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Old 05-14-2019, 09:01 PM   #1001
Brian Swartz
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Fun Fact: Andrejova was recently pushed out of the Top 32, pretty much exactly when he turned 30 years old. That leaves Chiba - down to #12 now - as the only thirty-something at the elite level. And nobody else is even 29.

There are several 28-year-olds, ranked #1, #3, #4, #5, and #10 in the world. Nobody 11-32 is that age yet. Only a handful are 26-27 even. So when this top-heavy group goes south and the age of Perez arrives yeah.

My answer to the question of challengers to that throne is that it's most likely to be a rotating group of people who snipe every once in a while, but nobody consistent. But I don't really know.
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:50 AM   #1002
Christy
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A good achievement for Chiba, especially as he looks to be able to stay in the 32 for a while longer if he wants to.

Perez technically has a shot at #1 at Wimbledon.

It would rely on Hart not making the semi final and Perez winning the thing. I would not bet on either happening but it is a possibility. It feels like a while since the no. 1 spot was in play.

Aviles has a 500 final on grass as well so we can see if he does anything at Wimbledon.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:05 AM   #1003
Brian Swartz
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We could have another shakeup coming here. Defending Wimbledon champion Brian Meikeljohn, still ranked third, has done nothing at all - no practices, nothing - since Roland Garros. He's not even entered as we close in on the oldest Slam of them all. If Meikeljohn is MIA, we have to wonder if there's any chance at a repeat of last year's surprise runs from Hughes(finalist) and Stachovsky(semifinalist along with Hart). It does tend to be a fairly unpredictable event though big servers obviously have an advantage.

July

Sushant Chiba was going to play one of the 500s, but I screwed up and he didn't enter. So it was off to the Antalya 250 this week, where he made the semis as a 2-seed and lost to grass specialist Acke Kjaerstad(SWE, #28). Match wasn't as close as the 6-4, 7-5 final … it would have been nice to not lose all three BPs against, but even so I think tiebreaks would have very likely gone against Chiba the way it was played. Amrik Kasaravalli fared worse, going down in the first round to Poland's Kamil Smok(#50), 7-6(4), 6-3. I often have this problem at this stage of my player's careers for various reasons - low grass proficiency, not a particularly big serve emphasis, not having that big of a skill edge when you first break into the top levels, etc. So it would have been nice to do better but I'm not particularly surprised or anything.

The news was decidedly better elsewhere. First up, Satyagit Guha hilariously went back to the amateurs. He's a whole 1-4 in futures main draw matches, and has lost enough points that he dropped out of the Top 1000. Went and got himself another title, though he needed three sets in the last couple of rounds to do it. Then he joined Nasir Chittoor the next week at an FT1 event in Argentina, because the week of Wimbledon and the week before don't have anything better than an FT2. Week 26 though had a pair of the top tier, both in the same country. It could hardly have gone better except for the draw. Guha upset the 6-seed in the first round, which was stunning given his futures record. He made it to the QF before getting smashed by Chittoor. The pairing took the title in doubles, and Chittoor edged American Gregory Mort 7-6(3), 7-6(7) in the singles final. It was a match of the top two seeds and lived up to the billing, unusual at this level. Would have been nice not to have my guys drawn in the same quarter but other than that it was perfect.

Most importantly, the win moves Nasir Chittoor into the Top 200 and he graduates from futures play. So it's time to talk about the next tier as the tour's focus switches to historic Wimbledon.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 05-17-2019 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:19 AM   #1004
Brian Swartz
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Challenger Overview

Ok so to minimize the impact of the text walls I'm about to throw, I'm splitting this into two parts.




Here's our circle image again.

** Black-Red = Amateurs (1001+)
** Red-Yellow = Futures (201-1000)
** Yellow-Green = Challengers (33-200)
** Inside Green = Elite (1-32)

I've always thought the Challenger name was quite good and appropriate for what essentially is tennis's top developmental stage, high minor league, best of the semi-pro, or whatever you want to call it. Here is the first point where you've actually accomplished something. Average-to-good futures players can be bought for a dime a dozen on the open market. You don't have to work at it to reach that level. As an example, Anil Manohar, my aging still-around-just-because-I-don't-feel-like-firing-him trainer, was hired in at 27, nearly 28 years old. That was almost 36 years ago in-game; he's now 63 and change. His career-high singles ranking was 238th, and I just picked him up as the best-looking Sri Lankan near his prime. Didn't even know I was going to make him a trainer, I don't think I even knew what trainers were, but I soon realized that high futures were his peak. Most of the players generated by the game can make it well into that level of play, but getting to Challengers requires a little more work. Not a lot more, but some. Most of the players who get there, do so because a human manager took an interest at some point relatively early in their career and worked on them. So I see it as the first stage where you start to see the fruits of your labor in merely getting there.

It's also the stage that requires the most patience. Everybody, and I do mean everybody, hits a speed bump of some length here. Even King Kaspar didn't steam through it like it was nothing, spending over a year and a half I think. Generally speaking, you need close to a 7.0 rating to graduate futures and get here, and roughly an 8.0 to escape to the Elite level of the Top 32. That's probably more like 8.2 or 8.25 right now of course - these things change with tour competitiveness. That's part of the reason why you spend significant time here; it's a lot harder to go from 7.0 (good) to 8.0 (excellent) than it is to go from 5 to 6 or whatever. For world-class players, you are generally at physical peak and therefore gaining XP at the fastest possible rate, but it still is a significant hill to climb.

Another reason is this is the stage where the field shrinks the most. Futures are a third of the entire pro field of competitors; Challengers a mere fifth of that; and to escape to Elite, you have to be among the best sixth (6.25, to be precise). No other tier has that harsh of a ratio. And finally, going Elite means running into the very best players a significant amount of the time. There are few 'cheap' rankings to gain once you get up that far.

All of which is to say that this is essentially where the men are separated from the boys. The high end of Challengers is basically where things switch from independently developing your abilities to putting the pedal to the medal and really going for as many wins/ranking points as you can get, i.e. a more focused performance mentality when you hit roughly the Top 50.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 05-17-2019 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:25 AM   #1005
Brian Swartz
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Challenger Comparison

Now we'll look at some historical examples of this transition for improving players.

** John Hart - 4, 21y 8w to 21y 44w
** Nicolas Perez - 14, 19y 21w to 21y 46w

Here's our current and future #1s to show a difference ... and a similarity. How long you spend in Challengers is of course a choice, up to a point. You can always 'play up' and accept exits earlier from tournaments, which appears to be the path taken by Hart here. Meanwhile Perez was handled more like my players have been, as you'll see - except that he got there faster because he's like really good and stuff. But both of them won their last challenger just before turning 22, and then started making their mark on the top level. Obviously the sooner you can do that, the sooner you start getting the benefits of playing Slams/Masters and the xp bonuses those get. So my guys:

** Anil Mehul - 3, 20y 16w to 21y 34w
** Girish Girsh - 10, 20y 21w to 21y 46w
** Prakash Mooljee - 17, 19y 40w to 21y 45w
** Ritwik Dudwadkar - 16, 20y 24w to 22y 22w
** Sushant Chiba - 21, 20y 14w to 22y 3w
** Amrik Kasaravalli - 16, 21y 9w to 23y 23w

I've said before I didn't know what the heck I was doing when I brought Mehul up. Imagine what he'd have accomplished if I did! Here's some pretty compelling evidence of it. He would not win his first pro-level title - a 500 - for almost two full years after this last challenger victory. I got impatient at this level. It's easy, but counterproductive, to do so. I would later get better at it.

