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Old 04-17-2023, 01:03 AM   #1401
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Year 104 Rankings, My Stable

90. Aparna Chandrasekharan (23, SRI, 97%, 7.47, +0.31)

Chandrasekharan is now past his physical peak, but should still have another three years or so of gradual improvement. He's a solid Challenger player, though not as good as his ranking would make it appear; he'd be about 130th without the points from the World Team Cup. He's won a couple of lower-level events, and had some early flameouts, but typically made the QF or SF.

I anticipate another couple of years of gradually grinding his way upwards towards the top of the Challenger heap. I think Aparna will escape it eventually, but not for long and it's possible he'll max out in the 40-50 range and not quite get there.

106. Sushant Srivastava (27, SRI, 88%, 7.33, +0.06)

Srivastava is now definitely second fiddle among Sri Lanka players, and I expect his best level to come sometime this year, but it appears he is still very slowly improving as of now. He's the seasoned veteran holding down the fort until more gifted players can take over, and that's only partially happened as of yet.

880. Manoj Datar (36, SRI, 65%, 6.13, -0.05)

Datar has done well in WTC doubles, shooting his ranking there into the low 200s. Otherwhise though, he's barely good enough to call himself a Futures hanger-on. Endurance is down to a paltry 1.1. On the Trainer eval, he's hit 4.47 (+0.10), as expected. It'll take most of the year to get him there, but Manoj will retire this season and we'll probably bring in a new youth shortly afterwards.

2151. Girish Raychaudhari (18, SRI, 95%, 6.63, +1.06)

A stellar final year of juniors for Raychaudhari, who finished 3rd behind two much faster-aging players. Now the climb begins for him, and he jumped directly into futures. He's good enough to do that, but I overlooked the fact that at the end of the year a lot of better players jump in there to gain form and tournament matches. His first couple of forays didn't go well, and I probably should have thrown him into an Amateur event first. Lesson learned.

The goal though is to get him moving upwards, not slogging through Amateurs too long which would stall his development as practice matches would be against inferior players. I'm confident he'll break through in Futures soon and help short-circuit that process. Girish will be able to compete with Chandrasekharan & Srivastava in a year's time, and is already at the point where he is suffering here and there from not having a trainer, so Datar can't get ready soon enough for him.

The preamble is over for Sri Lanka's next superstar. The chase up the professional ranks is about to begin.

Manager Ranking

I've made it onto the first page at 46th.

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Old 04-17-2023, 02:46 AM   #1402
TheseBoots
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
Year 104 Top Ten Rankings
Just sayin'. Something to watch for.

I'll be watching!

This story is really enjoyable for many reasons, but the dual storylines of your quest with Sri Lanka being played out against a GOAT player in the background is pretty interesting
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Old 04-18-2023, 12:45 PM   #1403
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Thanks!

World Team Cup, Round 1, Level 3, Group 1
Sri Lanka vs. The Netherlands, Hard

- Monday: A. Chandrasekharan d. F. Kolthof, 6-2, 6-1, 6-2
- Tuesday: M. Soesbergen d. S. Srivastava, 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(8)
- Wednesday: M. Datar/A. Chandrasekharan d. B. Albrink/R. Koster, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(4)
- Thursday: M. Soesbergen d. A. Chandrasekharan, 3-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
- Friday: S. Srivastava d. F. Kolthof, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5

Sri Lanka defeats the Netherlands, 3-2!

This was definitely a tense first round, and the kind of thing I expect to see a lot of; splitting the singles and the result depending on doubles, where we are strong for the moment. When Manoj Datar retires, that may hurt us as he is weak in singles of course but probably more than makes up for it with a current 4.2 in doubles. This is also the first time we've really seen a gap opening up between the results of Chandrasekharan and Srivastava; the latter has most definitely been surpassed as our best player. The close win here gives us the inside track on getting to the knockout rounds, particularly with the next two being on clay - probably our most favorable surface overall.

The next week, Girish Raychaudhari won his first futures event in Spain as a qualifier, despite a number of close matches and a couple where I considered him an underdog. Winning a futures event before your 19th birthday is not nothing. He is on his way, and will see his ranking more than halved to just around 1020th. It's worth almost three amateur tournaments in points, so my goal of bypassing that stage and moving up faster has indeed been achieved.

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Old 04-21-2023, 08:21 PM   #1404
Brian Swartz
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Australian Open

I'm going to try to go for a brief update on the 'pillar' events - Slams and WTC - but frankly there's not a huge amount of interesting things happening to go into detail. Two reasons for that; my players aren't involved, and we pretty know who's winning anyway.

The big news here was probably that Renke Cananis and Leon Polychroniadis are both just playing doubles. They're really-for-real done in singles, which opens up a lot of chances for others. 30-year-old Toni Bardales upset Goya Banqueria in the fourth round, but otherwhise it was everything as expected for the top players up through the semifinals. That was Faille's first competitive match, beating #3 Johann Przalowik 7-5, 7-6(5), 7-6(9). This sounds close than it was. Faille was only 2-15 on break points, otherwhise it would have been more one-sided. The gap in receiving points won told the tale; 37-21%. The other semifinal was an epic against the legit best two challengers; Oleg Urazov beating Ene Caballero, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2, 12-10!

First Slam final ever for Urazov, and he became the only player to win a set over Ben Faille in the tournament, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(5). Unlike the last match, this one legitimately was fairly close. Urazov and Caballero are good enough that if absolutely everything does their way, it isn't out of the question for them to end the unbeaten streak. Still a remote chance though, and it didn't happen here.
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Old 04-23-2023, 12:03 AM   #1405
Brian Swartz
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Second round of the WTC went surprisingly well, a 4-1 win over Armenia. Aging Esmik Kteyan (49th, almost 34 years old) was the key obstacle. He beat Srivastava but Chandrasekharan had no problems handling him, and the rest of the matches were easy. We're now guaranteed a spot in the knockout round; the third round against Tunisia, who also won their first two rounds, will determine the group winner.
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Old 04-28-2023, 10:33 AM   #1406
Brian Swartz
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THE STREAK IS OVER.

At the Indian Wells Masters, something got into Oleg Urazov. He pranced through the draw without losing a set, smashed Ene Caballero 6-2, 6-3, and then ended the unbeaten streak of Ben Faille in the final, 7-6(5), 6-2. It frankly wasn't even particularly close.

It's one of those things that convinces me that there's a hidden, undocumented, 'hot streak/cold streak' feature behind the scenes. Looks to me like a combo of Faille being on the wrong side and Urazov being on the right side of that, along with the Canadian just being quite good of course.

219 wins in a row ... and then this. It lasted almost 2.5 years, but for moment at least Faille has returned the ranks of mere mortals.
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Old 04-30-2023, 05:08 PM   #1407
Brian Swartz
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Q2 Rankings Update

1. Ben Faille (25, FRA) - 18,750

Faille bounced back to win in Miami ... barely. He lost the first set in the semifinals (Urazov) and finals (Przalowik) before rallying. It seems clear that he's in a slump, possibly due to boredom. It's the kind of thing that could tarnish his pursuit of history if it lasts very long.

2. Ene Caballero (24, ESP) - 10,010

Caballero is likewise not playing well, with semifinal exits at both hardcourt masters. Top two players in the world struggling - relatively speaking - at the same time makes for some interesting results.

3. Johann Przalowik (26, DEU) - 7,910

Przalowik is a prime beneficiary of all of this, reaching his second straight final in Miami and generally tightening his grip.

