall, with a QF finish in Argentina a few weeks ago but otherwhise losing early. As usual we'll draw down his tournament participation, he'll have a few weeks of practice events before he gets back out there again, and see what we can do about training him up. If I had to guess from here, I figure he peaks as a high-level futures player but my sense of that is very rusty. Should have a few years of improvement and development to go before he reaches his peak. So a quicker entry into competitive play, at least at a lower level, than I was expecting but I couldn't pass him up.

Crunching the formula for the first time, he comes out at 6.13. Based on that, I'm going to boost my prediction and say he may have a shot at becoming a low-level Challengers player - and should definitely of course become Sri Lanka's #1 for a period. I don't think I've ever had a player in this range. It may be too high to reach, but I'm setting a goal for him to qualify for the main draw of a Slam at some point during his career. Gives me something ambitious to shoot for at any rate.
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:56 PM   #1255
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
There's one other player from our small nation worth picking up. He's by far the most expensive Sri Lankan, and as luck would have it also well-spaced age wise at 18. Right now he's doing nothing, potential being wasted every week as I twiddle my thumbs awaiting enough points to purchase his services.

But with one player at 23, another at 18, it's a good time to get our first VIPGen rolling. He won't be tripping over any other players, and the sooner we get some top-shelf talent moving upwards, the better. Of course there's still a wide range of possibilities, and pulling the trigger is always nerve-wracking as you never know what's going to come out of the mystery box.

Since we're just starting back up, only one bullet to be fired here. Meet Girish Raychaudhari. Say that last name ten times quickly, I dare you. Heck, say it once and you're a better man than I.

Age: 14y 2w.
Aging Factor: 98%
Talent: 4.6
Mentality: 3.9
Peak Endurance: 4.1-4.2
Peak Strength: 2.7-2.8
Peak Speed: 3.4-3.5

I've seen both better and worse. On the positive side talent is pretty good, mentality is quite strong, and speed is quality considering that's the attribute I always mention as weakest. Also like how very young he is, giving a little more time to work on him. On the other side, endurance is just a hair on the low side for these, strength is a fairly poor roll, aging factor slightly higher than I prefer. But he'll definitely do.

Time will tell whether Raychaudhari has what it takes to crack the list of past legends. For better or worse, he's leading the rebirth effort.
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Old 08-13-2022, 01:43 PM   #1256
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Rankings Update
Q2 2088

We'll take a fuller look at the up and comers and all that at the end of the year. For now, let's get to know the powers that be.

1. Leon Polychroniadis (25, GRC) - 15,755

Leon is a dominant #1, having taken the spot last summer, and won't peak for probably at least a year. He's the typical guy with above-average tools, high but not spectacular endurance, and appears to have been managed exceptionally well. Polychroniadis currently holds all four Slam titles. On the other hand, he just suffered a pair of semifinal defeats in Indian Wells and Miami, so perhaps he's not as impregnable as it looked when he went unbeaten from Roland Garros to after the US Open last year. It's easy to see why Greece has taken the mantle of top tennis country in the world with him around though.

2. Renke Cananis (26, DEU) - 10,580

Cananis has the strange distinction of having won more World Tour Finals (3) than Grand Slams (2). Cananis has the best serve in the game and is seemingly impervious to cracking under pressure, though he can't hang with the other top players when it comes to baseline play. He's still not quite reached his best tennis, so Renke ought to be a fixture for at least a couple years near the top of the heap.

3. Alexander Reimann (27, DEU) - 7,670

Exceptionally talented with good but not excellent supporting abilities, Reimann appears to have gone about as far as he can in what looks to be a strong era of champions. A couple years back it appears the competition wasn't quite as fearsome, and he won the Australian and French back-to-back. Last year it was a couple of runner-up finishes, and he looks to be about at his peak. Hanging onto a spot as a second-tier player is his most realistic aim.

4. Themis Xanthos (26, CYP) - 7,640

Right there with Reimann is a rare sight - a top player from Cyprus. Xanthos is the only Top 10 player in the island's history, the only Slam winner ('85 AO), and the only Masters titlist (5, including IW a couple weeks ago). Well-rounded is the term for his style of play, with a particular affinity for hardcourts. Purely from a personal standard point of view, this year or next are expected to be his finest.

5. Toni Bardales (25, ESP) - 5.090

You just knew there had to be a Spaniard around these parts; there always is. Managed by long-running success serrano, presently the 4th-ranked on this server, Bardales still has hopes of creeping closer and putting pressure on the Top 4. He's a clay specialist with a little bigger serve than you might expect, and the strong mental game and grinder mentality that you would.

6. Jochen Weigle (24, SUI) - 5,065

Weigle has a solid year of development in hand on any of the competition above him, and could well be the next #1. His work ethic is a cut above, and the only aspect of his game that isn't quite there yet is the first serve delivery. The mental side is quite good, although not nearly that of Cananis.

7. Solitris Papadias (26, GRC) - 4,650

Part B of Greece's glorious story, Papadias is the most dedicated player we've yet run into on this list, and it shows in technical abilities that overshoot some #1s I've seen. The raw power isn't there though, and while calling him a 'mental midget' would be a bit much, there's definitely quite a bit to be desired in his performance under pressure. Solitris was once ranked 5th and is still improving, but it's tough sledding right now.

8. Ben Faille (20, FRA) - 3,985

You read that right - there's a 20-year-old crashing this party. Faille is a shooting star that will burn out more quickly than the others, but it's hard to imagine him not reaching the top and staying there for a while regardless. He's got the most obsession devoting to improving his game that has ever been seen in the sport. Because of that, despite his youth he's almost caught up to some of the players ahead of him in shotmaking. Very good marks in speed, mentality, even reasonably strong - and when the tour visits his home country he feeds off the crowd well there also.

The amazing part here is, he was a free agent a few months ago. His former manager appears to have left the game, but he was snatched up wisely and immediately by pavlicker, one of the Anilophiles. The only question is how long his reign of terror will be, and how brutal for the rest of the tour.

9. Eddy Copperfield (27, AUS) - 3,610

Copperfield is responsible for upsetting Polychroniadis in Miami, vaulting him to a new career high. Talent and mental toughness he has. What he also has is an inability to compete at this level consistently from the back of the court, though his serve is certainly on point. This is pretty much Eddy's fifteen minutes of fame.

10. Klaus Schwarzkopf (30, AUT) - 3,520

Once upon a time, Schwarzkopf was the world #2. Now, he seems to have given up - the last time he was seen in a tournament of any kind was the Australian Open and he's been prematurely put out to pasture as a trainer (4.2) because reasons. So it's all free-fall here, making way for the next generation to rise.

The big questions as the tour turns to clay seem to be how quickly Faille will rise, whether Bardales especially and Weigle can inch further upwards, and whether the cracks in Polychroniadis's armor are temporary. As packed as it is at the top, the last couple of spots in this run-down could very well see some changes over the next few months if anyone can step up.
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Old 08-14-2022, 08:06 AM   #1257
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup, Level 3, Group 2, Round 3
Slovak Republic (39th) vs. Sri Lanka (45th), Indoors

- Monday: Radobrano d. Datar, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1
- Tuesday: Matejka d. Sankait, 7-6(2), 6-1, 6-1
- Wednesday: Intodia/Datar d. Prazsky/Radobrano, 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-3
- Thursday: Radobrano d. Sankait, 7-5, 6-2, 6-1
- Friday: Matejaka d. Datar, 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(0), 6-7(2), 6-4

Slovak Republic defeats Sri Lanka 4-1!

Can't exactly say this wasn't expected, but I was hoping. Weird seeing it play out and having done almost nothing with any of these players, none of my current charges involved, no influence to exert on the outcome. A tough doubles victory is all we get, three of the four singles matches we had one close set and then folded like accordions. And don't ask me to make sense of that dead rubber at the end. I think maybe the Slovak player just got bored after a while? Would have been nice to get a singles win at least, but it wasn't to be.

So now we wait till the end of the year to see who we face in the relegation playoffs. Objectively, the group we have going right now would be one of the worst even in Level 4. We barely deserve to be in the competition at all, so I'm not holding out much hope for us to stay up again. It's more about trying to find a way to stabilize the situation and improve enough so we at least aren't embarassing ourselves on the bottom tier - sinking there is nearly a foregone conclusion unless we catch some nation horrifically out of form for some reason.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-14-2022 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 08-15-2022, 04:58 AM   #1258
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
We'll be seeing him more later I'm sure, but I wanted to throw a quick spotlight on Oleg Urazov (22, CAN). He's presently ranked 24th, and looks like the best of the next generation who isn't getting the press billing of being on the first page just yet. Urazov is also managed by fellow Anilophile pavlicker.

Oleg has the slowest aging curve, so we should not be bothered by the fact that he's still working his way through the crowd. He has a 4.0 or better in all the key stats except for Mentality, which is still credible at 3.3. None are higher than his 4.4 Endurance though, so he's the epitome of excellent but doesn't have that one thing to make everyone look at him as a generational talent.

Technical skills aren't there yet, but they look to be on a solid path to boosting up. Only Faille, with the same manager, is younger and in the Top-32, so pavlicker is in an interesting situation where he could well have two successive #1s from his own collection of players. That's be quite impressive if it pans out, and what's even more impressive is that both players are natural in-world gens, not manager creations.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-15-2022 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 08-15-2022, 02:16 PM   #1259
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Madison, WI
Tried to do right by you with Chittoor. Welcome back!
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Old 08-16-2022, 06:02 AM   #1260
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Oh I'd say you did just fine; 6th on the Legends list, #2 singles, 3 Slams. I've definitely had players do worse. Thanks! I did find it amusing that Anilophiles Club is still pretty much going strong.
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Old 08-16-2022, 12:53 PM   #1261
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
So here's a new one. I made a hire; as I mentioned in the other thread, I realized there was a hole in my approach; I wasn't going for a quick, lower-quality trainer. That's particularly relevant here as Shrivastava has another two decades plus as a player. So I brought in, literally taking every.single.point I had which means I couldn't have done it earlier even if I wanted to, 31-year-old Manoj Datar.

Datar is the #2 singles player for Sri Lanka, but more importantly by far the most 'trainer-ready' option. The amusing part: he has -126 experience coming in. I didn't know negative experience was possible. Pretty sure it's not supposed to be. And he's not going to be improving anything for a while: I want to bank the 7.5k experience he needs to become a trainer ASAP, so that as soon as Raychaudhari gets enough physical development to need his services, I can retire Datar to trainer duty. That'll actually hurt us short-term in the WTC, but it needs to be done.

Manoj Datar grades out as a 3.78 trainer initially. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to boost him, but I'll do what I can.
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Old 08-16-2022, 01:12 PM   #1262
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
Monte Carlo Masters

The clay season begins! The story of the early rounds was 30-year-old Sergi Vaeza of Spain. Even in his best years, Vaeza never got further than the quarterfinals at a big event. He equaled that here, eliminating (7) Solitris Papadias (GRC) by the narrowest of margins, then beating Urazov for good measure. It was the only early upset in an otherwhise by-the-numbers tournament, and Vaeza was given his medicine 6-2, 6-2 by Cananis in the quarterfinals.

Elsewhere (8) Ben Faille matched up with Polychroniadis and lost in a pretty close two-setter, Jochen Weigle was rather embarrassed with a first-set bagel against Reimann though he did bounce back for a better second set - not good enough though. And Toni Bardales knocked out (4) Themis Xanthos 7-5, 6-3.