Prakash Mooljee started younger, but didn't get through this any sooner than his predecessors. I remember him just being remarkably solid in futures, but the stall admits no exceptions. Dudwadkar waiting the longest by a good margin - and yet by my calculations actually reached the highest peak as a pro. Chiba had more early success than the others, but still had to stick around for almost two years. And Kasaravalli? Well, you can see here that he was a full year or more behind the others by the end of it.

Nasir Chittoor had a 12-week headwind going into futures, and that ended up dropping by half. With the stiff competition he's up against, I don't expect him to particularly set any speed records. That competition includes two fellow Sri Lanka Reapers that are ahead of Chittoor and Fitzpatrick at the moment - though we'll catch them in time I'm still quite confident. He'll probably be close to 22 by the time he gets out. The next two years will be vital as he's just reached physical maturity so right now is where Mehul's going to make his greatest impact as a trainer. It's time to rack up as much XP as possible, and go from good to great.
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:20 AM   #1006
Brian Swartz
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So I just caught the end of an absurd match that just finished. Wimbledon third round, (12) Sushant Chiba vs. (17) Il-Sung Jung.

First three sets go to tiebreaks. Jung, then Chiba, then Jung again. Sushant wins the fourth easily. Cruise to victory? Hardly. Up through 7-7 in the 5th, on serve. Chiba breaks for 8-7 lead ... then double-faults at 0-15 and eventually gives it back. Serves for the match and fails, so it's 8-all. Both players obviously tense and blowing chance after chance, but it stays even. 9-9. 10-10. 11-11. Chiba breaks again, then double faults three bloody times to hand it back at 12-all. Long, tense game and he breaks again ... and this time finally holds.

Final scoreline: Chiba d. Jung, 6-7(5), 7-6(0), 6-7(5), 6-2, 14-12! Exactly 400 points. 12 BP to 4, 59 return points won to 32. 47 combined aces. Should never have been this close. I need a sedative.

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Old 05-19-2019, 05:35 AM   #1007
Brian Swartz
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Hopefully tomorrow we'll get to a rankings update and take a look at the Race for the first time this year. But first this ...

2066 Wimbledon

For the quarterfinals, we had three of the top four seeds, but also three double-digit ones. It was a diverse mix. Defending champion Brian Meikeljohn was indeed a no-show. It's now been several weeks since he or the other player under the same manager did anything. Could be a total abdication.

For the first match, we had Hart against Srba Dogic, a straight-sets win for the world no. 1 but it was still a welcome performance by Dogic. After a quick RG exit and a loss in the third round here last season, it's a bounce-back effort. Benefiting from our missing player with a 4-seed was Hughes, who knocked out Emilien Mathou of France in three close sets. Back-to-back Slam quarterfinals continue a strong year for him. Then it was Nicolas Perez against the low seed, (16) Ollie Haas. And this one was back and forth, up and down, with a strange 6-2, 1-6 start. That's not a very grass-like result, and it ended 9-7 in the 5th for the underdog Dutchman. I say underdog, but Haas was a quarterfinalist last year and is a strong grass player. A bit disappointing for Perez, but it is still a round further than he went a year ago and he's not much for this surface. Then Sushant Chiba had his third straight close matchup against 6th-seeded Isa Solheim. Most of my players are crap on grass to start and fairly good late in their career, and no exception is Chiba. After his epic of Jung and a somewhat less stressful four-setter over Gonzoles, he figured to be a very narrow favorite in this encounter. After losing his serve late in the second set and dropping the first in a tiebreak, it seemed it wasn't to be. But he broke Solheim's first service game in the next two sets, eventually capitalizing to level the match. The pride of Denmark was clearly the sharper player in the decider, eventually getting the crucial break midway through the set for a 7-6(4), 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 win. Talk about close in the final stats:

** Both players were 3 of 10 on BPs
** Both players were an identical 52 of 165 while returning
** 167-166 was the total points count

Had Sushant won, he would have moved back into the Top 10. That would have been fabulous, but anytime he gets to the second week these days it's a big success. And it almost ended two rounds earlier, so I can't complain.

Hart is now 24-5 lifetime against his compatriot Seamus Hughes after a four-set success in the semis. How predictable. Meanwhile Haas dismissed Isa Solheim in straight sets, the last two in tiebreak. And so it was that Ollie Haas aimed to become the lowest-ranked player in over 50 years to win Wimbledon - though it's been much more common for a double-digit seed to make it to the final and lose here. I feel like we've seen this movie before, and recently. But this time the house won. Barely. After one of the most epic finals these championships have ever seen, Hart was the last man standing. Only one set ended in regulation: 7-6(6), 7-6(2), 6-7(4), 3-6, 10-8. The match stats say that Haas was actually, by a very narrow margin, the better player on this day. But champions find a way, and John Hart continued his trend of winning here every other year. It's his third Wimbledon, and 8th Slam overall, tying him for 7th all-time. At least for now, he's not giving up his crown of being the world's best.

In Other News ...

RG champion Calisto Aviles got off to a good start, then was derailed by (32) William Todhunter in the third round. Fine showing by the Australian. Tim de Jong nearly crashed N. Perez's party earlier, losing 11-9 in another epic 5th set in the fourth. Wentz and L. Perez also made it that far. Before losing to Chiba, Gonzoles went five with and ultimately upended (3) Barry Molyneaux in round three. So it was very hit-and-miss with the top players.

Amrik Kasaravalli got through one round, then tasted the taste of sheer disgust after a two-set lead devolved into an 11-9 5th-set defeat against nobody Joey Adriaansz(NLD). He's very happy to be done with grass-court tennis for the year. Nasir Chittoor entered qualifying after carefully weighing the options; practice competition would have been total garbage, and he was too tired to go through a full tournament draw and try a challenger. He repeated his performance from a month ago, getting through two rounds easily and then falling at the final hurdle. It was actually a bit better overall than I anticipated.
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:23 PM   #1008
Christy
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Meiklejohn had done something similar disappearing between the French and Wimbledon. Yeah came back that time though.

The loss to Haas is annoying as it could have easily been a final but the match vs de Jong could have also been a loss in the previous round so can't have too many complaints. A runner up finish to defend in Canada coming up.
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Old 05-19-2019, 04:29 PM   #1009
Brian Swartz
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Q3 Rankings Update

1. John Hart(28, IRE) - 13,730

A little more breathing room now for Hart, who now turns his attention to his last decent chance at adding the one thing he's missing, a USO title, to his trophy case.

2. Nicolas Perez(23, ARG) - 10,110

Perez continues to gradually pull away from the field, but still has some work to do to stake his claim to the top spot. The '66 Summer Olympics are being held in Tunisia, not exactly a tennis power - that makes a busy summer even more so.

3. Brian Meikeljohn(28, IND) - 6,780

Meikeljohn's recent absences leave a gaping hole in the tour. The question on everyone's mind here is whether or not he plans to return.

4. Barry Molyneaux(28, USA) - 6,755

Probably will slide back up to the #3 soon.

5. Seamus Hughes(28, IRE) - 5,025

Hughes could potentially get back to his career-high of 4th if Meikeljohn doesn't come back.

6. Isa Solheim(27, DEN) - 4,945

Fresh off a Wimbledon semi, equalling his best performance at any Slam, Solheim is also potentially poised to grab that spot.

7. Ali Solberg(26, SWE) - 4,580

Solberg is having a bit of an off year, but hasn't been terrible. It doesn't take much to slip in this environment, but he's still only a good tournament or two from being talked about a lot more.

8. Srba Dogic(24, CRO) - 4,275

Up and down, not making any big noise overall.

9. Calisto Aviles(22, ESP) - 3,405

The big question here is how much advantadge Aviles can take of the better draws his RG trophy will afford him. He'll struggle off the dirt relatively speaking.

10. Ollie Haas(24, NLD) - 3,270

Haas is the flavor of the month after reaching the Wimbledon final. Much like Aviles though, he figures to have trouble duplicating that success on the hardcourts.