4. Oleg Urazov (27, CAN) - 6,680

Ending the streak of our fabulous French champion has helped Urazov reach a new career high, and if he can keep playing well he might be able to push even further.

5. Leon Polychroniadis (30, GRC) - 5,510

6. Davide de Laurentiis (25, DEU) - 4,915

de Laurentiis is pretty much holding steady, his point total has actually slightly decreased since the start of the year.

7. Joss Fraikes (25, USA) - 4,210

A nice jump up from 9th, and Fraikes will pick up another spot soon as Polychroniadis slides past. Nothing spectacular, he's just been able to consistently reach the quarterfinals.

8. Renke Cananis (31, DEU) - 4,200

9. Jochen Weigle (29, SUI) - 4,050

10. Goya Banqueria (25, ESP) - 3,785

Weigle and Banqueria will move up a couple of spots soon, but neither has been in any way impressive. Next up to take a spot on the first page is still 30-year-old Toni Bardales, followed probably by past-his-prime Irish player Daniel Long. I expect a revolving door in the 7-10 spots for a while as players age and get replaced by others, some of whom are aging themselves. A new generation will eventually rise of course, but nobody particularly impressive is anywhere near knocking on the door just yet.

99. Aparna Chandrasekharan (23, SRI)

Mixed results so far this year, a SF at CH3 Florianapolis and a 2nd-round exit at CH2 Bucaramanga, along with his WTC exploits. Gradual improvement continues, but the familiar Challenger Grind is definitely here.

129. Sushant Srivastava (28, SRI)

About a month ago game-time, I made the choice to switch Srivastava to doubles. He was very near his singles peak, possibly not quite to it, so in one sense it's an unusual decision. With Datar approaching the point of retiring to trainer duty, we'll need a new doubles specialist in the WTC and Sushant is definitely it. More importantly, it will start him slowly sliding in singles earlier which means it won't take quite as long for Raychaudhari to pass him and start getting in the WTC action. The quicker we get to Raychaudhari + Chandrasekharan in singles and Srivastava in doubles the better off we'll be; not just for our results but also for Raychaudhari getting experience and developing. If anything, I think I probably waited a few months too long possibly. So Srivastava is getting 'put out to pasture' as it were at a strange time.

820. Girish Raychaudhari (19, SRI)

Approaching his physical peak now, I think that will happen sometime during the summer most likely. It's been a disappointing start to the year for Raychaudhari, yet not really his fault. Competition in futures has been somewhat tougher than anticipated; no really bad losses, just better players on average than I saw when the other players were going through. I'm not sure why that is, but in any case he has one FT3 win, a loss in a final, and a 2nd-round loss. Girish no longer has to qualify in singles which helps, and he'll break through to more consistent results soon I am sure, but it's taking longer than I expected. Sooner the better, as he's winning most of his practice week matches which is bad for development. I'm going to accelerate his tournament schedule a bit until that settles out, to give him more chances to pick up points.

941. Manoj Datar (36, SRI)

Datar just finished his final boost to his abilities, and now begins the process of saving up for the trainer fee of 7500 xp. I expect this to take a little shy of half a year. Sometime around the US Open in late summer is my best guess, and at that point I'll bring in a new juniors player.

We're approaching a new chapter for the saga in multiple ways.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 04-30-2023 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 05-01-2023, 05:03 PM   #1408
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup, Group 1, Round 3
Tunisia vs. Sri Lanka, Clay

Tunisia is better than we thought they were at the start of the year for one reason; fast-rising no. 2 singles player Ray Dite, age 22. He's actually their best, though the rankings don't reflect that yet. The decisive rubber was on Tuesday, as he beat Aparna Chandrasekharan in four sets. Chandrasekharan managed to edge Youssouf Rassul in a 7-5 5th set on Thursday, and we took the doubles in a competitive straight-set match, but it wasn't enough.

Tunisia wins 3-2. Overall I think we're good enough to reach the semifinals and a place in the promotion playoffs, but it all depended on the draw. The draw did not go our way; our opponent in the quarterfinals is Ukraine on grass. They beat us 5-0 in the Level 4 Final last year, and while it's probably a closer matchup now Ukraine is the best nation at this level IMO with the possible exception of Latvia, and should be at Level 2. Likely they will be soon.

We have some months to keep working; the only hope for pulling the upset is a win in doubles and Chandrasekharan taking both of his singles rubbers. That's quite unlikely. I think a 4-1 or at best 3-2 defeat is more probable, which would mean staying in Level 3 for another year at least.
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Old 05-10-2023, 10:08 PM   #1409
Brian Swartz
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Q3 Rankings Update

1. Ben Faille (26, FRA) - 18,450

A second loss in Madrid, this one to Caballero. The superhuman part of Faille's career appears to be over; perhaps he is now merely a dominant #1. If he wasn't French he may not have been favored at Roland Garros, but as is he made it through. Four sets to beat Banqueria in the semis and the same with Caballero in the final; in both cases a tiebreak lost in the first set and then a clean sweep the rest of the way.

2. Ene Caballero (24, ESP) - 11,470

Caballero made the final in all four big clay events, and got the upset win in Madrid. That's really solidified his position even more.

3. Johann Przalowik (26, DEU) - 7,490

Przalowik slipped a bit during the clay season, not particularly surprising.

4. Oleg Urazov (27, CAN) - 6,140

Urazov is looking forward to getting back to hardcourts. Clay did not agree with him.

5. Davide de Laurentiis (25, DEU) - 4,570

Still slipping slowly in terms of point total, but up a spot anyway as Polychroniadis slides past.

6. Leon Polychroniadis (30, GRC) - 4,430

7. Goya Banqueria (25, ESP) - 4,295

Banqueria made a jump that I'd about given up on him making, reaching the quarterfinals or semifinals at all of the clay tournaments. Should be enough to get him to the Tour Finals.

8. Jochen Weigle (29, SUI) - 4,110

Bit of a surprise to see Weigle here, he's holding on a little better than expected.

9. Joss Fraikes (25, USA) - 3,830

Fraikes went completely MIA for basically the balance of the clay season, but is back in action now. A costly bit of inattention.

10. Jan Schleicher (22, AUT) - 3,175

Here's a new face, and a young one at that! Schleicher made the SF at Madrid and QF in a couple of other events including RG. I think he'll stick around in the Top 10, and should be solid over the summer.

30-year-old Toni Bardales is next in line after being part of a big Spanish resurgence on clay; made the semifinals and there were four Spaniards in the quarters there. American Rory Buckman and Brit Chris King are next, and probably one of them eventually replaces Polychroniadis on the first page. Renke Cananis is down to 15th, and this will surely be the last time we need mention him. Half of the 11-18 range are 27+ years old, so we're still in a situation where's there's not a lot of youth pushing up.



86. Aparna Chandrasekharan (23, SRI)

This is a career high, but Chandrasekharan's two Challenger titles came last summer. It won't surprise me if he slips out of the Top 100 by year's end. Still improving of course and getting more consistent, but the grind phase is definitely still here.

126. Sushant Srivastava (28, SRI)

Pretty much holding steady and continuing work on doubles.

378. Girish Raychaudhari (19, SRI)

Raychaudhari is unbeaten the last few months, grabbing a couple of FT3 titles and then a FT2 which had some competitive matches. He's still cruising through practice weeks unfortunately, so the aggressive tournament schedule will continue until he pulls out of that situation. He's basically borderline Challenger quality now; probably one more FT2 and then jumping to the top tier.

1104. Manoj Datar (36, SRI)

Datar is up to 142nd in doubles, actually not far off his career-best of 110th. Quite the juxtaposition between that and his amateur-quality singles ranking; he's been playing Challengers as that's necessary for doubles, but also means quick losses on the other side.