In the semis, Bardales took a set off of (1) Leon Polychroniadis before eating a breadstick in the decider. On the other side, Alexander Riemann came up on the short end of a tight all-German semi against Cananis 7-6(8), 6-4. That left the final between #1 and #2, and try as he might (2) Renke Cananis couldn't pull off the upset. Polychroniadis claims his 8th Masters Shield, 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-3. The Greek world no. 1 relentlessly attacked when returning second serves, and that proved to be the difference.

Neither Polychroniadis or Cananis are particularly clay-focused; in fact neither has as much as a 30% focus on the surface. It looks like they're just that much better than everyone else. Bardales is in kind of a tough spot trying to move up into the Top 4. He's chosen to defend his Barcelona title next week, but that'll make him just that much more fatigued moving into Rome and Madrid. It looks like everyone else is just playing for getting far enough into the big events to lose to one of the top two players at this point other than the odd possible upset here or there.

Elsewhere ...

Sushant Srivastava had his first outing in a while, falling in the quarterfinals in both singles and doubles at Tunisia F3. Just ran into a player who is on the downside coming through and doesn't play much it looked like, a bad matchup. That happens a fair bit at this level. Amusingly Srivastava has only one result better than this; an out-of-left-field title at a futures in Luxembourg several months ago. It's probably going to hurt when that drops off, but he edges up slightly to a new career-best of 808th in singles with this result.

When we get to Rome, Raychaudhari will have played his first juniors event. As he's starting from absolute zero (0 skill, 0 service, 0 doubles) it's going to take him some time to build up. This week Manoj Datar is playing both singles and doubles at Barcelona, because apparently he thought that it was smart for a player barely ranked in the Top 500 to play a 500-level event. I don't think he understands what that 500 next to the tournament name means .

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-16-2022 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 08-19-2022, 02:19 PM   #1263
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Madrid Masters

The apparent predictability seen in Monte Carlo was fairly absent in the second of the three clay-court Masters. First up there was the matter of the missing Cypriots. #4 Themis Xanthos and current #10 Aketas Albanos, who have the same manager, didn't show up. For a top player in a slow world this is a big if perhaps understandable mistake. You can schedule Masters events a long ways out and there's pretty much not a good reason to not play them at this level. Then add to that the continuing free-fall of Schwarzkopf, the fact that former world No. 1 for over a year #13 Marc Erdozain has stopped playing singles at age 31 and gone doubles, and you've got a lot of openings in the draw for players to have more opportunities then you might otherwhise expect.

(8) Eddy Copperfield was knocked out in the second round by wild-card Christian Villareal (ESP). A home tournament for the 74th-ranked Villareal, who has the talent but too much mismanagement in his past has his serve still solidly at Challenger level at age 24. And then there was Frenchman Pet Sampras .... not Pete, Pet. That's either a hilarious misspelling or an intentional joke. Villareal was easily dismissed by Oleg Urazov, who found himself in the quarterfinals but was routinely eliminated by Polychroniadis.

Up to the 4th seed, Jochen Weigle got there as well but couldn't handle Papadias, the Greek no. 2 rudely waving him aside 6-3, 6-2. Toni Bardales is banking on this event and he made it count, grinding his way past second-seed Renke Cananis 6-4, 6-4. And there was another surprise, with 10th-seeded Italian Ale Ballok straight-setting third-ranked Alexander Reimann for some reason. Both of the Germans out in the quarterfinals.

The all-Greek semi was the best match of the tournament, with form eventually holding and Solitris Papadias going down 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. In other, Ballok lost to Bardales, a first-set tiebreak but then an anticlimactic bagel. In his first Masters final, Toni Bardales was uh ... crunched. 6-2, 6-3 by Leon Polychroniadis who just keeps right on winning, and convincingly most of the time. He lost only ten points on serve, and extended his already quite large lead over all comers in the rankings. I wouldn't bet against him doing it all over again next week in Rome.


Girish Raychaudhari's first junior tournament was expectedly brief. Qualified in doubles, lost in the main draw in both singles and doubles at the first time of asking. He'll try again next week, and it's time for Srivastava to play another futures event also.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-19-2022 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 08-19-2022, 05:27 PM   #1264
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
How'd we do? Well lets just say nothing says 'you're the man' like what I think is a personal-record 33 double faults in one match.
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Old 08-20-2022, 06:49 PM   #1265
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Rome Masters

Xanthos and Albanos were MIA once again, but just when I was about to give up on them their manager returned, started doing training, and entered them in tournaments including the upcoming Roland Garros. So they're not gone, they just took an 'unscheduled break'. One that will cost them dearly as they'll have two empty Masters slots on their rankings.

Eddy Copperfield is nothing if not consistent, losing once again early to a Spaniard. It was (12) Raul Ramirez (MEX) who took advantage as the unexpected quarterfinalist, with the top seven seeds all joining him. Ramirez would exit routinely against Reimann, as you might anticipate. Ben Faille once again showed he isn't quite ready in a 6-4, 6-3 defeat to Cananis. And then there was the crucial 4 vs. 5 battle. It was probably the match of the week, with Toni Bardales unable to hold off Weigle this time, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5. The two of them are switching back and forth in the rankings, which is basically just likely going to result in them staying where they are; arms-length behind the Top 4. The Greeks met in the final quarterfinal match, with Solitris Papadias unable to mount as much of a challenge this time - a routine two-set dismissal.

Jochen Weigle got a whole four total games from the increasingly unchallenged world no. 1 in one semi, while an all-German second match went to Rene Cananis, 6-3, 6-3 over Reimann. Feels like we've seen this movie before, and indeed we have. Leon Polychroniadis claimed a clean sweep of the clay Masters 7-5, 6-3, and did so without losing a set this time. Historically RG is his worst Slam, but I'm sure not betting against him defending his crown there.

Elsewhere ...

Sushant Srivastava is making a habit of these quarterfinal exits in futures, finding the same result at Thailand F3. If this continues, in a few months he may find himself back in the amateur events for a bit. It was a pretty competitive showing against the top seed who has half of his ranking - I think Srivastava will break through, but I don't really know when.

Girish Raychaudhari showed a bit of progress as well, with a doubles semifinal and his first singles victory - but just the one in qualifying. He was close to another one though, setting the afore-mentioned mark in double faults during a long three-set defeat in his first-round main draw setback.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-20-2022 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 08-22-2022, 03:54 PM   #1266
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
Roland Garros 2088: Early Rounds

Storylines here include the continuing dominance of Leon Polychroniadis, Toni Bardales trying to finish off his clay season in style, and whether playing in front of partisan fans will help Ben Faille break through. He has yet make week two of a Slam.

There's usually a low seed or two that falls in the first round. This time there was only one seed, and not a particularly low one due to a fairly unique set of circumstances. (13) Ben Hollinger (28, SUI) lost in four sets to Ukranian 25-year-old Murat Kurrenoy. Kurrenoy was ranked 41st coming in, so he's one the more dangerous unseeded players, but he's been all over the place with management. Five of them, one of them taking the helm twice, and finally dumped for good I think end of last year. Gifted enough to entice them, not gifted enough to keep them around. As for Hollinger? He actually is just past his peak despite the age, due to having been abandoned as a junior for a couple years. Current manager's been in charge of him for over a decade and made something of him, but Ben could have been Top 10 at least probably though never a true contender. As it is, he peaked at 13th.

Another intriguing match involved (23) Chulamai Kriangsak (27, THA), who had all he could handle for four sets against veteran Roger Manuel (29, PHI) before eventually prevailing 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(9), 7-6(5), 6-2. In the second round, the big news was Esmik Kteyan (29, ARM). Kteyan is the #2 Armenian player of all time, and has the highest-ranking singles mark ever from that country at 10th, but he's another player who has bounced around a lot and was ranked just 105th coming in here. Managed to put it together and get by (29) Cvetan Calovic (26, SRB) to reach the third round. You don't see that often from players ranked outside the Top 100.

In the third round, (9) Eddy Copperfield did what he's been doing all season; lose early. Up by two sets, he fell victim to a rally by one of the Spaniards we've already seen speak up in the Masters events, Ignaci Saravia. Kurrenoy kept right on going also, knocking off (17) Mahjab Thabet (27, NLD) . A weird match; he won three close sets and got bageled in the second. Kteyan almost made it one step further, but an epic went against him, 9-7 in the 5th against (14) Raul Ramirez (25, MEX).

The first good-sized fish to go down was 5th-ranked [b]Toni Bardales. (10) Ale Ballok (24, ITA) took him down in four sets in the fourth round. Ballok may be one to watch the way he's been playing, and now Bardales basically slid backwards a bit this year in the clay season overall - he was a semifinalist last time here. Oleg Urazov got off to a good start winning a tiebreak in the first set against Weigle, but it got worse the longer the match went on, and he lost in four.

Seven of the top eight seeds made it through, with only Bardales being eliminated early. That's already a career-best showing for Faille, and we'll have to see if he or Ballok can keep it rolling against the top players.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 08-23-2022 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 08-23-2022, 07:37 AM   #1267
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
Roland Garros 2088: Championship Week

It was definitely time to shake things up; only one of the top four seeds made it through their quarterfinal match. It's not hard to guess which one. Polychroniadis thumped (10) Ale Ballok, dropping eight total games. The other matches were closer. (4) Themis Xanthos got a set from Weigle but that was it: he's not a clay-court player and has never made it past the final eight here so this was not a huge surprise. After making the final a few years back, (2) Ranke Cananis can pretty much resign himself to never winning RG as he suffered his second QF defeat in as many years. Cananis thumped Papadias 6-1 in the first set, but then lost three close ones to close out his run. As for Faille, he joins the world no. 1 in making the semifinals without dropping a set, eliminating (3) Alexander Reimann 6-2, 7-6(8), 7-6(4). It was a lot tighter than his previous matches, but a big breakthrough nonetheless as both German players exit.

(6) Jochen Weigle hit the end of the line in embarassing fashion, not even putting up a fight against Polychroniadis. 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. Weigle's first Roland Garros semifinal and second time he's reached this point in a Slam - USO finalist last year - but clearly outmatched in this case. (7) Solitris Papadias was the first to extend (8) Ben Faille past the minimum number of sets. A back-and-forth match, but Faille was much the better player in the 5th and moves into the final.

He'd have to play better to challenge (1) Leon Polychroniadis's iron grip, and much to the surprise of many he did. It was a championship match to remember, and one that was very cruel to the rabid supporters of their homegrown underdog. After falling behind by two sets, Leon did what champions do, rallying for a truly epic 4-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 8-6 triumph. 5 Slams in a row, and it appeared to be just experience in this one; the French phenom probably outplayed him overall by the slightest of margins, but Polychroniadis would not be denied and found a way to win.

I would be surprised if Ben Faille doesn't win Roland Garros multiple times in the future, based on how he did here. But that future is delayed at least one more year.

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Old 08-23-2022, 05:23 PM   #1268
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2088 Mid-Year Rankings Update

1. Leon Polychroniadis (25, GRC) - 16,155

48-2 so far this year. At a certain point you run out of appropriate superlatives. The tennis world is his personal possession.

2. Renke Cananis (26, DEU) - 10,400

I'm not particularly bullish on Renke's chances of keeping a secure grip on the #2 spot. Wimbledon will be important as he made the final there, but last year's Tour Finals is his biggest success. Good chance of hanging on until then .... afterwards, who knows.

3. Themis Xanthos (26, CYP) - 7,620

Missed two clay Masters and moved up a spot. That's how topsy-turvy it is right now.

4. Alexander Reimann (26, DEU) - 6,920

Two years ago, Reimann won Roland Garros. Last year he made the final. This year he left a couple rounds before that thanks to Faille, and now it's time to figure out if he can still hang near the top, or if it's time to slip further.