12. Sushant Chiba(30, SRI)

Tennis's unquestioned elder statesman had a nice run on the turf, but I'll be very surprised if he can replace his hardcourt points from last year (USO QF, China Open 500 champion). It's not certain, but he probably drops down another tier by the end of the year.

14. Lucas Perez(23, ARG)

Probably shouldn't have skipped Madrid as well as he played on the clay. Perez played well enough at Wimbledon to inspire hope he might continue getting decent results on his off surfaces.

15. Emilien Mathou(25, FRA)

Continues to slowly strengthen his resume. It's worth noting that Mathou has over 2900 points - 11-15 here are not far at all off the first page.

16. Tim de Jong(25, NLD)

18. Chisulo Mpakati(22, ZIM)

Laminated into his upper-teens position, it seems.

19. Il-Sung Jung(24, KOR)

Still playing both singles and doubles. Still paying the price.

20. Samuel Aas(26, SWE)

Has had some moments this year, but so far unable to recapture last season's magic. Aas appears to now be on the downslope of his career. It seems he'll end up just short of the Top 10, with #12 his top mark.

21. Harald Wentz(23, AUT)

A couple early losses on clay, but overall quite consistent and continuing to rise.

22. Constantino Gonzoles(25, ARG)

Looks like 'good journeyman' is about the best we'll ever say about him.

23. Clavet Moniotte(25, FRA)

27. Algot Hakanson(24, SWE)

28. Amrik Kasaravalli(24, SRI)

It's still a question whether he'll be able to remain inside the bubble. A few big Challenger wins will drop off in the next several weeks. Amrik needs another breakthrough at some point this summer.

29. Acke Kjaerstad(23, SWE)

30. William Todhunter(25, AUS)

Good showing at Wimbledon, but up and down overall as are so many of these players.

32. Santino Belmon(24, ITA)

With Rhodes, Balzer, and Stachovksy all headed south and some lesser veteran lights dropping out of the Top 32 entirely, a more natural mix of ages is starting to emerge.

55. Joao Narciso(22, BRA)

Two Masters and four Slams in the last year, and has lost in the first round of all of them. Was credible against Chiba at Wimbledon. A slow upward trend continues.

100. Marcel Bonner(25, DEU)

Bonner has now slashed his ranking at the start of the year in half. Of late he's been splitting his tournaments between challengers and small professional events, but hasn't seen a great deal of success in the latter.

177. Nasir Chittoor(19, SRI)

Soon he'll embark on the first leg of his challenger journey. Would have been nice to qualify during one of his Slam attempts. Depending on how things go he may or may not try again at the USO.

189. Tommy Fitzpatrick(20, IRE)

Still the better player, he's only been passed by Nasir because Fitzpatrick is scheduling more aggressively. Both of them are just making their way into their new phase.

217. Mike Ferry(18, GBR)

Won a round at Wimbledon before losing to Mathou. Having home-crowd advantadge there will be a boon every year for these guys.

235. Mark Smith(19, GBR)

Also got through the first round at Wimbledon. That's more than either of my players can say. .

253. Rakesh Kayeeda(19, SRI)

A couple of recent FT2 titles have moved Kayeeda steadily upwards.

256. Ritwik Intodia(19, SRI)

Two peas in a pod it seems.

471(D). Satyagit Guha(19, SRI)

827th singles. Guha will have another amateur title drop off in a month, so we'll see if he's able to replace those points or not. Still quite a ways to go to get on the national doubles team, but there is definite progress.
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:49 AM   #1010
Brian Swartz
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Race to the World Tour Finals
Initial post-Wimbledon edition

It's that time of the season again. We're about 60% of the way through '66, and it's worth taking a gander at who the top players have been this calendar year.

In

John Hart - 8,790
Nicolas Perez - 7,300
Calisto Aviles - 3,110

Three Slams, three champions. Of course Aviles would not be here without the auto-bid for winning RG. Hart has the clear inside track on the year-end #1, but he definitely has work to do yet to secure it.

Probable

Brian Meikeljohn - 4150
Seamus Hughes - 3725
Ali Solberg - 2850

There's a lot of questions about the usual suspects. Meikeljohn going AWOL is just one of the aspects leaving more spots potentially open. Really the only player here that we can be confident will eventually make it is Hughes.

Contenders

Mike Rhodes - 2710
Srba Dogic - 2595
------------------------
Isa Solheim - 2575
Barry Molyneaux - 2535
Ollie Haas - 2535
Lucas Perez - 2380

Look at that. The world no. 4, recently no. 3, is on the outside looking in at the moment. He has work to do in Cincy and Flushing Meadows to rectify this situation. And we've got a packed crowd here as expected: six players fighting for two spots, and Solberg isn't far ahead. Who wants to take a stab at who makes it? I'm not even gonna try - just going to sit back and enjoy the fireworks with peanuts and popcorn. This should be one heck of a ride.

Long Shots

Emilien Mathou - 2055
Valery Stachovsky - 1895
Sushant Chiba - 1890
Harald Balzer - 1730
Tim de Jong - 1710
Chisulo Mpakati - 1675

I don't see this group mounting a threat, just because of the mass ahead of them. It's interesting to see their relative accomplishments to date, and maybe Mathou has a remote shot. Wouldn't bet on it though - I think most of these names aren't in range anymore by the time we revisit this in the fall.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:04 PM   #1011
britrock88
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Sigh. Might be time to face facts and realize that trying to nab a win and some points in prestige events (Slams and, for Narciso, clay Masters) isn't worthwhile for his development.

Remind me, anybody--are those tiers of events mandatorily counted toward a player's event limit in the ranking points calculation?
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:56 PM   #1012
Christy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by britrock88 View Post
Sigh. Might be time to face facts and realize that trying to nab a win and some points in prestige events (Slams and, for Narciso, clay Masters) isn't worthwhile for his development.

Remind me, anybody--are those tiers of events mandatorily counted toward a player's event limit in the ranking points calculation?

If you play them they count towards your points total and ate counted as part of your 18. Any you don't play are not since his ranking is not high enough yet. Not 100% if Monte Carlo plays by the same rules but I think you would have to play 4 other 500 events to cancel it out which does not seem like a great plan.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:39 AM   #1013
Brian Swartz
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A little math on the subject, since you're thinking about it:

Slams are the best obviously for both points and xp bonus.

** 25% of players are going to be seeded.
** Another 25% will be matched against them in the first round.
** Narciso would have a two-thirds chance of being matched up with an unseeded player, and probably an inferior one. But even if that happens, it's very likely you play a seeded player (and lose) in the second round. Upsets can happen etc. but it's a pretty slim chance.
** Even if you get to the second round, that's 45 points. Getting to the final of a challenger is better, let alone winning it. The bonus XP isn't much of a benefit when you consider how many fewer matches you are going to get.
** Masters, even on a preferred surface, have worse math.

Australian Open is an exception since there's no challenger that week, so you either play it or practice against scrubs. Regarding the ranking thing, I honestly wouldn't worry about it. Christy's explanation is correct, but the main reason to want to boost your ranking at this point is just to get better practice weeks. Not everyone schedules like I do - thehitcat for example is a lot more aggressive and you can't argue with Hart's results. Maybe he'll have a different, useful perspective. But until you're good enough to fight for a spot in the Top 32 and the seedings which result from that - 3-4 matches at Slams, etc. - chasing points is IMO counterproductive. Narciso is close to that, but not quite there.