Right at halfway to his trainer xp target, on pace or a little ahead of that. With Raychaudhari now above 4 endurance, it's becoming more and more important.
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Old 05-16-2023, 08:51 AM   #1410
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Wimbledon

Ben Faille won again.

The End.

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I wanted to make an update with just that and leave it there, but it is also worth mentioning that it was a narrow victory in the final over Ene Caballero, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 6-3. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this is the first Slam Faille loses eventually. But not this time.

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Old 05-22-2023, 03:14 AM   #1411
Brian Swartz
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We finally have a trainer! Manoj Datar made the leap right at the beginning of the US Open. We won't need another trainer - unless I want to make a better one or something - for almost three decades.

I reminded myself why it's best to create a new player at the start of a new year - basically it gives them the best chance to benefit fully from the juniors phase - so I'll wait to get a new one until then. Datar meanwhile gets to work training Raychaudhari as needed.
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Old 05-22-2023, 10:50 AM   #1412
Brian Swartz
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This is not something you see every day. Other than three Masters - there was a point where it was two - every major title from the current Top 10 belongs to Ben Faille. If his unbeaten run had lasted another handful of months, it would have been a completely blank sheet other than him. Felt like I should post this for posterity.

Later this week we'll catch up on how everyone's doing with an update after the US Open.
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Old 05-24-2023, 12:00 AM   #1413
Brian Swartz
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Q4 Rankings Update

1. Ben Faille (26, FRA) - 18,050

Another Masters defeat in Canada to Przalowik means that Faille has barely won more than half of those events this year, but in the Slams he's still unbeaten. Caballero pushed him to five sets in the USO final, just as he did in Wimbledon, so it's definitely tight between those two right now.

2. Ene Caballero (24, ESP) - 11,840

Continuing to slowly close the massive chasm between himself and the French living legend. I still think it's just been an off year for Faille to a degree though; I don't see Caballero ever surpassing him even though he's been close lately in their matchups.

3. Johann Przalowik (26, DEU) - 8,510

Fine run to win the Canada Masters; that's a better piece of hardware than I thought he could achieve in this generation.

4. Oleg Urazov (27, CAN) - 5,060

Urazov has hung up his singles racket prematurely in my opinion, and gone doubles. The last singles event he played was almost six months ago in Monte Carlo, which is a testament to how relatively unimpressive the players after him are that he still sits at this lofty perch. He made one Slam final - Australian this year - and three Masters finals, taking the Indian Wells title also this year. 4th is his career-best ranking, when he had the ability to reach #2. Definitely a disappointment overall.

5. Goya Banqueria (25, ESP) - 5,040

Banqueria is next up for that 4th spot, with consistent quarterfinal results over the summer and a semifinalist in Canada.

6. Jochen Weigle (29, SUI) - 4,580

At two weeks shy of 30 years old, Weigle made the US Open semifinals. That's a pretty sad indictment on the depth of the current group of top players. It also ensures he stays relevant at least into next year.

7. Davide de Laurentiis (25, DEU) - 4,480

Basically treading water here.

8. Jan Schleicher (22, AUT) - 4,035

Quarterfinals at the USO and Canada have young Schleicher taking advantage of the current situation. He's definitely an interesting player to watch and see how far he can go.

9. Chris King (24, GBR) - 3,665

King is the latest new face to join the Top 10 with Polychroniadis dropping out. Solid if unspectacular credentials on the technical and athletic front, excellent endurance, and a quite poor mental game highlight his resume. Made the semis at Wimbledon and Canada, quarterfinals at the US Open, and definitely appears to be on his way up.

10. Joss Fraikes (25, USA) - 3,830

I can't remember a player going doubles at this stage of his career since Julian? Hammerstein, a real blast from the past that few will remember. That means we're going to have yet another change. Most likely that will mean 24-year-old American Mark Want is up next. I've mentioned before how relatively unimpressive he is, but once again it's a scenario where *somebody* has to fill the spot. The singles competition would be much better served by Fraikes sticking with it, but he's opted out so ... it is what it is.

Perhaps this is as much the legacy of Faille as anything else. He makes other players not want to even try.


111. Aparna Chandrasekharan (23, SRI)

Chandrasekharan's ranking has slipped this year from a high of 86th; this is partly due to WTC matters and partly due to him being unable to replicate a pair of Challenger titles from last season. He has three finals and three semis so he's having his share of success, but still unable to break through.

135. Sushant Srivastava (28, SRI)

Now a solid doubles player, up to 85th.

241. Girish Raychaudhari (19, SRI)

Raychaudhari won his first FT1 crown a few weeks ago in Australia, then lost for the first time in several months in the semis of an FT2 to a player several months older, the real-life named Milos Raonic. A small setback, but he'll keep forging upwards. Girish has recently surpassed Srivastava in his theoretical singles ability and figures to be close to catching Chandrasekharan by year's end. He's got Challenger-level skill at this point, but needs a couple more futures titles before making that leap.

Perhaps a month or two ago he also reached his physical peak, so it's all about making the most of that now, with the aid of Manoj Datar as his trainer, to boost his technique as much as possible.
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Old 06-01-2023, 11:10 AM   #1414
Brian Swartz
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It's that time again; closing in on the end of a year and the start of a new one, which in this case will mean a new Sri Lanka prodigy.

We lost the WTC Level 3 Quarterfinals to Ukraine 4-1. That's better than 5-0 last year, with Chandrasekharan getting the lone win. It's also worse than it should have been. I didn't even realize until the tie was ongoing that what I should have done is pulled Srivastava out of the singles side so that we'd have Raychaudhari playing. For whatever reason I forgot that having players not play in one or both competitions was even a thing.

We probably would have lost anyway, but it still would have been better. Ah well. We'll start off that way next year, Chandrasekharan + Raychaudhari in singles, Srivastava + whoever in doubles, and I think we'll have a pretty good chance of promoting. That will be the goal anyway.
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Old 06-07-2023, 06:30 AM   #1415
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup Playoffs

** Argentina (4th) vs. Switzerland (25th)

After being relegated down the Level 2 in a playoff against Sweden last year, Argentina tries to bounce back up. Switzerland is facing their first relegation battle since promoting to the top tier a decade ago. Both countries stay where they are in a 4-1 win for the Swiss; the singles look relatively even on paper but they won the doubles and got a surprising close win in #2 singles matchup as well.

** Chile (28th) vs. Norway (15th)

Chile's been facing relegation challenges roughly every other year for a while now, but has stayed up at the top tier each time. Norway was sent down a couple of years ago, lost in a promotion attempt against Poland last year, and this year gets blanked again, 5-0 in their try at getting back up. They have a couple of solid Top 100 singles players, but neither of them are close to the Top 50 so it looks like they're just a cut below where they need to be. Chile easily survives yet again.

** Great Britain (6th) vs. Australia (19th)

A 4th straight year for Great Britain trying to promote; the last three years they have been undefeated champions of Level 2 but had only close losses to Russia and Chile to show for it. Australia was in Level 3 a couple of years ago but appears to be on their way up; they are also seeking promotion and were the Level 2 finalists. Another close matchup, but Great Britain breaks through here 3-2. They take the doubles and while their declining #2 singles didn't get any wins, 8th-ranked Chris King got two of them including a five-setter to clinch it against rising 22-year-old Jason Abercrombie. In the long run Australia might actually be better, and they could well be promoting themselves next year. For now though, it's the Brits moving on up.