5. Jochen Weigle (24, SUI) - 5,860

Weigle looks like he's making progress. It could go either way this summer, however. Canada is an opportunity; he was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon last year and a finalist at the USO so there's a lot to defend there.

6. Solitris Papadias (26, GRC) - 5,550

The 'other Greek' has fairly quietly been solid if not downright impressive. He's right in the middle of a very competitive group.

7. Toni Bardales (25, ESP) - 5,120

The clay swing was looking quite good for him until Roland Garros. It doesn't take much of a slip in the current environment, and now we'll see if he can regroup.

8. Ben Faille (21, FRA) - 5,010

Making the RG final didn't move Faille up at all, but it caught him up to the 'main pack' here. 2 through 8 are super-competitive right now.

9. Ale Ballok (24, ITA) - 3,435

Ballok is the new kid on the block here in the Top 10. He belongs, but he's also got some ground to make up and it won't be easy pushing his way into the current eight above him.

10. Eddy Copperfield (27, AUS) - 3,360

We have to wait all the way until here to get to a player who is on the downswing of his career, and that only barely. Copperfield has been getting blasted of late, which is a demonstration of how many strong players there are around.

17. Oleg Urazov (22, CAN)

Urazov is coming, but has some more traffic to get through before he hits the first page.

498. Manoj Datar (31, SRI)

About a third to having the trainer payment saved up, Datar will be heading out for his first futures under my management soon.

785. Sushant Srivastava (23, SRI)

The ranking is going to take a tumble soon it appears, unless he has a breakthrough. As I write this, he's just lost a close first-round futures singles match, and made it through doubles qualifying just to lose in the first round there as well. The news is better on the training side, his serve is coming along but hasn't yet been improved quite enough to reach balance with where the rest of his game is. On-court results have been disappointing, but he'll get there; he's a little too good not to.

1146(J). Girish Raychaudhari (14, SRI)

Playing his third tournament this week and Raychaudhari has looked a little bit better each time out there. Still has no serve - literally - and fatigue is a regular issue, and the latter will continue to be the case for probably about a year. Patience is the order of the day here. Girish is very young, and he's getting better.
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Old 08-24-2022, 01:08 PM   #1269
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I've now hired my fourth player to fill out the roster: 18-year-old Aparna Chandrasekharan. He's spent four years doing jack diddly squat and has never played in any tournaments so far as I can tell - the game's logic doesn't bother for players below a certain point. On that fact alone we don't expect him to be a major success.

I have two purposes in hiring Chandrasekharan:

- Be mildly annoyed spelling out his name regularly.
- More seriously, fill in the gap between Raychaudhari and Srivastava. At least I'll be working on somebody who can help Sri Lanka maintain as respectable a position as possible in the WTC while I fill the pipeline with better talent. Between Aparna and those other two there is a 4-5 year gap in each direction. And he's by far the best option anywhere near his age group, one of the best NatGens that Sri Lanka has.

- 2.5 Skill, 1.3 Service, 1.3 doubles to start. That's basically the development of a 16-year-old, so we can essentially call it two years of improvement flushed down the drain, never to be seen again.

- Aging Factor: 96%
- Talent: 4.3
- Mentality: 2.4
- Peak Endurance: 3.4-3.5
- Peak Strength: 2.5-2.6
- Peak Speed: 3.1ish

Since he's sitting on zero form, which results in -1.5 Skill, -1.5 Service, and 55% xp gain, Chandrasekharan's development strategy to begin with is 'play as many matches as possible until he's not totally useless'. Then push Service ahead somewhat but he's fairly close to balanced, and since last year was the last time he was eligible for juniors, he'll see if he can get anything done in the amateur ranks.

Might take a while, but there's definitely still quite a bit that can be done with him by current national standards. If he was trained up right away, I think Aparna could have made a professional of himself - not a great one, but a pro nonetheless. Now we're probably looking at Challenger level, but still Top 100 for him at peak. Play a few Slams here and there, be the kind of player that the contenders blast through on their way to winning titles.

That wiped out my manager points almost entirely, but I have no intention of buying anyone else anytime soon, barring a very fortunate NatGen coming our way.

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Old 08-27-2022, 04:38 PM   #1270
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Wimbledon 2088: Early Rounds

This tournament went entirely according to script ... until somebody ripped up the script and threw it away. The only seed to lose in the first round was 30-year-old Argentinian (19) Gabriele Spotelli, and even then it came in a tough match to a player boosted by a favorable crowd, Jeff Roach. 7-5 in the 5th set. And then Roach lost in the third round. Every pretender had lost by then; the fourth round had every single one of the 16 players seeded to make it that far. Without exception.

And then (10) Eddy Copperfield, who to this point has been 'that guy who couldn't figure out that he's supposed to get out of the Top 10 so the real players can replace him', shocked none other than #1 Leon Polychroniadis, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4. Polychroniadis looked like a freight train both this year and long-term coming in, he had won on the grass last year, runner-up the year before, and hadn't lost in the fourth round or before at a Slam in almost three years. It was nearly unthinkable. And yet it still happened. (7) Toni Bardales lost in a tough four sets to (12) Alketas Albanos), probably the biggest win we've seen recently for the no. 2 Cypriot, and (5) Jochen Weigle was straight-settled by upstart Ale Ballok.

That's all in the top half, which is now chaos. Only Xanthos remains of the players expected to reach the quarterfinals. The bottom half; the script remains intact. Cananis and Reimann were both pushed to tough four-set wins, but everyone marched on. Without Polychroniadis, the second half of Wimbledon is now wide-open. Cananis is the only player in the draw to have won here - two years ago - but it hardly seems a foregone conclusion that he's up to the task again.
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Old 08-28-2022, 05:48 AM   #1271
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Wimbledon 2088: Championship Week

Eddy Copperfield couldn't quite back up his big upset win, but it looked like he would for a while. Up two sets against Albanos, he came crashing back to reality 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(4), 4-6, 4-6. So sadly, his moment actually didn't gain him all that much. Ale Ballok hit a Xanthos wall and fell in his quarterfinal in straight sets, and Cananis gave Solitris Papadias the same treatment. The last match was a bit more interesting though. Either Alexander Reimann is continuing to plummet, or Faille is stepping it up as the French phenom won in four sets.

Both semifinals were quite competitive. An all-Cyprus match in the top half, with Themis Xanthos outlasting Albanos 7-5, 6-7(6), 7-6(4), 6-4. Ben Faille didn't quite have enough to stop Cananis, but that one went four and could have gone further as he lost two close tiebreaks. It feels like he's getting closer, but not quite there yet. Renke Cananis ended up claiming his third Slam title, and second Wimbledon in three years by virtue of a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) victory in the final match. He was pushed to four sets three times during the fortnight, but never further.

While the future may have a different answer for him, Renke seems to have cemented himself as the 'best of the rest' for another year. The scrum from 3rd on down does not appear to have gotten any clearer though.

Elsewhere ...

Manoj Datar has a semifinal and a first-round exit in his first couple of futures, so who knows what's going on with him. Sushant Srivastava reached the semis in both draws of his most recent event, earning him some training time off. That's his best showing since I picked him up. Girish Raychaudhari made the doubles final and QF in singles this week; he's at least started to reach the point where he'll need to wait for his stamina to catch up with his abilities, as he was exhausted before his tournament matches were finished. And the latest acquisition, Aparna Chandrasekharan, has regained about half of the form he needs in a few amateur events; he'll keep playing them every week until he gets there. It's pretty much a matter of luck in doubles partners - he's getting blasted in singles and I have no reason to expect that to change. Success in amateurs is a bit above his playing level even if he was in good match condition.

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Old 08-28-2022, 01:20 PM   #1272
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Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-Wimbledon Edition


Leon Polychroniadis - 8,335
Renke Cananis - 7,340

Wimbledon really changed the situation at the top. Polychroniadis still has the inside track to finishing the year at #1 and one assumes that he will, but he still has work to do despite just three losses on the year.


Themis Xanthos - 4,690
Ben Faille - 4,600
Alexander Reimann - 4,040
Toni Bardales - 3,820
Solitris Papadias - 3,470
Jochen Weigle - 3,350

Faille's progress can be easily seen here; he has very few points to defend the rest of the year. Reimann is about 1700 points ahead of him in the full-year rankings, but it's a much different story just looking at the first half.


None close enough

Long Shots

Ale Ballok - 2,710

Albanos is a few hundred points further back. It seems unlikely that anybody will crack the steady Top 8 - Weigle is having a disappointing year so far but that could turn around at any time. I think it'll be at least another year for Ballok, but he's not out of it yet.

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Old 09-01-2022, 12:03 PM   #1273
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Canada Masters

The tour is back in action after a bit of a break, and the summer hardcourt swing commences.

(15) Oleg Urazov had a hitch in his progression, losing in the first round after taking the opening set against Ignaci Saravia. Saravia just seems to enjoy that spoiler role. Copperfield had a second-round scare, but managed to rally this time against another dangerous floater, Czech Jonas Stanya.

Then in the third round, a bigger name went down. 13th seed Raul Ramirez (MEX) is a name we are hearing more often recently; this time he eliminated Solitris Papadias is a match as epic as three-setters come: 7-6(11), 6-7(6), 7-5. That made Ramirez the one player in the quarterfinals who wasn't expected to be there, and he gave Reimann a battle but still lost in straight sets. Ramirez has a ways to go to catch any of the players in front of him, but it looks like he's making consistent steps in that direction.

Leon Polychroniadis was pushed by Bardales but made it through, Jochen Weigle continued his disappointing year by surrendering meekly to Xanthos, and the match of the round was Cananis-Faille. Ben Faille dominated the first set, then was outplayed more closely in the next two to lose 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. It had all the appearance of an encounter where the more experienced player beat the newcomer even though he was arguably outplayed on the whole.

Themis Xanthos had a real tight match in the semifinal, but became the latest to derail the Polychroniadis train, 7-6(4), 7-6(5). It's become increasingly clear that the rumors of the Greek's ascendance have been somewhat exaggerated. He was underprepared for this tournament and paid for it - he's not good enough to just walk in and claim victory, except perhaps on clay. In an all-German second semi, Cananis extended his record against Alexander Reimann to 24-7 with a three-set triumph. It's eight straight and 15 out of the last 16, and with the players still heading in opposite directions I don't see that changing anytime soon. Early on in their careers it was pretty even, but the last real competition between them was back-to-back matchups at Roland Garros and Wimbledon two years ago. Reimann won in 5 on the clay; Cananis returned the favor on the grass, 8-6 in the decider. Both were semifinal matchups so they were definitely crucial encounters. And since then, it's been the younger player who has been superior.

In the final, Xanthos sought his first Canada title, while Renke Cananis was in the final for the third year in a row. Two years ago, the same players met in the championship match, with Xanthos taking the first set and Cananis winning by controlling the tiebreaks in the second and third. The Cypriot didn't face a single break point in that one, and was slightly better overall, but still lost. And he'd gotten the better of Cananis in the Indian Wells final earlier this year, so there was no writing him off.

This time it was another battle royale, but the German got the upper hand with a pair of 7-6(5) sets. It could have gone either way. Cananis isn't legendary as a mental fortress for nothing. I'd say it's the only reason he holds an 11-5 edge in this head-to-head. And now he's approaching striking distance for the #1 spot, less than two thousand points behind Leon Polychroniadis. The questions are mounting.
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Old 09-01-2022, 12:10 PM   #1274
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Elsewhere ...