Of course you should do whatever you feel like, this is just my perspective on how I'd approach it personally. And most of the stuff you've entered has been quite appropriate from what I can see so it's not like you are doing the guy major harm. You just need to win more challengers, which comes with improvement. Only other thing I'd suggest is playing doubles as well. You won't be able to play as many events, but that won't hurt your development at all and it looks like the weakest half of your challenger results are getting tossed out right now anyway. I generally play doubles all the time while moving players up until it's Winning Time - i.e. until they reach 'Challenger Hero' status where they are ready to make their run at the pro ranks and are basically playing every CH1/CH+ in sight to rack up the ranking points.

.02

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 05-21-2019 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:50 AM   #1014
Brian Swartz
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Also, I forgot to include the two Reapers I mentioned before. These are not managed by anyone on this board/in the Anilophiles club.

123. Shakti Vemireddy(19, SRI)

Consensus, and I agree with it, is that Vemireddy is the best 'material' I jettisoned. Excellent endurance though not as good as the guys I kept, and a good athlete. Fairly run-of-the-mill talent for a top player though, so combined with the endurance I just couldn't keep him. Anyway, he's played a lot of challengers already in a packed schedule, reaching the final of two of them a couple months ago but no titles yet. Slightly faster aging factor than Chittoor, and a few weeks older. He's in a hot hurry to get somewhere, but I think it'll start slowing down in the coming months.

161. Girish Shivakumar(19, SRI)

Chittoor met him in a futures final awhile back, and lost. Badly. Shivakumar has only played two challengers, but has a semi and final appearance to show for it so he's definitely also on a rising path. A few months older, he's slow with 'only' 3.8 endurance - still very good but definitely not elite. Lots of strength which has been a big asset for him. Not a major long-term threat, but he's a handful right now.

Both of these will complicate the ambitions of our crop of young guns as we all press upwards.
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:37 AM   #1015
Brian Swartz
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Oh, and BTW Monte Carlo does indeed follow the same rule where, if you play it, you are stuck with it. Only way around that is to have four better 500s in your resume. Kasaravalli has that lovely 10-pointer right now.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:15 PM   #1016
Brian Swartz
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Summer Break

A whole two weeks between the end of Wimbledon and the Summer Olympic Games in Tunisia. Those have just begun, and now comes the most concentrated period of top events the tour can offer. Olympics-Canada-Cincy-off week-US Open-WTC QF. That's just insane, and you pretty much have to be a dominant generational talent to have any chance of running the table. Everyone's going to get tired.

It's kind of weird, but this year I don't have to worry about that. I don't have a Top 10 player even, so none of mine are going to get enough matches to be fatigued. Have fun, ye masters of the universe!

Even so, Sushant Chiba rested both weeks. Amrik Kasaravalli entered the Swedish Open 250, where he gave 2-seed Lucas Perez a real run for his money before falling 7-5 in the third. That was in the quarterfinals, his predicted point of departure. The youngsters headed off to their first challenger, a tier-2 in Manta, Ecuador. There were a couple of CH3s the same week, but they actually had tougher fields for whatever reason. I go where the resistance is weakest. Nasir Chittoor made the semis routinely, where he ran into Odimos Csollang. You may remember him mentioned a while back as a super-fast riser. Csollang is a meteoric, max-aging-factor talent with pretty astounding athleticism. Because of how the calculations work, he's currently above physical peak (101%). So yeah, Chittoor won four games and was probably fortunate to get that many. Still a solid haul, same points as an FT1 win in one fewer match played, and for right now this is all I'm looking for. Get a few rounds in to the smaller events while developing the skills to do better and the ranking to play bigger ones. Satyagit Guha made it through singles qualifying which got him a few points, but the pairing crashed out in their first doubles qualie match. That was a bit of a surprise.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:23 PM   #1017
Christy
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Not gonna lie. Seriously thought about resting Perez but not entering him in anything ran a risk of him being underplayed if he got upset in Canada.

Plus he is one of few players with two proper shots at the Olympics. I figure he should be competitive at 27.

Well not like there has been enough upsets so far this season and all this tiredness will cause a few.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:38 AM   #1018
law90026
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Personally I’m not a fan of playing doubles once my players are challenger ready, which is typically when they’re in the TOP 50 or so in terms of rating (not ranking). Was able to bring players to the #1 spot in RR2 way back when I was serious about the game doing this. I find that playing more singles tournaments can be helpful provided you’re able to micro-manage on the weeks they get knocked out early and have good Trainers.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:35 PM   #1019
Christy
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Hughes is now 1 out of 24 on break chances vs Perez.

He has been unlucky though. An even match that he could have won. Hughes has never been the favourite but has definitely done well enough to earn some major trophies but has just never been able to put it together for the same week.

While the King's records are likely out reach for Perez he has a shot at equalling one of them anyway which is not nothing.

Weird that the history only records the last 5 Olympics. Also weird that all 5 have been won by the no. 1 seed.

I did have a premature celebration as I had forgotten it was best of 5 sets.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:54 PM   #1020
thehitcat
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Bet you're glad you didn't sit him A little sad for Hughes thought he might finally get over the mountaintop...

Congrats!
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:01 PM   #1021
Brian Swartz
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Yeah I think the history goes by numbers of year back and then counts the Olympics as a 500.

2066 Summer Olympics

The luckiest man in Tunisia was Harald Balzer, known to be past his best tennis. The Swiss made it to the medal round by virtue of other upsets, not needing to face a single seeded player to do so. He got smashed there by Nicolas Perez, who can do nothing easy so he won the gold in a final against Seamus Hughes, 7-5 in the 5th. Hughes upset reigning #1 John Hart in the semis. Unfortunately some players didn't benefit too much as some ranking calculations bugs definitely hit the Top 10 .

The only player I had enter was Sushant Chiba, who got through two rounds before losing to Hughes in three sets, a match where it wasn't as close as the scoreline. Interestingly, it's Chiba's third Olympics. He shouldn't have played the first one probably, and was upset in the second round last time out in '62 despite being ranked #3 in the world coming in. So at age 30, he actually made it further this time than either of his previous attempts. All of his predecessors at least made it to the gold medal match if not winning it - Dudwadkar lost the last two finals - so Sushant did not exactly have a stellar career in that respect. Italian Stefan Baloch making it to the QFs unseeded was probably the best of the other results.

This time of year is also busy below. There was a 500, a couple of 250s, and five Challengers going on so pretty much anyone who is anyone was playing somewhere. The next several weeks is a good time to pick up points for most players. Amrik Kasaravalli entered the Kitzbuhel 250(Clay), thinking himself to be the top seed - until the recently-fired Gonzoles entered there as well. It looked to me like he'd be pushed out in the semis, but he came up with a surprising second win this year over Patrick Sanchez, who is lower-ranked after a bad campaign but still a superior athlete and I thought that would be enough. Amrik then faced off against Gonzoles in the final, a very similar matchup ... and played like he left his racquet in the locker room, winning just three games. It's still a 250 final, but that was an embarassing display.

Chisulo Mpakati finally moved up to the Top 16, taking advantadge of the weakened field to snag the Washington 500. Now we switch fully to hardcourts, with Canada and Cincinatti Masters the next couple of weeks.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:58 PM   #1022
Christy
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I noticed Hughes' ranking error alright. He should be 5th which makes a big difference as it is the 4th seed going into some big competitions. He does not have a bad draw for Canada so maybe he can take it then anyway. I don't think I could have begrudged Hughes the win had he won it. He deserves something.

Definitely happy Perez entered. One thing I just noticed is that Perez is now the youngest ever winner of the Olympic Games!!! Surprised as most of the youngest ever are from the early days. Not sure what the previous record was.

Unlucky ending up in the same field as Gonzales with 39th enough to be top seed in the other 250 (potentially setting the record for weakest 250 field ever).