** Mexico (18th) vs. Sweden (14th)

Two long-time Level 1 nations go at it here, and one of them would not survive. Mexico hasn't faced nearly as many relegation battles as Sweden recently; the latter pretty much has it as an annual tradition, having survived three in a row. They didn't make it four, ending on the short end of a close 3-2 count. Past their prime are the top singles players for each country, Raul Ramirez (23rd) for Mexico and Patrik Rask (27th) for Sweden. Rask got the better of that matchup and accounts for both of his country's wins, but the #2 singles and doubles matchups both went to Mexico. All five rubbers were straight-sets affairs, and Mexico stays up.

Great Britain up, Sweden down for the top tier. Down at Level 3, our nemesis of the last couple of seasons, Ukraine, promotes with a 4-1 win over Latvia. Tunisia, Level 3 champions this year, also goes up at the expense of Georgia, 3-2. An unusual set of matchups as the Level 2 nations were all matched against each other and the Level 3 ones as well, instead of being more mixed. Belarus and Thailand are relegated. Thailand at least is well deserving of it and and not nearly as good as the promoting countries.

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Old 06-07-2023, 06:39 AM   #1416
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Country Rankings

1. Spain - 2,585
2. Greece - 2,430
3. Germany - 2,386
4. Argentina - 2,223
5. United States - 2,177
6. Great Britain - 2,166
7. Ireland - 2,155
8. Cyprus - 2,137
9. France - 2,081
10. Italy - 1,963

39. Sri Lanka - 1,254

We'll be playing in Level 3, Group 4 for Year 105. Bolivia (53rd), Latvia (23rd), and Thailand (22nd) are the opposition. By ranking, that means we have to go up against the top nations in Level 3. In practice it's not nearly so pessimistic. Thailand doesn't have a single player who is in the Top 200; it's good futures or worse for them. Bolivia has one solid player, declining Juan Antonio Delharo (92nd, 28 years old). We get them first. Latvia has two decent players, 196th and 110th in the rankings,

I like our chances to win the group although it could be close. Our aim this year should be promoting; with Raychaudhari rising we should be a Level 2 country minimum soon.
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Old 06-08-2023, 08:45 AM   #1417
ntndeacon
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3 thoughts on the World team cup for this year.
1. When I read your description of Bolivia, I thought, " Oh, so Bolivia's second player must like be in the 2-300s or something. So no problem for Sri Lanka." I just looked as the match was ongoing. Holy bad player, Robin! The other singles player is in the 1100s (not a typo... eleven hundreds)!! How are they even still in Level 3. They are a worse version of Zimbabwe! ( Who has one very good player and nothing really else, but their second is at least in the triple digits! I hope Thailand beats them. I believe if they are in the 3-4 playoffs at the end of the season they go down.

2. There has to be another country that can fill a team other than the Philippines. They have exactly 2 players on the main side(I did not look at their juniors) So there was a walk over in 4th level. I did not investigate who that nation should be, but there's got to be other options, Heck, Sri Lanka was out for a couple of years...There has to be someone that no manager has picked up that has at least 3-5 main level players.

3. And on a positive note.

Morocco has to move up. At this point they could be a strong candidate to win not only their group ( which I think is a given) but their level.
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Old 06-08-2023, 09:32 AM   #1418
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They are a worse version of Zimbabwe!

Hey, now.
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Old 06-08-2023, 09:35 AM   #1419
ntndeacon
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I am rooting for y'all to go up! Go Banana!
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Old 06-08-2023, 09:36 AM   #1420
ntndeacon
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My folks will be playing hopefully in the next season at worse, maybe we'll squeeze in one for Algeria before the end, but I kinda doubt it.
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Old 06-09-2023, 07:07 PM   #1421
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Heh. Well as you noted, the tie with Bolivia was ... uh ... one-sided. Grass is not a good surface for us, but we crushed them 5-0.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ntndeacon
There has to be another country that can fill a team other than the Philippines. They have exactly 2 players on the main side(I did not look at their juniors) So there was a walk over in 4th level. I did not investigate who that nation should be, but there's got to be other options, Heck, Sri Lanka was out for a couple of years...There has to be someone that no manager has picked up that has at least 3-5 main level players.

Somebody sent me a message on discord a while back that I think explains how the nations are picked for level 4. If you go to country rankings, there's a listing which basically aggregates the ranking points for all of the players in a nation. And the Phillipines is actually 53rd on that list. 4 levels of 16 each, so 64th or better to be in. Of course the problem is players being listed as inactive for the cup. Anybody without enough players active to fill a squad getting dropped would be better but ... it is what it is at this point.

I feel better understanding the why, even if the why is sometimes dumb and definitely not optimal. If that makes sense. It's not a black box to me anymore, one of the few remaining mysteries solved.

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Old 06-09-2023, 07:09 PM   #1422
Brian Swartz
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Year 105 Top Ten Rankings

1. Ben Faille (26, FRA, 89%, 9.38, -0.14) - 17,900

After two undefeated seasons, Faille dropped to 'only' 88-4 this year. Three Masters went to other players, and he also had a setback in the WTC quarterfinals. The evaluation also shows that he's past his peak, so it's just a question of hanging on to the top spot as long as he can; make no mistake, he's still a dominant #1.

The updated historical record:

Slams - 19, 4th all time
Tour Finals - 4, T-6th
Masters - 34, 4th
Weeks at #1 - 224, 8th
Prize Money - 62 million, unranked

Still well behind the trio of Adams/Kaspar/Gorritepe in most categories, although he could equal Gorritepe in Slams this year if he wins them all again. It all depends on how much he falls off how fast. Still favored in every event, but it's no longer a total shock if he loses here and there.

2. Ene Caballero (24, ESP, 93%, 9.24, +0.13) - 11,890

I've long predicted that Caballero wouldn't reach the top spot, but he's probably got another year of at least some improvement coming. It's possible he could narrowly surpass Faille before beginning his own descent. Either way the gap is much, much smaller between them than it was a year ago. This year his record was 87-12, so three times the losses that the French living legend had. They played eleven matches, with Caballero getting two wins. It'll be interesting to see how much that narrows.

3. Johann Przalowik (27, DEU, 90%, 8.96, -0.03) - 8,120

Przalowik posted a surprising first and quite possibly last Masters shield in Cincinatti, along with a runner-up earlier in the year in Miami. Overall his playing level appears to have peaked and he's likely at the start of his decline phase.

4. Jochen Weigle (30, SUI, 83%, 8.62, -0.07) - 5,210

Last season I said "Another one fading away ...". While that is true, it's also true that this year he reached his career-best ranking, and he's 30 years old. Those two facts going together are just weird, but three of the four players he passed up retired from singles play; Polychroniadis, Cananis, and Urazov. He's done well to keep from declining more quickly than he has, and taken advantage of the opening.

5. Goya Banqueria (26, ESP, 90%, 8.73, -0.03) - 5,120

Banqueria was 4th temporarily but didn't have a great finish. A bronze at the Olympics and four semifinals including Roland Garros highlighted his best year; he came in ranked 10th so it was quite a jump for him. Goya is in much the same situation as Przalowik. He's likely seen his best playing level and figures to watch that slowly drop now.

6. Jan Schleicher (22, AUT, 98%, 8.62, ??) - 4,935

Schleicher is the top-ranked new face, and right now second-ranked in the still-improving category. One figures he'll ascend further just due to those facts and being in the right place at the right time. Adding solid athleticism to now world-class technique, a weak mental game but strong endurance, Jan is ready to forge a successful prime and should have a few years of contention ahead yet. He had a handful of semifinals including the Tour Finals and a couple of Masters, and a few other quarterfinals. More consistency will be expected of him this year.