Manoj Datar's best futures event came this week, as on his favored grass he won the doubles and made it .... exhausted ... to the final in singles. Datar is probably under a month away from having his trainer allotment saved up. Sushant Srivastava has been training the last few weeks, but he'll be back out there next week. Ditto for Girish Raychaudhari.

Aparna Chandrasekharan has his first training week since I hired him on next week. He's played seven consecutive Amateur events. Losing mostly, esp. in singles, but he's finally reached the point where his match condition is back where it needs to be. It was an ugly and inefficient process, but he got there. He lost his first five singles matches and is still underwater in both singles and doubles. He did get far enough to get his first ranking point - singular, not plural - in both disciplines. 2520th singles, 3499th doubles for his rankings. It's actually going to be interesting because a strong player will end up playing 4-6 total amateur events and then move on to futures. But Chandrasekharan, even now that he's at full playing strength, isn't good enough to get past this stage yet. So he'll need to grind his way through improving enough to beat players that are, at this point, a cut above his level, and as a result I'll be spending more time in amateur than I have with previous players. I'd say the rest of this year and probably all of next year - or at least most of it - will be spent doing that.

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Old 09-02-2022, 02:28 PM   #1275
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Cincinatti Masters

(16) Mahjab Thabet (NLD) is our lone first-round seed casualty; American Collin Tupper got him 6-3, 7-5. Tupper is a respectable 44th in the rankings, and when you factor in the crowd it's not really that much of an upset. (12) Eddy Copperfield went down in the next round, and his opponent is worth noting. 22-year-old Russian George Voronets would be swiftly dispatched by Papadias in the round of 16, but he's doing pretty well for a player of his age, up now to 26th. I expect it's a name we'll hear more from.

That was pretty much it with all of the top eight seeds make it to the quarterfinal round. Toni Bardales came an inch away from upsetting Polychroniadis, with only a tight third-set tiebreak sparing the world no.1. Reimann got past Solitris Papadias in two tight sets, Jochen Weigle had a respectable showing against Cananis but couldn't eliminate him, and Faille kept on his streak of good tournaments, knocking out #3 Themis Xanthos in a close one, 7-6(3), 7-6(3).

Alexander Reimann did that thing he does, competitive but not enough in a straight-sets first semi against Leon Polychroniadis. The other match was very close, with Ben Faille once again falling short against Cananis 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(6). So close ... but not close enough. Aside from a club tournament at the end of last season, Faille has not won once against the top German in 10 attempts, all of those opportunities coming in a year and a half. His time is coming, but not just yet.

Renke Cananis once more was stopped in a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3 victory for Polychroniadis, who claims his 11th Masters. Interestingly though, I've got a spreadsheet set up now for player ratings (more on that at the end of the year), and he's actually grading out a hair better than Leon is. This tournament is a good example of it; relatively minor but important mismanagement. Renke Cananis was exhausted by the end of it - 31.5 form - and he's in trouble going into the USO for that reason. Looks like he plays a couple tournaments too many a year. The manager, ton, is #2 overall without being VIP which is impressive, but the details matter and I'd say more than anything they are why it's Leon Polychroniadis who is atop the rankings.

Meanwhile Faille is up to 5th, and his chase of #4 Reimann is a big story going into the US Open.

Elsewhere ...

I unintentionally somehow entered Manoj Datar in the Winston-Salem Open (250). He lost in the first round of qualifying, suprising nobody. Ahh well. Sushant Srivastava had his best futures yet, almost losing in the first round of singles but making it to the final, and claiming the doubles title. I think he's starting to turn the corner. The others are off for training, but will be back in action soon.
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Old 09-04-2022, 12:10 PM   #1276
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US Open 2088: Early Rounds

I don't know what it is about the Spanish players in this era; they just keep playing spoiler. Two low seeds that are still improving players lost, and both to Spaniards. (23) Morten Ejlersgaard (NOR) to Sergi Vaeza in four sets, and (30) Santino Consiglio (ITA) in an epic to David Desguanechs, whose last name I would much prefer to spell than to badly mispronounce. 4-6, 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) on that last one.

And then order restored itself. All of the top 16 seeds made the fourth round, and all of the top 8 won again to make the quarterfinals. ZZzzzzzzzz. The only fourth-round match that even was extended past the minimum was Oleg Urazov pushing Weigle to a fourth set.

Elsewhere ....

Aparna Chandrasekharan continues incremental improvements. He almost got another singles point but suffered a close 2nd-round loss in his latest Amateur event in Ponta Delgada, Portugal. In doubles he managed to make it all the way to the semifinals, which means he'll now be able to take an extended training break before his next tournament.

I won't have any players in competitive events for the next few weeks.
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Old 09-05-2022, 09:40 AM   #1277
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US Open 2088: Championship Week

All of the drama surrounded one player in the conclusion of the year's final Slam event. Polychroniadis over Papadias in straight sets. Same for Reimann against Bardales, and Xanthos against Weigle. And then there was Renke Cananis against Ben Faille, who keep getting drawn against each other early much to French phenom's dismay. They were in the same quarter in Canada also, and the same half in Wimbledon and Cincinatti. Quite weird.

Anyway, the situation was again Faille rising, with better prep, but Cananis being a strong enough player to just barely negate that. It was quite a match and I managed to catch a good part of it live; when the German uncharacteristically double-faulted on match point in the second set and was broken early in the third, it looked like Faille would take it. But he rallied, and at 4-all in the 5th the younger player cracked, losing eight of the last nine points to give Cananis the victory. Final scoreline was 6-4, 6-7(5), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

In the semis, Renke started to see worse effects of overplaying, and Themis Xanthos was the latest to not be able to take advantage. This went the distance as well, with the same result. Meanwhile Alexander Reimann played his part dutifully, meekly departing after winning eight total games from Leon Polychroniadis. The Greek champion would take advantage of the worn-down husk of his opponent in the final to win that in straight sets as well; he didn't drop a set the entire event, claiming his 6th Slam and second straight US Open.

His grip on the #1 overall ranking spot still diminished; Cananis actually had a chance to take the throne if he had won here. More on that when we look at the latest rankings.
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Old 09-05-2022, 03:21 PM   #1278
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Fall 2088 Rankings Update

1. Leon Polychroniadis (26, GRC) - 13,695

Holding on, at least for now.

2. Renke Cananis (26, DEU) - 12,680

Cananis annoys me. Good enough that he is able to hold off everyone else, not good enough due to too much neglect of baseline play and too many tournament matches that he's mostly stuck playing second fiddle to Polychroniadis who is miles above him in rally skill and better-managed.

3. Themis Xanthos (26, CYP) - 8,700

Then there's Mr. 'Masters events are optional'. Didn't enter the USO till the 11th hour either. Playing with fire, but still very good on the hardcourts.

4. Alexander Reimann (27, DEU) - 7,070

5. Ben Faille (21, FRA) - 6,120

Steadily creeping up on Reimann.

6. Solitris Papadias (26, GRC) - 5,430

7. Toni Bardales (25, ESP) - 5,310

8. Jochen Weigle (24, SUI) - 4,750

Simple fact is I over-rated Weigle initially. He's just not good enough yet to challenge the top players.

9. Ale Ballok (24, ITA) - 3,725

10. Alketas Albanos (25, CYP) - 3,050

10th spot has been a revolving door this year. Albanos is back, at least for the moment.

16. Oleg Urazov (22, CAN)

The youth movement is starting to mount on Page Two; we'll look at more of them at the end of the year. Urazov is mostly biding his time, he's not quite ready to challenge for the next level. Possibly next year.

404. Manoj Datar (31, SRI)

Back into the Top 200 in doubles. Given that, I've started entering him in Challengers instead of futures. Probably get a lot of early singles losses, but he's better in doubles now anyway so we'll see what he can do there. Manoj is Sri Lanka's #2 in both disciplines, and closer to being #1 than falling from that perch. He'll be a fixture in the WTC competitions it would appear, and should have his trainer allotment saved up in about a week so I will start working on his abilities at that point.

707. Sushant Srivastava (23, SRI)

He's done just enough to stay in the futures level when a futures victory drops off his ranking in a couple weeks. After the fall, he'll gradually claw his way back up. Last two events are a final and a semifinal, so that bodes well.

2548. Aparna Chandrasekharan (18, SRI)

It's easy to forget that rankings can have a fourth digit. Like Srivastava only at the amateur level, he appears to have gotten himself to the point where he can successfully grind his way upwards.

905 (J). Girish Raychaudhari (14, SRI)

Hit and miss, he's had a couple early exits lately which was a bit disappointing but not entirely unexpected. Technically he's still on borrowed time; he won't turn 15 until early next year, so Raychaudhari doesn't need to be ready to move on from the bottom-level JG5 tier for quite a while.

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Old 09-05-2022, 03:39 PM   #1279
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Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-USO Edition


Leon Polychroniadis - 11,545
Renke Cananis - 11,340
Themis Xanthos - 6,620
Alexander Reimann - 6,080
Ben Faille - 5,660


Toni Bardales - 4,640
Jochen Weigle - 4,370
Solitris Papadias - 4,100


None close enough

Long Shots

Ale Ballok - 3,470


There's a couple of compelling stories here, but neither has anything to do with who makes the field. Usually there's at least some question, players moving up and down; the top eight are the top eight, and they're set in stone.

At the top, it looks likely that Renke Cananis will take back the #1 spot after Paris - and lose it again if he can't repeat his perfect run at last year's Tour Finals. You can really see the huge gulf that's opened up between the top two and everyone else.

Meanwhile Ben Faille continues to be just off the pace of breaking into the Top 4. He has a couple of good 500 results to replace coming up ... but also had early losses in the last two Masters and wasn't part of the Tour Finals field last year as Schwarzkopf was still around holding that spot, the only change in the particpants. I think he should be favored to win Paris, and if that happens he could well end the year at #3, primed to ramp up his assault on the power couple.

Technically Ale Ballok still is in the conversation, but really we're just waiting for him to be officially eliminated. He's just the guy who has most consistently advanced far enough to lose to the better plays ahead of him.
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Old 09-10-2022, 10:03 PM   #1280
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Join Date: May 2006
Shanghai Masters

(15) Boris Hollinger (SUI) was the early victim in the last big hard-court event of the year, courtesy of veteran Czech Jonas Stanya, 7-6(8), 6-4 in the first round. A round later, it was Ignacia Saravia yet again playing spoiler, this time to 11th-seeded Albanos in a three-set tussle. Meanwhile Eddy Copperfield was knocked out by Pet Sampras. I'm going to be annoyed writing his name, but Sampras is ranked 24th so it looks like I'll have to, at least for a few years. The biggest third-round news was [b]Oleg Urazov[b] breaking through, coming back after eating a first-set breadstick to edge past Xanthos 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. He's been knocking on the door, but beating the world's #3-ranked player is definitely a new threshold for the Canadian.

The first quarterfinal was the headliner, with the almost ... but not quite routine for Ben Faille continuing. He was oh so close to beating Polychroniadis, yet still lost 3-6, 7-6(16), 6-1. That number in the second-set tiebreaker is not a misprint. Faille blasted 21 aces and undoubtedly missed on numerous match points -- and clearly didn't recover mentally for the decider. Urazov pushed Toni Bardales to two tiebreaks but lost both of them, Cananis got past Weigle in straight sets, and the latest sign that Alexander Reimann is increasingly past his best tennis was seen as he couldn't keep up with Papadias, 6-3, 6-4.