Last edited by Christy : 05-22-2019 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 05-23-2019, 04:13 PM   #1023
Brian Swartz
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Not that it's over-important or anything, but Club Anilophiles has taken over the #1 spot! Partly due to new additions.
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Old 05-23-2019, 04:24 PM   #1024
thehitcat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
Not that it's over-important or anything, but Club Anilophiles has taken over the #1 spot! Partly due to new additions.

May his name live on in perpetuity. The first and greatest.

Yeah as folks have "asked" to join I have basically welcomed them in. Our core is here but I've messaged with a couple of other folks on the site and they seem into it.
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Old 05-23-2019, 04:27 PM   #1025
Brian Swartz
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Canada Masters

Big winner of the week was Chisulo Mpakati, who has gained well over 800 points in two events after making a run to the final, where he lost to Hart. The world no. 1 defended his title here last year. Mpakati has made his breakthrough decisively, defeating #2 and Olympic gold medalist Nicolas Perez, then blasting through Dogic and Jung as well. He's now up to #11 and knocking on the door - it'll be interesting to see how he fares, though he'll be tired, in the next two events. Definitely figures to have a more prominent placing in the next Race standings. Meanwhile, the Korean made a nice showing as an unseeded semifinalist, and Seamus Hughes did indeed have a good run on the other side - but lost a pair of tiebreaks to Hart. Match of the tournament was given by Harald Wentz, who lost to our champion in the QFs, but it was one heck of a ride: 6-7(6), 7-6(1), 7-5.

In rankings news, the #16 position is now a stupidly-high 2905 points. That's like 40% inflation over the normal value. I'm not in too much of a hurry for it to settle out, since that likely happens by pushing Sushant Chiba below the line. He did well, coming a close third-set breaker away from upsetting Hughes in the third round. Amrik Kasaravalli, not so much - a second disappointing showing for him as he met with Jorgen Henriksson and left at the first hurdle. Couldn't overcome one of the best serves in the game, but he should have been able to make better use of his own superiority from the back of the court than he did. Not as close as a 6-3, 7-6(4) would normally be; didn't force a single break point and saved 10 of 11 to keep it interesting.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 05-23-2019 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:35 PM   #1026
Brian Swartz
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Cincinatti Masters

We got a traditional power final, with Nicolas Perez beating up on an exhausted John Hart, 6-2, 6-4. That's about all that was traditional about this tournament though. There were five unseeded quarterfinalists. It was so weird that former #10 Nintau Ariyanuntaka qualified and made it that far just because lolrandom I guess. Back in his heyday, which is long past, he made only three Masters QFs, and never got any further. Acke Kjaerstad and Harald Wentz would make the semis to shake things up, while Jung and hometown hero Gregory Gulley were the others. Barry Molyneaux didn't completely suck in front of his fans, rounding out the final eight.

Every tournament right now is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get. Except that established Top-Teners like Solheim, Solberg, Dogic, etc. probably aren't going to do diddly squat. Sushant Chiba equaled his showing from last week and his points from a year ago, getting to the third round before losing to Wentz. Was even through two sets, then ate a breadstick in a bad third. Amrik Kasaravalli got through a match this time, then a pretty comprehensive straight-sets loss to Hart in the second round. No complaints there.

Elsewhere, when I entered CH2 Samarkand with the youngsters, it looked like Nasir Chittoor would be the #2 seed. Turns out he was sixth, and in the quarter of the one guy I didn't want him to play. Foiled by a bunch of late entries, turns out I probably would have been better playing CH3 Binghamton. The QF matchup against Willy Weigl(AUS, 60th) was the stuff that nightmares are made of: 6-0, 6-1. Satyagit Guha won one qualifying match before losing a second, but we did better in doubles this time. Qualified and reached the semis before a close loss there. So both players had at least a pretty good amount of matches for the week.
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Old 05-24-2019, 04:57 PM   #1027
Christy
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Perez completed the set of inconsistent youngsters in Canada. He now has one loss against Mptaki, Lucas Perez, Avilles and Wentz this season.

Probably helped him in Cincinatti though. The reason that match up is not one sided was shown as well as Perez has now played 13 matches in the last 3 weeks while Hart is on 16. Hart is getting to the last match in nearly every competition he enters. It means he gets more points than Perez but helps Perez even out the head to head. It also makes that no.2 seed more valuable as it is the right to face Hart at his most tired. Indeed, having played a similar schedule, Perez is on 61-7 while Hart is on 73-7 for the season.

By way of describing Aas' performance the last 3 weeks. Well he has played 4 matches in that time...

Intodia and Kayeeda look ready to hit the lower challenger ranks. It will just take a few weeks to get around to the final future competitions and I am in no rush.

Last edited by Christy : 05-24-2019 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:22 AM   #1028
Christy
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No idea how I got away with that. Perez held well under pressure. First two tie breaks went the same way. He kept going a minibreak behind and catching up. Both times he just fell a little too far away in them.

Final set Dogic got his (deserved) break after many shots at a break. Then had a chance to serve it out but fell to the 3rd break point of that game. Then he immediately took a 4-0 lead in the final set tie break before Perez took over for his second crown. Opens up the race for no. 1 as well I think. Both are defending a masters coming into the year end.

A fitting final as this is where both players made their break through 2 years ago.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:29 AM   #1029
Brian Swartz
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2066 US Open

The end of this year's tournament was wacky and unpredictable - except for the guy who won it. But how that happened … well, it wasn't what I was expecting. I'm going to go a bit old-school here and start at the beginning, esp. since we are starting to have so many Anilophiles - may the hair on his beard never wither indeed - showing up in the big events.

** Mark Smith qualifies. And gets drilled by Aas, receiving the fabled and infamous triple-bagel.

** Tommy Fitzpatrick qualifies as well. Even better, he gets his first Slam main-draw win ... and in grand style. Beat fellow qualifier Ryan Verbruggen(NLD) by a final of 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-7(5), 7-6(5). That's a veritable truckload of XP ... and then a beatdown by Stachovsky in the second round. Still, got a win in his first Slam event. *clapclapclap*

** Joao Narciso takes his punishment from Chiba again, due to his bad luck in the draw. Gave him one close set in the first round, but that's about it.

Only one seed lost in the first round. Nintau Ariyanuntaka struck again, knocking out 10th-ranked Emilien Mathou in five sets. What the heck?!? Two more drop in the next round, the biggest surprise being 17th-seeded de Jong losing to Andrei Malinovsky. Malinovsky is a Russian, and it might do to remember the name. He smacked around Balzer in straight-sets before Hughes sent him packing easily in the fourth round.

Wentz defeated Haas, Stachovsky over Jung in a tense four-setter, Rhodes with a stunning triple-bagel of hometown hero Gregory Gulley, Belmon finally ending Ariyanuntaka's run - all of these were part of third-round action. Meanwhile Amrik Kasaravalli drew Hart again in the third round, cursing his luck. Took a set, but then the Irishman curtly closed out the final couple of sets 2 & 1 to show the upstart who was in charge around here. And Samuel Aas bowed out in four to L. Perez.

Fourth round - Santino Belmon pushed Hart to four very tough sets as the no. 1 who has never won here started to show his fatigue. There was only one upset, as the top 7 seeds would all make it to week two. What's this? The Top 10 actually showing up when it counts? I remember what that used to be like. And the final player? Well, that was Sushant Chiba, who battled past Calisto Aviles. Won the first two sets in tiebreaks, then lost the next two before taking a 6-4 decider. Draw set up well for him with Aviles and Moniotte the two seeded options in Chiba's section, both poor HC players. And Sushant snuck through to defend his QF from last year.