7. Davide de Laurentiis (26, DEU, 90%, 8.76, +0.02) - 4,000

Strange season for de Laurentiis; he stays right where he was with three players passing him in both directions. Lost almost a thousand points overall though. Davide was consistent most of the time, but early defeats at RG and USO hurt. A somewhat disappointing year overall, and he's another in that peaked-and-aging now bucket.

8. Chris King (24, GBR, 93%, 8.93, ??) - 3,885

Lots of similarities between King and Schleicher. The Brit is a faster-aging, mentally weaker, and more under-achieving variant. Semifinals at Wimbledon and Cincinatti were the highlight for him, and I'd expect another step upwards for our second newcomer to the Top 10.

9. Oleg Urazov (27, CAN, 89%, 8.97, -0.19) - 3,350

Technically Urazov is still around, but his doubles work continues and he'll be replaced soon.

10. Antoine Benth (25, FRA, 93%, 8.43, --) - 2,700

Benth is the personification of how far the standards have fallen for the first page. Overall rating under 4.5, skill is at 4.5, endurance of 2.4?? Very good athlete, but he's not the stuff that top players are made of. He's here though, because someone has to be.

Analysis

Polychroniadis and Cananis said their good-byes, Urazov following soon. Joss Fraikes literally took the majority of the year off and fell to 18th. He's back now, so .. we'll see there. Another pair of Americans, Rory Buckman and Mark Want, appear to be next on deck. Yet more from the USA, Kelvin Pinder and Alvin Fant, are 22 years old each and might be the best chance for young-ish players to rise up.

Average rating saw a fairly dramatic drop from 8.93 to 8.86. There's every reason to expect that trend to continue. The weak era isn't coming, it's officially here now. Cabellero, Schleicher, and for at least a year King will try to keep it afloat but they're fighting a falling tide.
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Old 06-09-2023, 07:19 PM   #1423
Brian Swartz
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Year 105 Rankings, My Stable

112. Aparna Chandrasekharan (24, SRI, 96%, 7.65, +0.18)

A slide here from 90th a year ago; Chandrasekharan holds a career-high of 86th but he's not seen that range in a while. This year he was a little more consistent getting to the late stage of Challengers, posting four finals, three semifinals, and three quarterfinal results. He didn't manage to win any though, and also got fewer points from the World Team Cup.

Still headed in the right direction, just a temporary setback here. Aparna's goal for this season is to get back in the Top 100 and start winning low-level Challengers some of the time. Those goals are modest, but achievable.

152. Girish Raychaudhari (19, SRI, 99%, 7.46, +0.83)

Raychaudhari blasted through futures after a couple of minor hiccups, and ended the year in spectacular fashion; in a four-week period he won his last two FT1 events and reached the final of his first Challenger, CH3 Cancun. By the summer I expect Girish to have claimed his spot as Sri Lanka's top player. He'll get a boost from WTC play, and while the usual Challenger Stall is anticipated, his rate of improvement means it will be a shorter period for him than it has been for Chandrasekharan.

It'll be at least two years, possibly closer to three before he gets through most likely.

169. Sushant Srivastava (28, SRI, 86%, 7.15, -0.18)

All of our ducks are now in a row to face the WTC in the best arrangement. Srivastava is in the Top 100 in doubles and up to 3.3 out of 5 in that discipline. He's now the elder statesman among my active players and ready to ensure that we don't slip because of poor doubles play in a close tie.

UNR. Ram Mayuri (14, SRI, 60%, 1.02, --)

Meet the newest prodigy. I actually was able to create two players. After Mayuri turned out to be a bit weaker than Raychaudhari - he's very similar, just not as good - I tried again. The less said about the disaster that is Biju Punnoose the better, he's definitely near the bottom end of what created players can be.

So anyway, Mr. Mayuri here. I think I'm going to call him that, in honor of a certain character from Karate Kid. He's a fair amount stronger than Raychaudhari, but also slower. Endurance should peak somewhere between 3.7 and 4.0, compared to 4.2. Starts out somewhat older, and has the same 4.6 Talent. Very similar high mentality, just a twinge better at 4.0. Higher home court advantage, but of course that won't matter. So really the main thing is just having endurance that isn't as good. Ram should make Top 10 for sure but after that who knows. In any case, Mayuri's journey begins now, and at a minimum he should eventually team with Raychaudhari to take us back to being among the elite tennis nations in the years to come.

Manager Ranking

Up a few spots to 42nd, 7.35k points.
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Old 06-15-2023, 02:06 PM   #1424
Brian Swartz
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Australian Open

I figure it's time to start reporting on the Slams again, as there is some doubt at least now about who the winner will be. And in this case, I had a couple players participating as well. For our top two it's really a case of maybe not getting much in the way of matches and an early exit, or taking a bad practice week. Might as well play and roll the dice.

Girish Raychaudhari made his way through qualifying pretty routinely, then met up with (16) Matthew Hughes (IRE) in the main draw. Did well late in the match to force a fourth set, losing 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Aparna Chandrasekharan didn't need to qualify, and pulled an upset against (26) Santino Consiglio, a veteran from Italy. 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-3 in that one, tight almost the whole way. The fun came to an end in the second round courtesy of one of the more dangerous floaters in the draw, rising 22-year-old Dutch player Maurits Soesbergen, who came in ranked 49th. Soesbergen treated him to three identical 6-2 sets, and that was that. Still a good showing by both players.

At the higher end, there was only one disruption to the expected quarterfinalists: Chris King, the 8th seed, was knocked out by American Rory Buckman in the 4th round. The top seven though all made it through. Davide de Laurentiis was dismissed in straight sets by Faille, young Jan Schleicher pushed Przalowik to four sets including one very long tiebreak that might have made it interesting had it gone the other way. Buckman was smashed easily by Caballero, and Goya Banqueria met Jochen Weigle in a long match eventually won by the veteran Swiss, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Johann Przalowik led Ben Faille by a set twice in the first semifinal, but couldn't pull off the upset. Final scoreline there was 4-6, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3. Weigle managed just three total games against Ene Caballero, who came into the final with a huge head of steam ... but couldn't take a set from the #1. 7-6(4), 6-2, 7-6(2) is reasonably competitive, but still a bit of a surprise given what happened in the previous rounds.

Faille wins his 20th Slam, all of them consecutive; it's been a full five years since anybody else took home one of these trophies. Rory Buckman replaces last year's finalist, Oleg Urazov, in the Top 10 after the event.
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Old 06-15-2023, 02:11 PM   #1425
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup, Level 3, Group 4, Round 2
Sri Lanka vs. Thailand, Clay

It was another anticlimactic week. Chandrasekharan lost a set in the opening match, but otherwhise it was straight-set wins all the way down. Presumably for fatigue reasons, Raychaudhari was the doubles partner for Srivastava which is fine by me. A 5-0 win.

We'll face Latvia in a couple of months to determine who takes the top spot in the group; both of us will move on to the knockout rounds regardless of the result there. Grass surface will favor them but I think we'll come out on top anyway. So far against the same opponents we've lost no matches and one set; they've lost 3 matches and 11 sets. My prediction is a 4-1 win, which would set us up well for a favorable quarterfinal matchup.

Since there was a comment on Morocco it's worth noting they came within one set of losing to Lithuania. They're still on track though and we could well face them later in the year.
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Old 06-21-2023, 10:04 PM   #1426
Brian Swartz
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Miami Masters

There was high drama in the second Masters of the year, some of it stunning. At Indian Wells, Ene Caballero knocked off Ben Faille in the final, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. That's surprising, but not more than that. We're expecting Caballero to get the upper hand occasionally at this point.