In the semifinals the pretenders were revealed, as the top two players breezed past and dismissed Bardales and Solitris Papadias in two-set encounters. And so the final once again was between #1 and #2; Leon Polychroniadis and Renke Cananis. Unlike 12 of the previous 13 meetings, this one went the way of German challenger, 6-4, 6-4. It shouldn't have; he was 0-4 on break chances, Cananis converting both of his, and objectively the wrong player won this match. But that of course is Renke's strength; if he can keep it close, he has the mental fortitude to carry the day in the big points.

As a result, Cananis is just a scant 245 points away from reclaiming the top spot.

Elsewhere ...

Manoj Datar is bouncing back and forth between high-level challengers and low-level futures, with decided mixed results. He has however saved up his trainer allotment, and is now working on improving his skills again. Datar is also, amusingly enough, inched up to the #1 singles ranking among Sri Lankans (around 400th).

Sushant Srivastava dropped down to the mid-900s in singles when his win from last year dropped off, and bounced right back up with his first futures title under my management. His last three events are semifinalist, finalist, and winner. That's a nice trend. The sooner he can string together a few wins, the sooner he'll move up into territory where he can participate in the WTC - and with our top doubles player, Ritwik Intodia, seemingly having been abandoned due to manager inactivity that can't happen soon enough.

Aparna Chandrasekharan appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough, but that was perhaps a premature conclusion. 1st-round singles and 2nd-round doubles losses in his last amateur event earned him no points, and demonstrated he still has work to do. Girish Raychaudhari reached one JG5 semifinal, then lost in the first round both singles and double just this week. So he's very up-and-down also.

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Old 09-10-2022, 10:14 PM   #1281
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-Shanghai Edition


Leon Polychroniadis - 12,595
Renke Cananis - 12,340

Themis Xanthos - 6,680
Alexander Reimann - 6,310
Ben Faille - 5,910


Toni Bardales - 5,000
Jochen Weigle - 4,870
Solitris Papadias - 4,510



Long Shots

Ale Ballok - 3,560


The top two are still in the same place as before; Polychroniadis won Paris last year, Cananis the tour finals. Two players with 12k+ points in the same year is not something you see often. I still think it's likely Cananis takes the #1 after Paris ... but whether he still has it at the end of the year is questionable.

It also remains the case that Paris will likely determine the fate of Ben Faille. He inches ever-closer, but has not been able to catch Reimann just yet. And of course Ale Ballok has not completely fallen out of contention yet - but it's close. Just biding his time, hanging on by a thread.
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Old 09-13-2022, 07:59 PM   #1282
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Paris Masters

A couple of seeds lost their first match here in the final Masters of the year, but none were particularly surprising. Cyprus #2 (12) Alketas Albanos was beaten by rising Swiss Dominic Stricker in rather routine fashion. A closer match toppling (15) Oleg Urazov was a bit more surprising. The Canadian was defeated 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (4) by Malta veteran Oscar Woodger. Both players pulling the 'upsets' here are ranked 20th or better. Ale Ballok's pipe dream of playing in the Tour Finals was officially dashed in a third-round setback to Reimann. The only surprise of any kind to make the final eight was Eddy Copperfield, who won a taut three-set battle against Bardales.

Copperfield would push Renke Cananis to a pair of tiebreaks, but the world no. 2 won both of them. Reimann over Papadias, and Polychroniadis over Weigle also took two sets only. Ben Faille's run came to a surprising end against Xanthos, 6-7 (2), 6-2, 7-6(2), in a match that could have gone either way. Apparently the French star will wait at least one more year make his big breakthrough - his year ends without a major title to show for it.

Themis Xanthos was not done, knocking out Polychroniadis in another close one in the semifinals, going to 7-5 in the third set to clinch it. The all-German second semi ended in predictable fashion, 4 & 4 to Cananis. Then Renke claimed the Paris title 6-2, 6-7(11), 6-4 ... and with it he is now #1 in the world again. Leon Polychroniadis will take the spot back in a couple weeks by less than 400 points, and then the Tour Finals will determine who owns it for the year.

Elsewhere ...

Another mixed result for Manoj Datar, making the doubles SF at a challenger in Quito while enduring a first-round loss in singles. Regardless of that, he's going back to the futures level. Sushant Srivastava backed up his previous success with another futures title, though he was out in the first round of the doubles. There was a pretty close match in the semifinals, but he's up to a career high inside the Top 600. He'll have one more event this year, and if he wins again I'll take him up a tier to the FT2 competition.

Aparna Chandrasekharan bounced back with his best amateur outing to date, making the third round in both singles and doubles, and losing quite competitively at that stage. He's still underwater overall, and his ranking of 2283rd is nothing to be excited about. But it's a second point added, and he's incrementally getting a toehold in the amateur ranks. Girish Raychaudhari lost at the quarterfinal stage in his last event. It's probably not justified, but I'm getting a bit impatient at his very slow pace of progress.

There were also a couple of Sri Lanka NewGens recently and a I gave 'em a look, but neither was worth making a change for.
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Old 09-16-2022, 07:53 PM   #1283
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Tour Finals
Knoxville, USA

Tour Finals in the United States. I don't think I've seen that before, but I suppose they had to get their turn eventually. The round-robin section went as you might expect; the only part that didn't follow the rankings is Reimann not advancing and Faille moving on, but that's no surprise. It did however seal Ben Faille moving up to the #4 spot at year's end. It's been a grind this year, but he got there.

Marquee matchup in the semifinals was #1 against #2; Leon Polychroniadis vs. Renke Cananis. Cananis cruised 6-2, 6-4, his second win in a row against his Greek rival. The lifetime head-to-head there now stands at 24-19 in favor of Cananis. In the second semi, Faille came up just short against Themis Xanthos, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(4). It was an excellent final that also went the distance and was determined in a third-set tiebreak. Renke Cananis claimed his fourth consecutive Tour Finals, which is no small feat - I think it's been done only three times before, by the likes of Eric Gorritepe, Mateo Kaspar, and Chris Adams. The three best players ever to grace the tennis courts, and now Cananis can in this way at least be mentioned among them. So weird that he's done that well here .... and yet has just three Slams to his name.

Elsewhere ...

Manoj Datar won his latest futures outing in singles, but lost in the first round of doubles. That's all the results so far, a couple players have events next week.

More importantly, the World Team Cup finals are in a couple weeks, and following that the Playoff rounds. There will some important developments there for Sri Lanka, and we will get a bit of a clearer picture of just how much work there is to do.
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Old 09-18-2022, 07:28 PM   #1284
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup Finals

Germany vs. Greece seems the only fitting way for this to end. Renke Cananis won both of his matches, but didn't get any help and Greece takes the crown 3-2. In the pivotal final encounter, the no. 2 singles for each side decided the outcome. Solitris Papadias got the better of Alexander Reimann 7-6(6), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5). It was close enough that it definitely could have gone the other way, and a year ago it probably would have. It's the second straight world title for the Greeks, who beat Germany by the same 3-2 count last year.

That means it's playoff time for Sri Lanka! Our efforts in staying up match us against 30th-ranked Colombia. This is a good draw; in my estimation only Belgium (59th) would have been better for us. It is also probably not good enough; I still project us to lose, probably will be close though, and get sent down. But we'll see if we can pull it off and stay on Level 3.

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Old 09-19-2022, 06:11 PM   #1285
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup Level 3 Playoffs
Sri Lanka vs. Colombia, Indoors

Monday: M. Datar d. F. Grande, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1
Tuesday: A. Sankait l , 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 l. P. Gonzalvez, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
Wednesday: Intodia/Sankait l. Gonzalvez/Marulanda, 6-4, 7-5, 6-1
Thursday: M. Datar l. P. Gonzalvez, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2
Friday: A. Sankait d. F. Grande, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

Colombia defeats Sri Lanka, 3-2. Pepito Gonzalvez, presently ranked 100th, is a player we just couldn't compete with. Datar had a good win on the first day, and Sankait got one at the end, but we needed to win doubles and ... nope. It was a surprise to me that Manoj Datar wasn't allowed to play there - he's the #1-ranked player in doubles for Sri Lanka by far. It seems that, even though it doesn't work that way for singles, doubles teams might be chosen at the start of the year and not adjusted for changes that happen? We'll find out soon enough as it's a quick turnaround for our demotion to Level 4. Colombia meanwhile stays up.

- Malta 5, Belgium 0. Malta star Oscar Woodger (18th) generally hasn't been enough to get them anywhere, but the rest of the players have improved, and they reached the Level 4 final this year. They move up to Level 3, while Belgium is demoted.

- Phillipines 3, Lithuania 2. Both reached the Level 4 semifinals, and after splitting one-sided singles matchups it was all down to the doubles. Phillipines promotes to Level 3.

- South Africa 5, Morocco 0. South Africa was the Level 4 champion this year, while Morocco continues a yo-yo between the levels and goes down. They were there a couple of years ago, then promoted up at the expense of the Phillipines. Couldn't stick though, losing every round this season.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-21-2022 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 09-19-2022, 06:29 PM   #1286
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup Preview

So it's down to Level 4 for the first time in more years than the game's history even lists. I had to look back through the thread to find the answer: apparently I promoted up in 2037(?) for the first time. We're heading into 2089. Over 50 years since we sucked this bad. I don't have the right words to describe that.

Our opponents in Group 3 will be Chinese Taipei (46th), Tunisia (86th), and Uzbekistan (72nd). We're 48th. Based on last year's performance, they are all better than us. As much as I'd like to say 'we're bouncing back up right away and heading to bigger and better things', the goal here is to avoid finishing last in this group and stay in Level 4 ... because if we do finish last, there's a chance of us being kicked out of the World Team Cup entirely and having to wait for an invite back in.

That's right, we've hit rock bottom and there's a considerable chance we'll just keep on digging. If we get Datar into the doubles, that will help. If we can get Sushant Srivastava into singles, that will help more - but even that might not be enough. Chandrasekharan is more of a long-term 'he might be beneficial in a few years' guy, and Raychaudhari even longer away of course. The Sri Lanka players in the Top 1000 of singles are:

283. Manoj Datar - 125 pts. 20 of which he just got from the win in the playoffs.
467. Anant Sankait - 77 pts. 28 years old and on his way down (as is Datar of course)
551. Sushant Srivastava - 61 pts.
590. Manoj Pallavan (28) - 56
830. Anil Kodi (24) - 31
953. Manoj Chowdy (24) - 24

As you can see there's no immediate help walking through that door. Kodi and Chowdy are both talented players with sub-3 endurance and subpar athleticism under the absentee management of the AI. As usual, that means their serving ability is little more than a theory. We're in serious trouble if we ever have to rely on them. Srivastava is 1-2 good tournaments from being WTC-eligible though, and he's just good enough to maybe be a threat to sneak a win or there. He's actually caught up to Datar in terms of his current playing ability; just need the tournament success now for his ranking to reflect that reality. So the sooner he gets in, the better it will be all the way around; the World Team Cup is great for xp of course so it would be a positive for that reason alone.

I can see us finishing anywhere from 2nd to 4th in the group; Chinese Taipei has a top-200 player so beating them is unlikely. Promotion is not in the cards; this is about survival and not making things worse. If we can do that, then we can start thinking about beginning to build again.

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Old 09-20-2022, 10:21 PM   #1287
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Time for the end-of-the-year stuff. First up, in terms of counting the years, I'm going to 'break the fourth wall' so to speak. I'm confusing myself and I feel like I'm always potentially off a year one way or the other trying to make the transitions to 'real-life' year counts. So to heck with that.