On to the second week. Cinderella got smacked around pretty good by Molyneaux, but that was no surprise. It was getting here that mattered. The big news was that John Hart went out even earlier than expected. It doesn't look good for his career slam prospects after a five-set tussle with Srba Dogic went the way of the Croatian. Dogic is a hardcourt expert, but at times this year he really hasn't played the part. Showed up in this one though. In the bottom half it was N. Perez outlasting Ali Solberg in a 5th-set TB, and Seamus Hughes going out to Solheim in a fairly surprising result given recent events. The Dane dominated two tiebreaks to win in four.

In the semis, I expected Barry Molyneaux to take advantage of the situation and reach his third straight home Slam final. Instead, Dogic knocked him out in a 5-setter, tiebreak to end it and all, that he absolutely did not deserve to win. Credit to Srba for getting it, but he needed 175 serve points while the American had just 122. 5 of 7 BPs compared to 4 of 23. Yikes. In the bottom half, Isa Solheim went out in four to Perez. I thought Molyneaux would have had a decent shot at it, but figured you might as well crown the Argentine going up against Srba Dogic. It didn't work out that way. Both players needed a 5th-set TB to get here ... and they decided to play another one. And a couple more along the way. 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-6(5). The Croat came within inches of hogwashing his way into his first Slam crown, and it would have been fitting to have a fourth different Slam champion in the same calendar year. I've never seen that happen. But it was Nicolas Perez taking the trophy to bookend his AO to start the year and throw the race for year-end #1 into serious doubt. There's no question Perez owned this summer with a Masters, the USO, and the Olympic gold.

Elsewhere ...

Nasir Chittoor took a boring practice week. He had too many matches coming in to be fresh, and it turned out he was able to get a decent week's work so he and Satyagit Guha took it. I don't regret it, but impressed by what some of the others did who played. Tomorrowish I'll look at what all the summer chaos means for the rankings and tour finals.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 05-27-2019 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 05-27-2019, 04:04 PM   #1030
Brian Swartz
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Q3 Rankings Update

1. John Hart(28, IRE) - 13,110

Has to be disappointing to miss out again on the USO, but Hart did win a bronze at the Olympics and add another Masters over the summer. He came into it more fatigued than anyone else thanks to his victory at Wimbledon, and the schedule was just too much to do more than that.

2. Nicolas Perez(23, ARG) - 12,630

Perez is knocking on the door now a year earlier than I expected. Olympic gold and a second Slam title have him set up well to take over the #1 spot later this year or early in next season. His time has just about come.

3. Barry Molyneaux(28, USA) - 5,185

An astonishing gap now after tennis's power couple. There is nobody else remotely in the league of Hart and Perez it seems.

4. Seamus Hughes(29, IRE) - 5,115

Back up to a career-best, and while I don't see him going much higher he's very close to sneaking up one more position.

5. Srba Dogic(24, CRO) - 5,010

After getting to the USO final and very nearly winning it, he seems clearly to be the closest thing Perez has to a generational rival. At least right now. Dogic should soon be a Top-4 player if he can build on that.

6. Isa Solheim(27, DEN) - 4,550

7. Brian Meikeljohn(28, IND) - 4,330

Continuing to be AWOL, and now plummeting. We won't see him for much longer.

8. Ali Solberg(27, SWE) - 4,175

Left to ponder what might have been if he pulled out that 5th set against Perez in the USO quarters, Solberg has had that kind of year; not quite good enough.

9. Calisto Aviles(22, ESP) - 3,655

Has been adding incrementally to his totals since RG, but clearly can't compete with the top players on other surfaces.

10. Emilien Mathou(25, FRA) - 3,245

A big chance went by with the early loss at the US Open.

11. Lucas Perez(24, ARG)

Perez continues to gradually move up, and is just 55 points back of Mathou.

13. Ollie Haas(24, NLD)

A brief stay at #10 after the Wimbledon final, but hasn't impressed since.

14. Sushant Chiba(30, SRI)

Back-to-back Slam QFs give Chiba a chance to hang in the Top 16 into next year.

15. Chisulo Mpakati(23, ZIM)

Continues to be consistently inconsistent.

17. Harald Wentz(23, AUT)

Almost to the next tier. A good finish to the year and he'll get there.

19. Tim de Jong(25, NLD)

20. Il-Sung Jung(24, KOR)

Continues to prefer excellence in both singles and doubles to greatness in either discipline.

21. Clavet Moniotte(25, FRA)

22. Constantino Gonzoles(22, ARG)

23. Samuel Aas(26, SWE)

Kind of just hanging out.

24. Acke Kjaerstad(23, SWE)

Only one spot behind, but well over 400 pts. short of Aas. There's a major break in the rankings here.

26. Tobias Velilla(22, ARG)

28. Santino Belmon(24, ITA)

29. Amrik Kasaravalli(24, SRI)

Kasaravalli has been able to hold his own, but that's it. He's still got to get better before he can push upwards.

31. Algot Hakanson(25, SWE)

Yet another borderline Swede.

52. Joao Narcisco(22, BRA)

Hoping for a big finish to finally get up into the Top 50.

107. Shakti Vemireddy(19, SRI)

Three Challenger finals, but no wins yet. He'll get there soon I imagine.

114. Girish Shivakumar(20, SRI)

Same exact story here.

136. Tommy Fitzpatrick(20, IRE)

An impressive showing at the USO helped him break out and move up further.

149. Mark Smith(19, GBR)

The surprising news here is that Smith was recently fired. I'll still be tracking him for at least a while - if someone good picks him up, he's quite a good player.

172. Nasir Chittoor(19, SRI)

Feels like Chittoor is a bit underranked now and practice isn't going particularly well, but he needs to start pushing deeper into challenger draws in order to change that. I'm hoping for a breakthrough in that department soon.

231. Rakesh Kayeeda(19, SRI)

237. Ritwik Intodia(19, SRI)

As Christy mentioned, this pair is about to make the jump to Challengers.

424(D). Satyagit Guha(20, SRI)

Staying safely in the 'low-futures' level at 857th singles. Guha is continuing his gradual improvement, and the hope is that he'll break into WTC doubles play by early next year. Maitreya/Pallavan are both 28 and starting to decline, and their results have showed it, but there's still more work to do to catch them.

469. Helmut Hoetker(18, SUI)

Hoetker is pushing his way into the upper future ranks. Got an F2 victory in France recently, but then a QF loss at a China F1.
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Old 05-31-2019, 02:46 AM   #1031
Brian Swartz
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Fall Break

Perhaps I should have put 'break' in parentheses. The only real break the tour ever gets is from the Tour Finals to the start of the new year, and even that is dubious given that futures and below keep rolling all year long. But September has gone and we're well into October, and more stuff has happened.

World Team Cup Quarterfinals
Sri Lanka vs. Mexico

Haven't been here in a while and as mentioned Mexico is a much better draw than we deserved. I expected to win routinely. I was wrong. Mexico has had top-notch doubles for a while, but Sushant Chiba got a couple wins for us. That meant all Amrik Kasaravalli had to do was get one, and we would advance. On Monday, veteran Jorge Campos was his opponent. After dropping the first two sets, Amrik rallied to win tiebreaks in the next two. And then came an epic 5th. Both players had chances - IIRC both of them served for the match and were broken doing so. Eventually though it was my guy who blinked first, losing 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-7(2), 13-11. Overall he didn't deserve for it to be that close, but the mental game almost carried him to victory. I don't think I've ever seen him have 30+ aces (36) or 10 DF in a match.

Never fear, Amrik had another shot against Guillermo Valturri, another veteran around his ranking, on Friday. This was for all the marbles with the tie leveled at 2-2. He took the first set, but that was it, losing in four ... and Mexico advanced to get drilled by Ireland, who will play the Netherlands in the final. And assuredly win. Really disappointed, both for national and personal reasons, that Kasaravalli couldn't win either one of those matches. Both figured to be toss-ups, but he was outplayed twice.