This tournament was different though. Faille lost much earlier, in the quarterfinals, to 8th-seeded Chris King. King has been an underachiever, but he violently shed that reputation at least for one match; 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. The last time Faille lost this early in a Masters event was in Canada, three and a half years ago. The last time he failed to win in consecutive Masters was four years ago. By any measure, he looks more vulnerable than he has at almost any time in his reign.

Caballero went on to win, but there were a couple more tight matches worth noting. King lost in the semfinals to Jochen Weigle in a tight third-set tiebreak, who made his first ever Masters final at 30 and a half years old; he had two USO finals in his better years, but this is still stunning. Johann Przalowik lost an epic to fellow German Davide de Laurentis in the quarterfinals, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8). This was quite a fortnight to follow, and there was a lot of chaos; Caballero was down a set to Jan Schleicher in the quarters before rallying. It's feeling more and more like many players have a chance to win each tournament.

If this upheaval continues, it should be a lot of fun and it'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.
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Old 06-22-2023, 02:58 AM   #1427
Brian Swartz
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Q2 Rankings Update

1. Ben Faille (26, FRA) - 16,830

If Faille doesn't have a strong clay season, he could potentially lose the top spot later in the year. I don't think that will happen, but he definitely needs to bounce back strong and re-establish dominance.

2. Ene Caballero (25, ESP) - 13,650

Caballero had a single Masters title to his name a month ago; now he has three of them, and the gap to Ben Faille continues to shrink.

3. Johann Przalowik (27, DEU) - 8,170

4. Jochen Weigle (30, SUI) - 6,280

Somebody remind Weigle that he's old now in tennis terms. He doesn't seem to have figured that out.

5. Goya Banqueria (26, ESP) - 5,290

6. Jan Schleicher (23, AUT) - 5,175

Schleicher continues to inch upwards, but hasn't shown the capability to compete with the top players yet.

7. Davide de Laurentiis (26, DEU) - 4,560

8. Chris King (25, GBR) - 4,530

de Laurentiis and King both reached the Indian Wells semis, and between that and other results they are keeping the pressure on the players above them. The Top 8 is tightening up.

9. Rory Buckman (24, USA) - 2,810

10. Mark Want (24, USA) - 2,775

These Americans are headlining the 'best of the rest' category. Benth lurks a couple hundred points back, and rising South African Kabo Mankaba, 23 years of age, may be the next to shove his way onto the first page. Mankaba is currently 12th.



87. Aparna Chandrasekharan (24, SRI)

Chandrasekharan has a quarterfinal and his first Challenger title in over a year to show for himself this year. The latter came at CH2 Casablanca a little over a month ago, and has pushed him up to the range of his career high. More consistency in winning low-level challengers is the next hurdle for him.

115. Girish Raychaudhari (20, SRI)

Raychaudhari has all but equalled Chandrasekharan in theoretical playing ability. Recently he lost in the QF of CH2 Barranquilla, after reaching his second final at CH3 Florianopolis a month prior. It's time for him to start replacing his points from futures titles, and he'll need to be making semfinals at least to do that.

138. Renke Von dem Knesebeck (20, AUT)[/b]

Not my player of course, but Knesebeck is one to follow as it appears he's going to be a rival to Raychaudhari. More on this in my next post.

213. Sushant Srivastava (29, SRI)[/b]

Doubles work continues, and Srivastava is up to 80th now in that department.

1057 (J). Ram Mayuri (14, SRI)[/b]

Mr. Mayuri struggled as all players initially do, then reached the semis of both singles and doubles at JG5 Santa Cruz a month ago. He's in action again this week so we'll see how that goes; interestingly another manager picked up cast-off Biju Punnoose, which I didn't think would happen. We'll see how that goes; he's presentlly 783rd.
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Old 06-22-2023, 03:05 AM   #1428
Brian Swartz
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Rivalry Outlook
Girish Raychaudhari vs. Renke Von dem Knesebeck

A rather remarkable situation appears to be developing. Raychaudhari and another player his age are as close to evenly matched as you get. Both project to reach the Top 5 at a minimum, and Knesebeck is managed by jtweedy, currently #3 in the manager rankings. This is a mano-a-mano confrontation the likes of which I don't think I've ever seen. It should be one heck of a epic rivalry over time.

Facts & Figures

Current Ranking; Raychaudhari 115th, Knesebeck 138th
Head to Head; Raychaudhari 5-0. Four wins on clay, one on hardcourt. Two in juniors, three last year; two futures and one challenger.
Age; Raychaudhari 20y 2w, Knesebeck 20y 0w
Aging Factor; Raychaudhari 98%, Knesebeck 97%
Composite Rating; Raychaudhari 7.62, Knesebeck 7.57
Skill; Raychaudhari 4.4, Knesebeck 4.1
Service; Raychaudhari 3.1, Knesebeck 3.3
Strength; Raychaudhari 2.8, Knesebeck 4.3
Speed; Raychaudhari 3.4, Knesebeck 3.3
Mentality; Raychaudhari 3.9, Knesebeck 2.5
Endurance; Raychaudhari 4.2, Knesebeck 4.3
Talent; Raychaudhari 4.6, Knesebeck 4.4
Trainer; Raychaudhari 4.5, Knesebeck 5.4

Analysis

By age they are nearly identical, just two weeks apart. The biggest differences between them are that Knesebeck is much stronger and has a better trainer - none other than GOAT Chris Adams - while Raychaudhari has stronger mentality. The other distinctions are much smaller.

Raychaudhari is better technically, due mostly to getting a head start; Knesebeck came into the tour over half a year later. Raychaudhari has better talent but worse endurance, better speed, and so far Knesebeck has a minor case of the typical malady of over-emphasizing the serve. Another edge for the time being is that Knesebeck is not involved in the World Team Cup just yet, ranking 4th among Austrian players. In a year, two at most, I expect him to join them though.

Knesebeck should end up being a better player due to aging factor and strength, but not by much at all. Every small choice will be significant; the margins will likely be incredibly small. Right now Raychaudhari should have an experience advantage by being higher ranked and the WTC factor. The players are taking different approaches to surface preference, and I'm curious to see how Knesebeck handles the Challenger Stall situation. I'll be tracking Knesebeck in the ranking updates moving forwards. I'm not sure who will eventually get the upper hand, but I'm going to try to give it my best effort to see Raychaudhari come out on top.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-22-2023 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 06-22-2023, 09:52 AM   #1429
ntndeacon
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Raimundo Tallando, one of my players is in the WTC for Ecuador. He even got a deciding game win last round.
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Old 06-23-2023, 03:35 AM   #1430
Brian Swartz
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If Ecuador makes it far enough, we'll be sure to send them on their way rudely

World Team Cup, Group 3, Round 3
Latvia vs. Sri Lanka, Grass

Monday: G. Raychaudhari d. D. Darzins, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 13-11!
Tuesday: A. Chandrasekharan d. A. Alunans, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Wednesday: A. Alunans/R. Pumpurs d. S. Srivastava/A. Chandrasekharan, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3
Thursday: A. Chandrasekharan d. D. Darzins, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (4)
Friday: G. Raychaudhari d. A. Alunans, 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-3

I was right about winning by a 4-1 count, but not about how exactly this tie against Latvia went. Every match was competitive, and the first one was an absolute epic. There were breaks all over the place at the end of that 5th set and both players had many chances to win. I underestimated their doubles team, currently ranked 29th and 30th. It was a great week for experience for both of our singles players, esp. Raychaudhari.