Last year was Year 99. This coming year, about to begin is Year 100. And so on. Also, I'm just going to use the main rating for players, not the 'weighted' one I mentioned in the other thread (that also takes into account surface preferences and home-advantage factors). It's not enough different that it has a benefit to outweigh the confusion of two numbers, IMO.

Year 100 Top Ten Rankings

Same players we've been talking about, and mostly in the same order. ZZZZzzzzz ...

1. Renke Cananis (26, DEU, 91%, 9.25) - 13,640

Cananis has improved his rally abilities enough to push to clear best player in the world. This far above 9 on the rating scale is no small feat. He's still below the typical world-class level in rallies, but the huge serve, overall power, and impregnable mental capabilities have been enough for him to narrowly take over the #1 spot again, even in light of sometimes suboptimal management. Cananis stands with more Tour Finals won (4) than Slams (3), which is just all categories of weird. Nonetheless, he figures to be at or close to his peak level ... and it's an impressively high level indeed.

2. Leon Polychroniadis (26, GRC, 92%, 9.13) - 13,305

Polychroniadis has lost the last three matchups with Cananis, and now trails 25-19 in their head-to-head. Still he is right there close behind, and several months younger. Leon still has the best technical skills in the sport, impeccable management from Bambic, far and away the top-ranked manager in this world, and significantly better endurance than his German rival as well. I have to think the Greek will be the last man standing. He has no Tour Finals to his credit, but twice as many Slams (6), and the same number of Masters (11). Time spent at #1 is currently 70 weeks, to Cananis's 59.

This is rare pleasure of a spectacle; enjoy it while you can. A true rivalry between a pair of very worth champions. Many eras don't have a player as good as either one of these stalwarts.

3. Themis Xanthos (27, CYP, 91%, 8.87) - 8.280

A considerable drop to the merely outstanding Xanthos, winner of Indian Wells and finalist as the Tour Finals and Wimbledon. He gets a word in edgewise every now and then but is still clearly in the shadow of the power couple.

4. Ben Faille (21, FRA, 99%, 9.14) - 6,340

The third wheel, Faille is an anomaly. One just doesn't see a player essentially at physical peak reach this level. Quite possibly the most dedicated/durable player in the history of tennis, Ben reached the final at Roland Garros where he came so very close to winning, and also was runner-up at Miami. This year he begins his chase of the top two in earnest. It's already a Big Three, it's just not obvious yet to the casual observer.

He's not yet good enough to take the throne, but I expect this year Faille will dramatically narrow the points gap, get his first big trophies - multiple - and generally begin to make a major nuisance of himself as a serious rival.

5. Alexander Reimann (27, DEU, 89%, 8.79) - 6,310

The writing's on the wall for Reimann, and he clearly has had no problem reading it; an accelerated decline is expected as it seems the no. 2 German has decided to go doubles sooner than most top players do. He's still good enough to hang around for another couple of years, but it's also understandable that he wants to move on and let the titans have their fun.

6. Toni Bardales (25, ESP, 92%, 8.66) - 5,440

Bardales, the resident clay specialist of the top players, had an up-and-down year in which he amusingly didn't actually do all that well on clay. Finalist at Madrid ... but his second-best showing was a semifinal in Shanghai on hardcourt. The gap appears to just be too large for his clay abilities to help all that much. Hanging out around the middle of the first page seems to be his ceiling.

7. Jochen Weigle (25, SUI, 94%, 8.77) - 5,150

I initially over-estimated Weigle ... or perhaps I underestimated the competition. The serve and athleticism aren't bad by any stretch, but just not good enough in this era. I expect mostly treading water here; 4th is probably the ceiling and maybe 5th for Jochen. He'll pass some players up who are older eventually, but others are coming up as well, and with the longevity and excellence of Cananis and Polychroniadis combined with Faille eventually taking over, there's just not going to be a lot of room for upward mobility.

An excellent player, but the competition is too tough.

8. Solitris Papadias (26, GRC, 90%, 8.72) - 4,540

Somewhat weak physically and definitely weak mentally, Papadias sits here with 5.2 skill, 4.2 serve, outstanding marks ... and yet you can completely understand why he's ranked #8. 5th was his high, and now the slow decline has begun for the 'other Greek'.

9. Ale Ballok (24, ITA, 94%, 8.53) - 3,770

Ballok will eventually move up a little I think, but he's not yet ready. Big serve, but weak mentally and doesn't have the baseline technique needed.

10. Eddy Copperfield (27, AUS, 89%, 8.67) - 3,070

It's been musical chairs of a sort for this final spot. Copperfield's as good a candidate for it as any right now, hitting the situation of not quite good enough to do better, but too good for anyone to push out the way.


The average rating here is 8.853. That's just scary. I would say this figures to be the peak year for this wave. Cananis and Xanthos will struggle to be as good a year from now as they are, Copperfield and Reimann are clearly on their way down, and Papadias starting to fade as well. I don't expect major changes to happen just yet, more that the cracks will start to show. The high playing level of this group will allow them to hold out longer than usual.
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Old 09-20-2022, 11:13 PM   #1288
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Year 100 Rankings, 11-32

As usual, for this section I'm just going to focus on the players who are still improving. The ones who are past their peak are either has-beens or never-weres here, in terms of relevance at the top of tennis.

13. Raul Ramirez (25, MEX, 93%, 8.51)

Ramirez is an extremely talented player, but in terms of endurance and athleticism merely good. This has pretty much put a lid on what he's achieved; might sneak into the Top 10 at some point, but I don't expect a lot more improvement here. At 13th he's currently sitting at his career high, and technical skills are still a bit wanting.

15. Oleg Urazov (22, CAN, 98%, 8.62)

Urazov is a player we mentioned earlier in the year; he's good enough that he probably should be a few spots higher. But since he's not yet quite ready to push out any of the top eight players, I wouldn't expect any major fireworks this year. It has seemed to me anecdotally that he's been slow to improve; definitely the rally ability at 4.6 skill needs quite a bit of work. Power, speed, dedication are all there, so we'll see if Oleg can take major steps this year and get to a level where he can seriously challenge his betters.

19. Dominic Stricker (23, SUI, 97%, 8.45)

Stricker's just a bit short on the technical side, but has excellent speed, solid elsewhere, and just the natural giftedness at 5.0 talent helps him along as well. Endurance is definitely on the lower side for a top player, so he'll need every bit of that extra bonus to reach higher. I'm thinking he should definitely reach the Top 10 but beyond that I'm not sure.

20. Pet Sampras (24, FRA, 93%, 8.25)

A fast-rising Frenchman, Sampras is already nearing the top of his arc. Above-average across the board but not particularly special, his technical skills aren't there yet and I don't think there's enough time to get them there. I doubt 'Pet' every cracks the first page.

21. Goya Banqueria (21, ESP, 99%, 8.22)

Another fast-riser, Banqueria has more time. He's carried by excellent athleticism, especially in the strength category, but it's rare to see a player pushing to the top 20 with only 4.3 skill. He's got the endurance to raise that, and as a clay specialist Goya appears to have just ridden that to a quick rise up the rankings. He'll probably stall here for a bit, but definitely should find his way a top-five placing eventually if he's well handled.

23. Ignacia Saravia (23, ESP, 93%, 8.38)

Much less meteoric, Saravia has demonstrated an aptitude for the spoiler-style upset multiple times this past year. A good serve and an outstanding ability to handle pressure situations have helped him to overcome lacking baseline play. He's also athletic enough to hang with most of the top players. Ignacia is never going to be a champion, but I would expect that he'll be a threat for at least another couple of years.

24. Jerome Kim (24, SUI, 97%, 8.00)

Another player riding an impressive gift (4.9 talent), but lacking the dedication to really make it stick. Kim has done well to reach this high at his current abilities. If I had to guess, I'd say he tops out in the low teens, or maybe at the bottom of the first page.

26. George Voronets (22, RUS, 96%, 8.08)

Voronets is a max-aging player who recently arrived on the scene and is already starting to feel the effects of biology ticking. He's put in the effort to have a quality serve, with the rest of his game paying somewhat of a penalty. Really quite balanced otherwise, good all-around player who figures to be good enough to be annoying, but not stick around long enough to be great.

30. Santino Consiglio (24, ITA, 94%, 8.25)

Compared to some of the others, it feels like Consiglio should be perhaps ten spots higher. The mental game is a weakness; so is the fact that too much effort was spoiled on doubles. Still, Santino is fast, dedicated, and is closer technically then a lot of players in this range. I'd like to see him push upwards and be a Top 15 guy.

31. Morten Ejlersgaard (23, DMK, 96%, 8.27)

Fast, good serve, strong mind, Ejlersgaard really needs to make his mark these next couple of years as he's another player with a short shelf-life. Endurance isn't great, and I don't think there's enough time to salvage his technical side (4.4 skill) and make him a major threat.


Faille of course and then Urazov still appear to be the big names from this up-and-coming group. Honorable mention to Banqueria. The rest seem to be a collection of not-quites. Overall, I think this will be a more 'normal' era, Faille excepted, and somewhat less imprenable than the current ruling class.
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Old 09-20-2022, 11:40 PM   #1289
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Year 100 Rankings, Other Notables

45. Ene Caballero (19, ESP, 101%, 8.18)

Making the Top 100 as a teenager is an impressive and rare feat. Making the Top 50? That virtually doesn't happen. Caballero is strong, very fast, strong mentally ... and checks in with a 4.7 endurance rating. He's also of course a fast ager, but that won't stop him from making a splash. Manager is 6th-ranked jtweedy so it's not likely he gets ruined on that front.

As is the case with any 19-year-old, technical side needs work. But Caballero is probably out of the Challengers in a year at most, and making noise on the pro tour from then on. For reference, the next-highest-ranked teenager is 120th.

288. Manoj Datar (32, SRI, 75%, 6.51)

Datar continues to hang around the top of futures ranks - doubles at 242nd - but he is of course declining. At his 104% aging factor, it's not particularly slow either. Current trainer eval is at 3.85. I'm guessing he's probably got at least three years to bring that up, but it'll be a judgement call on how far to take him before he starts working with Raychaudhari, and how long until our young prodigy begins really needing the help.

553. Sushant Srivastava (23, SRI, 96%, 6.54)

Technically speaking, Srivastava has - narrowly - eclipsed Datar as Sri Lanka's best player. Of course, that's not what the rankings say, at least not yet. Srivastava was 31-11 this year, which may not sound that impressive, but his career match win total before this season was 22. That adds some perspective. Every new tournament boosts him to a new career high.

For the next several months, Sushant has nothing better than QF results to replace. All of his best finishes have been recent, and there's no reason to expect that trend to change. Really it's just all about how quickly he can get up high enough to push up the futures ladder to higher-tier events, and get into the WTC to help us out. It's a bit of a race against time there, and it might well be that it's another year before he can really be of assistance. Hopefully it's not too late if that happens.

2291. Aparna Chandrasekharan (19, SRI, 94%, 4.97)

The growing pains of this past year behind him, Chandrasekharan was in the 4.3 range when we picked him up. So he's already made notable progress. His first year in competitive tournaments brought him 8-12 singles and 16-12 doubles marks. I expect his singles results to well north of break-even this year, and my goal is to get him out of the amateur ranks by the time it's over. Aparna isn't yet listed on Sri Lanka's Top 10 active players, and he's probably two years minimum away from being a factor in the World Team Cup.

First things first, but definitely headed in the right direction.

665 (J). Girish Raychaudhari (14, SRI, 64%, 2.23)

The warm-up/initiation year is now over for Raychaudhari. Marks of 12-11 singles, 14-11 doubles at the JG5 tournament level were ... underwhelming. But that's fine so long as he starts finding more success this year, as every expectation and experience indicates he will. Girish is still very much in the range where fatigue is an issue for even the shorter tournaments, but the situation is gradually improving.