There was more to come in the weeks that followed. Faced with a tough choice of events, Chittoor/Guha eventually entered Izmir CH2 (Hard). I wanted a clay event but the field seemed weakest here. Naturally there was another last-second entry, but some things you can't control. Nasir Chittoor took another step closer to his first challenger title, easily reaching the final where Imre Wessely(HUN, 75th), the guy who entered late, handled him pretty easily. BP fortunes didn't go Nasir's way, but he was a bit outmatched in that encounter. Doubles was splendid, as the pairing got through a tight QF match and reached the final. Matched up against the top seeds, they lost a tight first set ... and then thumped them mercilessly the rest of the way for a 5-7, 6-1, 10-1 championship! That's a pretty rare scoreline - it was cool to see them turn it on like that. Satyagit Guha had a close loss in the first qualifying round, so that made it a worthwhile week for him also. Both took a major jump with the 90 doubles points from this title (and Chittoor a more modest one in singles). They are now pretty much even with the top doubles players in the country, and should be representing Sri Lanka in the WTC next year.

Then the senior players headed out to some smaller events. First, Kasaravalli went to the Shenzhen 250 (Hard) and was upset in the QF by unseeded Clavet Belgraver(FRA). Belgraver is a solid player but Amrik outplayed him by a solid margin, a little better and a lot more consistent - and then went 0-for-6 on BPs in a 6-4, 6-4 defeat. Amrik really needed to get one more round here. He has his final four Challenger titles coming off the points in the next two months, and I'm not at all confident that he won't still slip back down into that group at the end of the year. This was a bad stretch for him.

Chiba then headed to the China Open (500, Hard), which he won last year. Demonstrating that anything Amrik could do, he could do better - or worse - he was also a QF upset victim. Two tiebreak sets to Santino Belmon, unseeded. And that one should have been worse. In a demonstration of ineptitude, the competitors combined to fail to convert all 13 break chances, nine of them by Belmon. With this loss, there's a solid chance Sushant drops out of the Top 16 and isn't seeded in the last two Masters of the year. Super-great.

Coming Up ...

Shanghai, the last hardcourt masters of the year. The battle between Perez and Hart for #1 definitely is the headliner here, but a lot of others need to do well to secure a WTF berth or get back in the Race. And both of my players need a good showing there; Chiba to try and have a spot in the Top 16, and Kasaravalli to avoid tumbling out of the Top 32 and all the way back to challenger play.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 05-31-2019 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:08 AM   #1032
Brian Swartz
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Shanghai Masters

Samuel Aas has company. For the second time less than a year and a half, we have an unseeded Masters champion as Il-Sung Jung defeated Ali Solberg in a most unexpected final, 7-6(5), 6-3. Just when you think you have things figured out nope. Jung got a very narrow SF win over John Hart, following up victories over De Jong and Lucas Perez. The Korean tosses his hat into the crowded ring of inconsistent, talented wanna-bes officially with this title. For his part, Solberg got revenge on Nicolas Perez with a QF upset he didn't quite deserve, the same way he'd lost in Flushing Meadows - final-set tiebreak. Emilien Mathou was his semi-final victim, after the Frenchman had ousted newly - and very temporarily - crowned world no. 3 Srba Dogic early in the week. In other words, all bets were pretty much off all over the place. L. Perez knocked out Seamus Hughes in the third round, the last member of the constantly shifting royalty.

Amrik Kasaravalli continued the Finding a Way to Fail Fall Tour as he got another shot at Consantino Gonzoles after the debacle a few weeks back in which he got blasted. Slightly overmatched, he started strong but eventually faltered 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. Gonzoles would go on to beat Wentz in the next round. Amrik is still improving, but even on his good days he's just not quite good enough.

Sushant Chiba did his job, getting past Abinati and Gulley to lose against N. Perez in the third round. That was pretty one-sided despite a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline, but he couldn't expect to win there and it's better than a first-round bye and second-round upset loss from a year ago. He's narrowly hanging onto the #16 spot.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:45 AM   #1033
Brian Swartz
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Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-Shanghai Edition

In - 4610 to qualify

Nicolas Perez - 11,170
John Hart - 11,110
Seamus Hughes - 4,895
Srba Dogic - 4,655
Calisto Aviles* - 3,645

Doesn't get much closer than this for the top spot. Last year Hart won Paris and the Tour Finals, while Perez was out early in Paris and a semifinalist at the WTF. Time to see how much the gap has really closed. My money's on the Irish to retain the top spot, but it really could go either way.

Now the math here assumes Aviles still gets in under the Slam champion exception - reminder that I have no idea if the game replicates that - and that there are no ranking bugs - which there probably will be. So this is how things SHOULD look. No bets on them actually working out that way.

Having said that, it is time to officially welcome Hughes to his 5th straight Tour Finals, while Srba Dogic figures to join Aviles in making their respective debuts.

Probable

Ali Solberg - 4575
Brian Meikeljohn - 4150

Solberg just needs one thing to go his way, and his recent successes in winning the Japan 500 along with the Shanghai final have the most recent world no. 3 on the cusp of qualification. And then there's that other guy ...

Contenders

Isa Solheim - 3840
-----------------------
Barry Molyneaux - 3590

The cut line also assumes Meikeljohn continues to do jack diddly squat. That SEEMS safe, but it's far from certain these two get enough points to pass him. In fact, it more and more seems kind of unlikely. Right now Molyneaux needs to make something happen or he'll be on the outside looking in.

Long Shots

Lucas Perez - 3270
Il-Sung Jung - 3195
Emilien Mathou - 3130
Chisulo Mpakati - 3080
Mike Rhodes - 3010
Ollie Haas - 2915

Good grief that's a lot of players still technically within striking distance. Perez has been consistent enough, and if someone else pulls a Jung/Aas and blows away the competition in Paris ... like Mathou who has the home crowd there? Unlikely, but I'm just saying anything could happen. The way this year has gone, I'm not calling it yet.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-02-2019 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:18 AM   #1034
Christy
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Hughes is unfortunate and has been 4th for a while while the 3rd place player keeps dropping below him. Unfortunately each time 5th place has a good run and takes 3rd before Hughes can set a new best ranking.

I had thought before the match that Perez had been lucky against Solberg a few times. This time he got unlucky. Neither really dominated so I can't feel too hard done by.

Solberg continues his quest for a major trophy. Not sure how he has not squeeked one out by now.

Last edited by Christy : 06-02-2019 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:55 PM   #1035
Brian Swartz
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Welp Hughes is up to #3 now for the moment.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:22 AM   #1036
Brian Swartz
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BTW, it's a little over a week (IRL) away - are we going to have a repeat of the Anil Cup this year?
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:07 AM   #1037
thehitcat
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Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
BTW, it's a little over a week (IRL) away - are we going to have a repeat of the Anil Cup this year?

That is the plan. I'll be sending out messages to folks this year. Not sure if we have enough for a separate draw for younger folks with Bobbele giving up the game but we should still be able to do a full singles and maybe doubles tourney.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:54 AM   #1038
Christy
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Aas has been shipped on. Really und 1 defeat in the French meant he failed to defend his final place.

I had to give him a chance to defend his good results from the previous season. However now I have to move on to someone who can be a strong trainer in the next few years.

I think Aas will be a great trainer. He was held back by physical/mental limitations but skills are quite high. Just shy of 4 trainer rating with little to no input in doubles. However he will take too long so I have one who will be ready before my current trainer retires.

The failure to defend in Shanghai likely cost Perez the chance at the top spot this season. Maybe he will get lucky buy more than anything else he needs Hart to slip up earlier in competitions.