We'll face Luxembourg in the quarterfinals on hardcourt, who we should be able to handle although they aren't a pushover and are somewhat better than their ranking of 50th indicates. It seems likely that it will come down to us and Morocco in the final, which would be a great situation for us regardless of who wins. I'm less confident of our chances to actually promote in a playoff though. There are some dangerous nations we could face, including Ukraine who we were quite happy to not have to deal with this year. I wouldn't give us any better than 50-50 odds to be in Level 2 next year, but it does look like we'll at least have the chance and the more WTC matches we can play the better off we'll be.

For now, the clay season beckons. I'll be back with a report on the French Open when we get to that point.
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Old 07-02-2023, 11:49 AM   #1431
Brian Swartz
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Roland Garros

Mostly predictable. Top eight seeds make the quarterfinals, and the only upset there ... if you can even call it that, which I wouldn't ... is Jan Schleicher beating Jochen Weigle in four sets. Good match between the Spaniards, but Caballero wins in five over Banqueria as one would expect. Chris King out in straight sets against Faille ... he's not a match for him on this surface. A pair of straight-set semis, and then a good final with the anticipated result. Caballero comes up short against Ben Faille in the legend's home Slam, 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(9), 6-3.

None of my players participated. Renke Von dem Knesebeck did as many rising players do, but it was a mistake; he lost in his first match on both brackets.
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Old 07-02-2023, 12:05 PM   #1432
Brian Swartz
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Q3 Rankings Update

1. Ben Faille (27, FRA) - 16,230

After taking the title in Monte Carlo and Madrid, Faille surprisingly skipped Rome. Apparently intentionally. I'm guessing he didn't want his form getting too high ahead of RG. Not the usual choice.

2. Ene Caballero (25, ESP) - 13,050

Skipping Madrid was a big mistake for Caballero. He's done well otherwise, but it kept him from inching closer.

3. Johann Przalowik (27, DEU) - 9,060

Przalowik continues to be consistent, and well above the fray aside from the top two players.

4. Jochen Weigle (30, SUI) - 6,520

5. Jan Schleicher (23, AUT) - 5,715

Schleicher looks poised to move up a tier and break into the Top 4.

6. Davide de Laurentiis (26, DEU) - 4,920

7. Chris King (25, GBR) - 4,780

8. Goya Banqueria (26, ESP) - 4,760

Banqueria only lost about 500 points on the clay season compared to a year ago, but it was enough to cost him a few spots in the rankings. Quarterfinals instead of semis at Roland Garros is the only regression, and that was just a case of drawing Caballero.

9. Rory Buckman (24, USA) - 2,870

10. Mark Want (24, USA) - 2,680

No shifting of significance in the bottom two spots.


90. Aparna Chandrasekharan (24, SRI)

Three challengers in the last few months; a semifinal, a quarterfinal, and a surprising first-round loss to a wild-card. That wild-card though would go on to win CH2 Cremona, so really it was just bad luck. Aparna is basically holding steady just back of his career high of 81st.

91. Renke Von dem Knesebeck (20, AUT)

Knesebeck is playing a pretty heavy schedule, and only singles. This is generally not a great plan because it slows down development, but in the space of the last month he saw some fruit by winning CH3 Zagreb and CH2 Rijeka. A little further back he also got his first win over Raychaudhari in the semis at Ostrava, before losing in the final.

All of this boils down to Knesebeck winning the battles right now, but I think he's hurting himself in the longer war. I'm certain Raychaudhari is more efficiently gaining experience right now, but he's not playing as many tournaments and so has fallen behind in the rankings chase.

100. Girish Raychaudhari (20, SRI)

Career high is 95th, achieved recently. Aside from the semifinal in Ostrava, he had one at CH2 Lyon as well. A solid Challenger player but not ready to move up to the more lucrative events. Keep grinding away.

231. Sushant Srivastava (29, SRI)

750 (J). Ram Mayuri (14, SRI)

Mayuri has had more than his share of early losses, but in his last event he claimed the trophy at JG5 Kumasi. We'll see if he's ready yet to be consistent.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 07-11-2023 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 07-07-2023, 01:33 PM   #1433
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Wimbledon

Renke Von dem Knesebeck had a bit better luck this time around, winning a first-round match and losing a competitive straight-set encounter with (24) Jose Antonio Casayes. I imagine he's probably pretty happy with his event. Girish Raychaudhari did not play here of course, but he did have a fine week of his own, his first challenger title, taking singles and doubles at CH1 Turin. Tight match in the final over 66th-ranked Imazighen Maazouzi of Morocco, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

At the sharp end, there were two surprises in the second week. Mark Want knocking out Chris King in the fourth round is pretty astounding given that this is King's home Slam. Big missed opportunity for the 6 seed, who was a semifinalist last year. The other one is a new name; young Australian Jason Abercrombie, 22 years old. Goya Banqueria lost in the third round to the lowest seed in the field, Zimbabwe's Meligqili Banana, and Abercrombie took advantage with a four-set win over Banana to make the final eight.

Abercrombie then lost in four to Jochen Weigle, and ended up just shy of making the first page; he's up from 13th to 11th though and is definitely a player to watch. Serve is lacking which leaves me not overly impressed, but we'll see how it goes for him. The rest of the tournament was a picture of the expected. Top four seeds to the semis, top two to the final, and a tight win for Ben Faille over Ene Caballero to claim his 6th straight Wimbledon crown. 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 6-7(9), 6-4.
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Old 07-16-2023, 06:10 AM   #1434
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup Level 3 Quarterfinals
Sri Lanka vs. Luxembourg, Hardcourt

I expected to win. I did not expect .... this. The closest match was 6-2, 6-0, 6-4. One was a triple-bagel. It was so one-sided that we didn't really benefit experience-wise. We crush Luxembourg 5-0, and will face Georgia in the semifinals in a couple of weeks. That one I expect to come down to the doubles matchup, and be a 3-2 final. Winner probably gets Morocco in the Level 3 title round. But whatever happens, we're in the playoffs and will have a solid chance to move up to Level 2 depending of course on how that draw ends up going.
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Old 07-16-2023, 07:20 AM   #1435
Brian Swartz
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Q4 Rankings Update

1. Ben Faille (27, FRA) - 15,810

Faille skipped another Masters, this time in Cincinatti, after winning Canada. It seems that he wants to keep winning Slams whatever it takes, and is optimizing his preparation for that. That's my best guess anyway. He kept the momentum going by not only winning the US Open but not dropping a set in the process. Still, his hold on the #1 spot continues to slowly slip despite just three losses on the year.

2. Ene Caballero (25, ESP) - 13,400

Caballero could have closed the gap further, but he lost in the Cincinatti final to Przalowik, 7-5 in the third set. He's been a finalist in all four Slams, and in every Masters he hasn't won except for this mistake in missing Madrid.

3. Johann Przalowik (27, DEU) - 8,560

A second Masters shield is a nice feather in his cap.

4. Jochen Weigle (30, SUI) - 6,530

5. Jan Schleicher (23, AUT) - 6,440

Schleicher looks like he's just about to take over the 4th spot.

6. Davide de Laurentiis (26, DEU) - 5,410

7. Goya Banqueria (27, ESP) - 4,400

8. Chris King (25, GBR) - 4,090

King is just not doing well. He lost in the third round of the USO, close straight-sets to Matthew Hughes who is no slouch ... but it's been a disappointing year for sure. Only one QF to show for himself in the Slams. He's way too good for that to be acceptable.