Manager Ranking

106th to start with 473 points, out of 122 managers at >150 points.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-20-2022 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 09-21-2022, 08:32 PM   #1290
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup, Level 4 Group 3 Round 1
Tunisia (84th) vs. Sri Lanka (48th), Hardcourt

* Tunisia is shown as 86th, but 84th on the country rankings list. There is some strangeness at the bottom of the rankings I think.

Monday: Y. Rassul d. A. Sankait, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1
Tuesday: A. Morceli d. M. Datar, 1-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, 12-10
Wednesday: L. Camona/J. Benhamou d. M. Datar/R. Intodia, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0
Thursday: Y. Rassul d. M. Datar, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3
Friday: A. Morceli d. A. Sankait, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1

Tunisia wins, 5-0.

This was ... depressing. We just got shut out by one of the worst nations in the world. You can still go down from here, but it's hard. Unsurprisingly, we dropped several more spots in the rankings to 55th, but that's the least of our problems. Even if Manoj Datar had held on instead of losing an epic on the second day, we were still going to get blasted here. Probably should have won (211-199 total points) and it was a gold mine for xp, but our most favorable matchup and still couldn't quite finish. He's in doubles now which is great but we're going nowhere there until the corpse of Ritwik Intodia is expunged ... which is now probably not going to happen until next year.

Uzbekistan upset Chinese Taipei 3-2. We get Chinese Taipei next on hardcourt, and Uzbekistan last for an indoors matchup. But it sure looks like we're just going to keep getting our butts kicked, at a minimum, until Sushant Srivastava joins the efforts. And with Datar declining quickly I don't even know if that would be enough to do much.

Not that we didn't know this already, but I didn't realize the degree to which it is true: we REALLY suck.

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Old 09-25-2022, 12:16 AM   #1291
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Australian Open: Early Rounds

The first round of the first Slam was clean for the seeded players. All 32 of them. The biggest news was who was not here. Another mess-up by the Cypriots, as #3 Themis Xanthos and #11 Alketas Albanos did not enter. Not a screw-up was the fact that #5 Alexander Reimann has chosen to forego singles entirely and play only doubles. That means that Ballok is effectively now the world no. 8, and everyone shifts up a spot.

But the second round was decidedly different. It's time to meet some new names:

- Daniel Long (IRE) defeated (16) Dominic Stricker (SUI), in a case of one rising young player defeating a better - or at least higher-ranked - rising young player. 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4. A fine match that went the distance.

- Davide de Laurentis (DEU) provided another example of the same idea, eliminating (17) Goya Banqueria in straight sets. These are not marginal seeds going down, but players firmly established among the elite.

- Johann Przalowik (DEU), another German and the latest prize pupil of pavlicker, had a tough four-set win with the last two sets going to tiebreakers. His opponent/victim was (25) Santino Consiglio of Italy.

- Dechang An (CHN) is a more marginal example, 24 and a little closer to peak, doesn't even have a human manager, but still managed to take down (28) Morten Efjlersgaard (DNM) in four sets.

- Ventura Lentini (ITA), 25, eliminated yet another up-and-comer, (23) Jerome Kim (SUI), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(7). Definitely a pattern here. Some of young guns need ... seasoning it seems. And infighting among them.

- Lucio Maydon (USA) completes the rundown, knocking out (32) Luigi Cannonica of Italy. A four-set match in which Maydon won two close tiebreakers. This is probably the weirdest - the American is a 28-year-old well past his best tennis.

That's a lot of unexpected third-round faces. Ignaci Saravia tried to do his upset thing at that stage, but Urazov outlasted him in five sets. Przalwik claimed another victim, (11) Vinnie Goodbody. Two in a row is not a fluke. Same for Lentini, who rallied past (14) Mahjab Thabet (THA) , 2-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4, 6-3! The others though, fell meekly. There were still more upsets that occurred in other matchups, however. (13) Boris Hollinger fell to (30) Matias Aldecoa (ESP), while (24 George Voronets continued his progress, eliminating favored punching bag and 8th-seed Copperfield, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6(5).

Those last two winners met in the fourth round, ensuring there would be at least one surprise name in the second week. Again it was Voronets in straight sets. Andre Mexicano made a bid to scratch (6) Solitris Papadias, but the Greek no. 2 survived in five sets. After all the chaos, the top seven seeds all make it through - once again the surprises happening in the lower levels. To put a finer point on it, Papadias was the only player among the seven to even lose a set in the fourth round. The hierarchy is clear.

Elsewhere ...

My hopes for a continued quick rise with Sushant Srivastava were dashed when surprisingly strong futures fields were present and he lost in the quarterfinals of an event in India. One more futures trophy may be enough to put him above Sankait and participate in the WTC ... but that will have to wait now until at least after the second round. He's still at a level of ability that is vulnerable to the luck of the draw.

Aparna Chandrasekharan lost in the first round of singles, second round of doubles in his latest amateur event, gaining no points and continuing the work of improving. Girish Raychaudhari had his best event to date as is expected with an entire year's worth of juniors graduating to the pro tier. In Tokyo, he was the victor in doubles and made it the final of singles before succumbing to fatigue and an opponent who should be playing at a higher tier. Now we'll see if Raychaudhari can string together a series of similar results. Also, in unexpected news, a doubles partnership was offered by Adrian Wannemaker (SUI). Nothing will likely come of this unless by accident for the next couple of years. Wannemaker, half a year younger, could provide an interesting doubles teammate when the final junior year arrives. He's a promising low-aging-factor youth like my player is, so it could be a good fit.

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Old 09-25-2022, 06:56 PM   #1292
Brian Swartz
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Australian Open: Championship Week

The surprise quarterfinalist, George Voronets, had the misfortune of playing Faille although there would be no favorable matchup at this point. He managed to take six games, a summary dismissal. Jochen Weigle had a straight-sets loss to Cananis, Ale Ballok the same against Polychroniadis, and Solitris Papadias managed a set at leasts .... before Bardales sent him packing 3-6, 7-5, 6-1, 7-6(4).

Top four players into the semifinals. Bardales and Faille both failed to win a set. There were tiebreakers in each match, they were close, but no sign that the status quo would yet be overturned. So, for the 45th time, almost all of those coming in the last four years, it was Renke Cananis vs. Leon Polychroniadis. The Greek took his 7th Slam and second straight Australian Open, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. He remains #2 ... narrowly ... but it breaks a three-match winning streak by Cananis and ensures the rivalry stays very much alive. As for Voronets, he moves up 8 spots in the rankings to 19th. Still in the same overall 'bracket', but threatening to take it up to the Top-16 tier. At the moment, his AO showing accounts for almost 20% of his ranking points.

Up Next

Our second round of the World Team Cup is next week, and given what I discussed about trainers in the other thread, I've decided to take Manoj Datar up to 4.5 before he joins the training ranks. I invested his stored-up xp to that end, which should also help his performance a bit. Narrowly, he becomes once more the best tennis player in the world from Sri Lanka, at 32 years young. We'll see if that pays any dividends for our national aspirations in the short-term, but it certainly can't hurt.

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Old 09-26-2022, 08:02 PM   #1293
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup, Level 4 Group 3 Round 2
Chinese Taipei (51st) vs. Sri Lanka (55th), Hardcourt

Monday: T. Gu d. A. Sankait, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1
Tuesday: K. Fen l. M. Datar, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
Wednesday: Fen/Ban l. Datar/Sankait, 7-5, 6-1, 6-0
Thursday: T. Gu d. M. Datar, 6-0, 6-4, 6-1
Friday: K. Fen l. A. Sankait, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

Sri Lanka defeats Chinese Taipei, 3-2!!

This is our first WTC tie victory since I returned to the game, and it requires some unpacking. It both was, and was not, an upset. Tung Gu is the best singles player playing at this level, ranked 98th in the world. We knew that going into the year; he's going to get his wins. What is unexpected is that the #2 player for Chinese Taipei - Zheng-xin Xu (291st) has not been playing, leaving the duties up to their #3, Kai-Shek Fen (432nd). Neither player is human-managed, and Xu is both younger and better. I have no explanation for why he is not playing, but it's basically leaving Gu high and dry, with nobody to get that third win for them.

Tunisia beat Uzbekistan 3-2, so the standings are currently Tunisia on top with 2 points, Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka next with 1, Chinese Taipei with 0. I expect the same result between Chinese Taipei and Tunisia - a 3-2 win for Tunisia with Gu getting his two points. If that happens then we finish either 2nd or 3rd depending on how we do against Uzbekistan. Both of their singles players are in the 200-250 range in the rankings and near their peak, so I think it's quite unlikely that we win. Still, Chinese Taipei's error in our favor does probably mean that we don't have to worry about being kicked out of the WTC next year. Only way that could happen now is if they beat Tunisia and we lose to Uzbekistan.

Anant Sankait winning that up-and-down decisive rubber probably saved our season in that sense. It also gave him enough clearance from Sushant Srivastava that it will be another year before Srivastava can get his ranking high enough to represent Sri Lanka in the WTC. So it's both good and bad news, depending on how you slice it. And they did kick Intodia out of our doubles team finally - that helped as well. We switched places with Chinese Taipei in the rankings after this result; up four spots to 51st, and they're down four to 55th. At least for the moment, the bleeding has temporarily been stopped.

Srivastava and Raychaudhari are both in action next week; Chandrasekharan had a terrible outing in his last amateur so he'll be back in action the week after that. We'll check back in on everyone's progress when the tour hits the Indian Wells Masters a month from now.

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Old 10-02-2022, 08:24 PM   #1294
Brian Swartz
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Indian Wells

Once again, Cyprus is MIA ... but they are going to be here for Miami. Those guys are really annoying, and given that Themis Xanthos won here last year, it's a huge hit for him. Of those who showed up, the top eight seeds all made it through week one. Oleg Urazov pushed Ballok to three sets, Daniel Long made Bardales work through a couple of tiebreaks, but in the end there were no major surprises.

Cananis dismissed Ale Ballok rudely as we might expect, but the human question mark Eddy Copperfield pulled a stunner over Bardales, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2). I never know whether Copperfield is going to do something like this, or lose in the second round. He's an enigma. Jochen Weigle pushed Polychroniadis on paper - 7-6(4), 7-5 - but in actuality it wasn't that close. Just looked that way because there were very few break chances either way. The other Greek, Papadias, had the second surprise with a competitive win over Ben Faille. Having a higher seed this year won't help Faille if he doesn't take advantage of it - just the second meeting between these two and probably an aberration, but a missed opportunity for the top French player.

Copperfield almost did it again, pushing Renke Cananis to a third-set tiebreak before losing. Crazy stuff. Solitris Papadias pushed his big Greek brother to three sets also in a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 defeat. Quite a pair of compelling semifinals against all expectations. Big tournament for both Copperfield and Papadias, and neither showing was expected. The final was quality as well, with Cananis winning the assumed matchup with Polychroniadis 7-6(4), 7-5. The #1 ranking was on the line here again, and it stays with the German. Both of them increase their distance on the rest of the field, while Faille narrowly slides past the absentee defending champ Xanthos into the #3 spot ... literally barely with half the points of Polychroniadis at #2. That's not a gap, it's a freaking canyon.

Elsewhere ...