He has to defend the Australian Open title. If he can he might get it in IW/Miami. Otherwise it might be another season.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:13 PM   #1039
Brian Swartz
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It's hard to jettison a good player, but sounds like a smart choice. I'll be very surprised if Perez doesn't take over the #1 next year. He's still slowly getting better, while Hart is going the other way, and this season was closer than I thought he'd get. It'd be really unusual to get that close and still stay behind a fading champion. Not that I expect him to make it easy of course.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:07 PM   #1040
Brian Swartz
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October

Sushant Chiba played the Swiss Indoors 500 (Indoor, as everything is this time of year and duh it's in the name of the tournament) as a warmup for Paris, but it didn't go as planned. For the first time - although it was only their second-ever meeting - he was defeated by Amrik Kasaravalli, 7-6(2), 6-2. I was surprised by this result. Kasaravalli had another close-but-not-good-enough event in a 250 the week before, a 3-set QF defeat to Rhodes, but this was a big win for him and his first good event in a while. Making the semis of a 500 equals his AO 4th round as the best event of the year, points-wise. Mpakati made short work of him at that stage, but beating Chiba, who is still a slightly better player by rating, is a positive indication.

Satyagit Guha was also out there for a rare 'solo' tournament opportunity. It was his first such F2 (Germany, Clay) after I determined the draw probably wouldn't be any tougher than the available F3s. Teaming with China's Yu-hsui Cheng as the top-seeded doubles team, they endured only one close match and won the title without dropping a set. As the 8-seed in singles, he upset 1-seed Zdenek Zbibley(CZE) in a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 semifinal. Zbibley was an extreme no-serve, high-skill player, with 5.2(!!) skill but 1.3 serve and was tired. A bizarre statline had Guha with 18 aces and no double faults, while Zbibley had no aces and 24 doubles. Then a narrow defeat to 4-seed Arsenio Inarra of Greece in the final; a third-set tiebreak there. So it was a heck of a tournament for Guha and a couple of epic matches near the end of it.

Nasir Chittoor just had practice events.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:24 PM   #1041
Brian Swartz
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Paris Masters

The headline was no surprise on the last Masters of the year, as John Hart put himself in a strong position to claim the YE #1 with his fourth straight title here. To win that many of anything in a row is most impressive, and a moment should be taken to savor the Irishman's achievement.

Now go away :P.

Srba Dogic continued his strong finish and proved that he's not just a one-trick pony. He beat crowd favorite and 9-seed Emilien Mathou, then 2nd-ranked Nicolas Perez, then Mike Rhodes, who reached the SF here for a second straight year, and then blanked Hart in a first-set TB in the final before fading meekly over the last two sets. That's a pretty impressive group of players. With this result, it's hard to see Dogic dropping out of the Top 4 for a while. The second half of this year he's really established himself as a rising force.

Barry Molyneaux was the other semifinalist, also pushing Hart to the distance, while Hughes, de Jong, and unseeded Harald Balzer who refuses to accept that it's over for him bowed out in the quarterfinals. A raft of would-be stars left earlier than that, many to unimpressive competition but some to the top players as well. Other than Dogic though, it wasn't a big week for the younger generation. Romanian qualifer Stanislav Dobos, currently 25 and already pretty much at his peak, surprised by knocking out Aviles and reaching the third round.

Amrik Kasaravalli suffered his third first-round Masters exit of the year to qualifier Algot Hakanson(SWE), 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3. It was not entirely surprising given the surface, but once again it's a winnable match that he needed. Sushant Chiba narrowly avoided the same fate, splitting a pair of tiebreaks with Hakanson in the next round before a very tight 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 7-5 defeat to Molyneaux. If he'd pulled that off, Balzer would have been next Chiba could well have made the semis. That would have been something, but he fell a bit short.

Elsewhere ...

The young power couple entered CH2 Sao Leopoldo in Brazil, one of four tournaments at that level. It was an epic fail for Satyagit Guha, dropping his first qualifying match while in doubles they won the first set, lost a close second-set tiebreak, then lost the super TB 10-5 against the 3-seeds. Could have gone as far as the final probably if they pulled out that win. Nasir Chittoor cruised to the semifinals, where he pulled an upset of 2-seed Aleksander Boltanski(POL) out of his arse. He was a little better-prepped for it, but won only 29% of his return points compared to 37%, was 2 of 4 on BP compared to 3 of 15 for his opponent. 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4 was the scoreline. Rarely is a win so clearly undeserved. Of course I'm not complaining in the slightest. Well-known Anilophile and defending home champion Joao Narcisco ensured he wouldn't get his first challenger title in this way, stopping Nasir in a straight-sets final.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:36 PM   #1042
Brian Swartz
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Unofficial Final Race Standings

John Hart - 12,110
Nicolas Perez - 11,500
Srba Dogic - 5,255
Seamus Hughes - 5,075
Ali Solberg - 4,585
Brian Meikeljohn - 4,150
Isa Solheim - 3,930
Calisto Aviles* - 3,620
--------------------------
Barry Molyneaux - 3,890
Emilien Mathou - 3,630


The #1 is not yet determined. Hart still has the inside track, but Perez could steal it winning the Tour Finals. Dogic has the inside track on the #3 spot, but the #4 is just as important. Hughes is right there and figures to at least fill that spot ahead of Solberg. Molyneaux's strong showing in Paris shows he can't be overlooked at the season-ending event, where he was a finalist last year. But if the field is assembled the way it 'should', he won't even be there. He ends up 40 points shy of Solheim despite the run last week, and the shadow of Meikeljohn along with one-hit-wonder Aviles push him out of the field. We won't know if this is how it actually ends up until the players arrive in Tunisia. This is as close as it gets, and if it's reflected in the final field then the top American is going to be dealt a serious blow - one he is too old to realistically recover from.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-05-2019 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 06-04-2019, 08:51 PM   #1043
thehitcat
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Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
Paris Masters

The headline was no surprise on the last Masters of the year, as John Hart put himself in a strong position to claim the YE #1 with his fourth straight title here. To win that many of anything in a row is most impressive, and a moment should be taken to savor the Irishman's achievement.

Now go away :P.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i28UEoLXVFQ

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Old 06-05-2019, 09:45 AM   #1044
Christy
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I have Molyneaux at 3950?

And the game seems to agree sticking him at 4950 with 1000 to come off for the wtf so I think Solheim may be in that mystery spot.
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Old 06-05-2019, 03:44 PM   #1045
Brian Swartz
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Well crap. Guess I need to be more careful with the math.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:06 AM   #1046
Christy
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I mean I have the advantage of not publishing my own numbers. Molyneaux I appear to have right but need to go over one or two more than are slightly off.
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Old 06-06-2019, 03:00 PM   #1047
Brian Swartz
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And so it appears that the game doesn't give a darn whether you win a Slam or not - Aviles is out and Solheim in, so it's purely taking the Top 8.
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:52 PM   #1048
Christy
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I had hopes of a group with Meiklejohn and Aviles. Could be a tough enough group to get out of but first test passed with a win over Solheim. One more win should do it but Perez will never be comfortable indoors.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:24 AM   #1049
Brian Swartz
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In less than eight minutes IRL, the #1 ranking will be hanging in the balance. Hart vs. Perez in the WTF semifinals. No matter what else happens, the victor starts next year as #1. Hart has a 310-point lead going in, and the winners gets 400 pts.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-07-2019 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 06-07-2019, 02:41 AM   #1050
Brian Swartz
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Both players entered the match at the peak of their current abilities, perfectly prepared. Hart got a break in the first set, Perez taking a second-set tiebreak. Of course it would go the distance. A final tiebreak to choose the victor … and apparently Nicolas Perez didn't score a single point this time?! How embarrassing. 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(0) is the official count. Perez was a little more consistent, John Hart took better advantage of his chances and you could argue that either deserved to win. But the Irish remains at the top of the heap … for now.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-07-2019 at 02:42 AM.
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