Manoj Datar continues doing his futures thing, maintaining as much as he can, making the finals in both competitions for his most recent outing. Sushant Srivastava had one last chance to possibly make the WTC third round an event in Russia, but it was a stronger than expected field and he lost in the semifinal for singles. First round in doubles ... eeek. Had he won, he would have likely been ahead of Sankait by a single point. Long view and all that; Srivastava has regained the 'on-paper' status of best player from Sri Lanka, and he should maintain that for years. He's still inching upwards, but also still the 'third wheel' behind Datar and Sankait.

The news was better for Aparna Chandrasekharan. A third-round result in Barletta singles was nice, but not all that impressive. It's his third such showing, and there's been three-months-plus in between those results each time. But he followed it up on this occasion, finding the hardcourts in Nagoya, Japan to his liking and also the field there, which was somewhat weaker than usual. His first amateur-level quarterfinal finish, in both singles, and doubles, vaults him up to around 1950th on the singles side. This gives us reason to think he could be turning the corner.

Girish Raychaudhari had two more events, quarterfinals in one and semifinals in another. Generally the first 'fatigue hump' to get over is to reach about 2.0 endurance; he's at the high side of 1.8 I think so as much as anything he just needs to get older. I did a bit of benchmarking at his recent birthday with his skill/service training and I do think he's in a good position there, slightly better than the guys at age 15 I had in the other world. So continued patience *sigh* is needed.

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Old 10-04-2022, 08:21 PM   #1295
Brian Swartz
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Miami Masters

There was one missing link from the quarterfinal round this time: Ale Ballok lost to rising young player Dominic Stricker, who then was beaten by (11) Raul Ramirez. So Ramirez joins an otherwise intact group at the business end of the tournament.

Ramirez was one of two blowouts in the final eight, courtesy of Faille; Polychroniadis smacked Jochen Weigle 6-1, 6-4 in the other. Both Cananis - to Toni Bardales - and Xanthos - to Solitris Papadias - lost a set in their matches before eventually pulling through. That left a pristine semifinal round with the top four seeds. Xanthos-Cananis was a heck of a match, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6(3). It seems almost automatic that Renke Cananis will win the tight ones, and he almost always does, but a nice comeback here by Xanthos to make him work very hard for it. In the second match, it was a repeat of last year's result at the same stage; Leon Polychroniadis had beaten Ben Faille in four matches in a row since then, but there must be something about the Miami courts because Faille got him again in three sets to reach the final.

Another close one, this time in two, allowed Cananis to claim another Masters Shield. He retains his spot uninterrupted at #1, and Faille has a nice bounce-back result after a mild disappointment in IW.
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Old 10-04-2022, 08:48 PM   #1296
Brian Swartz
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Year 100 Q2 Rankings Update

1. Renke Cananis (27, DEU) - 14,640

2. Leon Polychroniadis (26, GRC) - 14,110

The #1 spot has been on the line in multiple tournaments already, but Cananis has held firm and the power couple has extended their advantage over the early months of the year. It's likely that we'll now see some seperation between them however. Polychroniadis made a clean sweep of the clay events, and that seems unlikely to be replicated; Cananis actually has a slightly better proficiency on the dirt.

3. Themis Xanthos (27, CYP) - 7,210

4. Ben Faille (21, FRA) - 7,080

While certainly not of the same importance, there's also a back-and-forth happening for the #3 spot. Xanthos inched back in front with his showing in Miami. As ever, it's all about how often he actually shows up, in terms of how long he can hold off the French phenom.

5. Toni Bardales (26, ESP) - 5,700

Stunningly, Bardales does not even have a trainer. He was up-and-down on the clay last year and could potentially make that battle for #3 quite interesting indeed if he can pull things together more consistently this season.

6. Jochen Weigle (25, SUI) - 5,240

The catchphrase for Weigle I think is 'just kinda there'. Rarely loses early, rarely threatens to pull an upset, just seemingly always a reliable quarterfinalist in any big event and then goes away. I don't have any reason to expect that to change.

7. Solitris Papadias (27, GRC) - 4,860

Papadias has been making a bit more noise than expected, reminding everyone that he's still very much in possession of world-class technique.

8. Alexander Reimann (27, DEU) - 4,730

Sliding on down, and making way for the next generation.

9. Ale Ballok (25, ITA) - 3,875

Other than the early Miami loss, he's done quite well at holding steady and waiting for Reimann to get out of his way.

10. Eddy Copperfield (28, AUS) - 2,940

Mr. Unpredictable is still hanging around.

Still an open question who is next up. Oleg Urazov was up to 11th, then slipped a couple spots after Raul Ramirez had his run at Miami. Alketas Albanos is still unreliable but also right in the thick of it. And many eyes will be fixed on young Goya Banqueria, currently 24th, to see what he can do on the clay this year.

367. Manoj Datar (32, SRI)

He might still be Sri Lanka's top-ranked player on paper, but Datar is fading and it gets more obvious all the time.

432. Sushant Srivastava (24, SRI)

Steady, gradual progress continues.

1954. Aparna Chandrasekharan (19, SRI)

Chandrasekharan is at the same point in the aging curve (96%) as Srivastava is now. Just on the upward swing instead of the downside. He's not quite to the Top 10 Sri Lanka players yet, but approaching it.

498 (J). Girish Raychaudhari (15, SRI)

Still grinding away, looking for that first JG5 title. Semifinals has been more the consistent result of late.
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Old 10-05-2022, 04:30 PM   #1297
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup Level 4 Group 3 Round 3
Sri Lanka (51st) vs. Uzbekistan (72nd), Indoors

Monday: A. Sankait l. M. al Hamadani, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
Tuesday: S. Srivastava l. M. Norbaev, 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-4
Wednesday: Sankait/Choudhury l. Israfilov/Ibadinov, 6-1, 6-3, 7-5
Thursday: A. Sankait l. M. Norbaev, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
Friday: S. Srivastava l. M. al. Hamadani, 6-3, 6-3, 7-5

Uzbekistan defeats Sri Lanka, 5-0.

The obvious question is here is 'wait ... what ... where is Manoj Datar? Well I learned a Fun Fact (tm); your fatigue can be too high and disqualify you from playing in the World Team Cup. And Datar's endurance is at 1.5 and not going in the right direction, so this is going to become an intermittent problem - it's very hard to control fatigue when endurance is below 2. So that's that, and we get skunked by a nation over 20 spots lower in the rankings, although at least Srivastava got out there for the first time, which did gain him about an extra half-weeks worth or thererabouts of experience compared to what he would normally get.

The sad part is that this is the good news for the week. The bad news; Chinese Taipei beat Tunisia 3-2. That means Tunisia and Uzbekistan have 2 points each and move on to the quarterfinals. Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka have 1 point each, and we lost the tiebreaker badly. Sri Lanka finishes last in the group in Level 4. There's only one place you can go down from here, and I don't know the exact criteria for whether that insult will be visited upon us or not. Will any of the 22 nations that aren't in the World Team Cup replace us next year? That indignity could indeed be in our future, but we'll have to wait several months to find out. I was really hoping we'd luck into third place and then I'd be able to do better maybe next year.

From a storytelling point of view, it would be more poetic to truly sink to the very bottom, but from a 'let's turn this ship around ASAP' I'd kind of rather not. Ahh well. We slip to 55th overall, and I think we probably have above-average odds of hanging on to our spot, but that's just a guess. There's nothing for it but to just do my best to keep getting Datar ready to be a trainer and improving the young players as best I can, so that we are prepared for whatever happens.


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Old 10-07-2022, 03:19 PM   #1298
Join Date: Jun 2019
So tough to win a match but still finish last in the group. Very unfortunate.
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Old 10-07-2022, 10:54 PM   #1299
Brian Swartz
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Monte Carlo Masters

If this week was any indication, it's going to be a wild clay season. It didn't take long to see if Goya Banqueria would be relevant; matched up with #8 Ale Ballok in the second round, the Spanish prodigy edged past him 7-5 in the third set. He went on to be the only player to crash the quarterfinals party, with the top seven seeds making it through. But Banqueria didn't just get there, he gave Cananis quite a scare in a 7-6(6), 6-7(6), 6-3 loss.

And there was more drama to come. Themis Xanthos was beaten by Bardales in two close sets, Jochen Weigle quickly dismissed by Faille, and with the two Greek players matched up, Solitris Papadias narrowly missed the upset 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3). And then the surprises really rolled in for the semifinals. Toni Bardales announced himself as a legit threat on clay this year, defeating world no. 1 Renke Cananis in straight sets. After a war of a first set, no. 2 Leon Polychroniadis was beaten 7-6(7), 6-3 by Ben Faille.

This is something that just doesn't happen in this world. The last Masters/Slam/WTF that neither Cananis or Polychroniadis reached the final of, so far as I can tell, was Roland Garros of Year 97. That's almost three years ago. I don't want to over-react to one tournament, but a streak like that doesn't occur by accident - and it doesn't end by accident with both players still in their prime either.

As to the final itself, Faille cruised 6-4, 6-2 to claim his first notable piece of hardware. That figures to secure the #3 spot for him for good, and allow him to begin the chase of the top two in earnest, esp. if he can back up this performance. Bardales and Banqueria got off to a great start here as well.

Elsewhere ...

Sushant Srivastava got another futures title, and also made the semifinals in doubles. He's up to #2 in the nation and I expect him to get the top spot in the next couple of months. Wouldn't mind him him being on the WTC doubles pairing, but he's a very distant 4th there.

Aparna Chandrasekharan's latest outing went even better. He's now getting decent seeds in the Amateur events which helps. Another quarterfinal in singles, and he lucked out with his doubles partner, moving all the way through the draw to win the tournament! That moves Chandrasekharan up to the official Top 10 list in Sri Lanka players .... 10th in both disciplines but still a significant moment for him. There's no question now that momentum is building as he pushes towards the top of the amateur ranks.

Both of them will get a number of weeks off now to train, and it probably won't be until round about Roland Garros that we hear from them again in a competitive event. Girish Raychaudhari continues his grind, another similar result in his last outing but no breakthrough yet.
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Old 10-15-2022, 02:55 AM   #1300
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It's time for mid-season rankings update, but I've been slacking here so I'll do this in briefer summary format to catch up on what's been happening.

Madrid Masters

The Spaniards were a big fat nothing here. Goya Banqueria had a meek 2 & 2 loss to Cananis in the second round, and the others barely did more than belch. Very weird at their home Masters, and a big opportunity missed.

Everyone expected to make the quarterfinals, did so. The only 'upset', which isn't really one, at that stage was Themis Xanthos losing in a third-set tiebreak to Toni Bardales. The semifinals were really competitive, both of them. Renke Cananis lost to Ben Faille 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3, and Bardales was beaten by Leon Polychroniadis, 7-5 in the third. So they could have gone either way. After an epic first-set tiebreak (15-13!) went against him in the final, Faille rallied to win in three anyway.

It was far from easy, but his second straight Masters made a real statement. At this point, you have to forget the 'power couple' metaphor and admit that what we have is a Big Three. Faille is a legitimate threat now.

Rome Masters

Here we had some party-crashers. Goya Banqueria was back, taking down Xanthos in the second round and then rallying past Jochen Weigle in the quarterfinals for good measure. SF in a Masters isn't bad for an unseeded player. So where were you last week? Raul Ramirez edged past Ballok in the third round, a more traditional barely-an-upset, and then went away against Polychroniadis. Toni Bardales gave Cananis a QF scare, but was beaten 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3.

This time Ben Faille was crushed with only four games won against Cananis in the semifinals, setting up a traditional 1 vs. 2. Leon Polychroniadis maintained some semblance of clay prominence with a 6-4, 6-4 title, his 12th Masters.
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