9. Rory Buckman (25, USA) - 3,290

Buckman is just ... hanging out basically. Churn above him, churn below, and he chills in the 'best player to not be at the Tour Finals' spot.

10. Kabo Mankaba (23, ZAF) - 2,610

Latest to hold the revolving-door spot at 10th. Benth, Abercrombie, and Want are all within 100 points. I have no idea who finishes the year here.



65. Renke Von dem Knesebeck (20, AUT)

A first-round exit at the USO, albeit competitively, was followed by a title at CH1 Banja Luka this week. That will push Knesebeck's ranking higher. He also had a couple of other Challenger finals recently, and even played a 250 at Kitbuhel, making the semifinals. It's an impatient approach, but not recklessly so.

83. Girish Raychaudhari (20, SRI)

Since last report, all he's done is the WTC, a win at CH3 Brasilia, and train in practice weeks. Should have had him play another Challenger instead of a bad practice week during the USO, but I think that was really the only error. The grind continues, and I'm curious to see how he does in the year-end set of tournaments.

87. Aparna Chandrasekharan (24, SRI)

Second Challenger title of the year, 4th of his career at CH3 Bangkok a couple weeks ago. Chandrasekharan also lost in the quarterfinals in his previous couple, so the inconsistency continues - as does the gradual but steady improvement.

469. Sushant Srivastava (29, SRI)

Slipping in singles, but his doubles game continues to improve; holding in the Top 100 at 93rd.

472 (J). Ram Mayuri (15, SRI)

Mayuri has been all over the place in his JG5 tournaments with a variety of results, but still only one singles title and two in doubles.
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Old 07-18-2023, 04:24 AM   #1436
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup Level 3 Semifinals
Georgia vs. Sri Lanka, Clay

It would appear that we had choice of ground here, as clay is the most favorable surface for us.

- B. Abashidze d. A. Chandrasekharan, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
- G. Raychaudhari d. B. Kavkasidze, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2
- Srivastava/Raychaudhari d. Abashidze/Kavkasidze, 6-2, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0
- B. Abashidze d. G. Raychaudhari, 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
- A. Chandrasekharan d. B. Kavkasidze, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4

Sri Lanka defeats Georgia, 3-2! It was definitely too close for comfort but went down pretty much as expected. On a less favorable surface we may well have lost. Badry Abashidze, currently ranked 41st, was too much for us to handle so we had to win the other matches in order to advance. We have two months until we face Morocco in the final, no surprise there. My best guess on that one is a 3-2, or possibly 4-1 loss. Not out of the realm of possibility that we could win depending on surface, but they have two quality singles players and the only match I feel confident in is the doubles. Ultimately it doesn't really matter that much who wins or loses anyway; getting through to the final and having the most possible WTC matches we could get for the year is a big win regardless of the outcome.

Focus shifts back to the Challenger circuit for us in the interim.
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Old 07-26-2023, 02:51 PM   #1437
Brian Swartz
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World Tour Finals

Not a whole lot to say here as it pretty much went as expected. The second spot in Group 2 was split with one match win apiece from Schleicher, Weigle, and Banqueria. Goya Banqueria won the tiebreaks and joined the top three players in moving to the semifinals; surprisingly basically nobody Faille and Caballero each went unbeaten in group play.

Easy win for Faille over Banqueria in the first semi, while Johann Przalowik took Caballero to a third set. 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, so it still wasn't all that close. Then Ben Faille did what he does, crushing Ene Caballero 6-2, 6-3 to take his 5th Tour Finals and fourth consecutive.
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Old 07-27-2023, 01:40 PM   #1438
ntndeacon
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Algeria is in the WTC finals of the 4th level. Vs Finland. Finland has someone under 100 so it'll be tight. It's going to depend on the doubles match.
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Old 07-27-2023, 01:44 PM   #1439
britrock88
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Friendly reminder to anyone following this thread to seek out the Anilophiles club and sign up your players for the wk. 52 Anil Cup!
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Old 07-28-2023, 03:12 PM   #1440
Brian Swartz
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No. My players have plenty of matches elsewhere. But yes, good idea if you need the form boost
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Old 07-28-2023, 03:17 PM   #1441
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup, Level 3 Finals
Morocco vs. Sri Lanka, Hardcourt

- A. Erbati d. G. Raychaudhari, 6-2, 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3
- A. Chandrasekharan d. I. Maazouzi, 7-6(7), 6-1, 6-0
- Srivastava/Raychaudhari d. El Sayed/El Shnawy, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
- A. Chandrasekharan d. A. Erbati, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2, 6-3
- G. Raychaudhari d. I. Maazouzi, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1

Sri Lanka defeats Morocco, 4-1!!

This was quite a surprise on multiple levels. I thought we'd lose a fairly close one, and by this point Raychaudhari should be our strongest performer but instead he takes our only defeat. The scoreline for that second match is just bizarre. We'll definitely take it though - Level 3 Champions! And now for the crucial playoff matchup ...
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Old 07-29-2023, 12:44 PM   #1442
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup, Level 2 Playoffs
Sri Lanka vs. Ecuador, Hardcourt

As soon as this matchup popped up the result was known. Ecuador did very well to make it to the playoff, but none of the possible opponents would have been favorable for them. We don't lose a set in sweeping them, and promote to Level 2! The dangers we will face there were illustrated by our old friends Ukraine, who narrowly avoided being relegated against Sweden. Morocco edged Denmark to move up as well, while Georgia narrowly failed to do so against Guatemala. All three of the other matchups were 3-2.

I think we'll be good enough to succeed at Level 2 though, when you factor in continued improvement by our players. Another year is finished, and we'll be looking forward to the next one soon.
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Old 07-29-2023, 04:08 PM   #1443
Brian Swartz
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Spain defeated Germany 3-2 to take the world championship this year. In the top-level playoffs, #6 Argentina lost in the playoffs for the third straight year, staying at level 2. Those two facts just don't seem to go together. Mexico was relegated after losing 4-1 to Cyprus; both were at Level 1 so one was guaranteed to go down. On the flip side of that coin, the Czech Republic beat South Africa 3-2 in a matchup of two nations looking to promote. Interestingly they played in the Level 2 semifinals and had the inverse result.

Country Rankings

1. Spain - 2687
2. United States - 2406
3. Greece - 2352
4. Germany - 2324
5. France - 2213
6. Argentina - 2085
7. Ireland - 2049
8. Great Britain - 2039
9. Cyprus - 2015
10. Canada - 1924

30. Sri Lanka - 1555

We're actually tied for 29th with Thailand. It won't take a lot for us move up quite a few more places. Next year we will be Level 2 Group 3. Our opponents are India (16th), Mexico (26th), and Romania (44th). It's likely to come down to us or India. Anil Jindhyala (41st) is almost 29 and well past his peak, but still better than either of our players. I like our chances against the other two nations though. We should be able to make it through group play, but I don't think we're Level 1 quality yet. Something like a semifinal loss and losing in the promotion playoff as well is my best guess for where we end up.
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Old 07-30-2023, 06:26 PM   #1444
Brian Swartz
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Correction: I got the Argentina result wrong. They won 3-2 over Chile rather than losing, so they are back in Level 1.

LEARN.TO.READ. dude.
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Old 07-30-2023, 07:08 PM   #1445
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Year 106 Top Ten Rankings

1. Ben Faille (26, FRA, 86%, 9.29, -0.09) - 16,360

Faille skipped two Masters, but lost only three matches this year compared to four the year before. All 4 Slams, Tour Finals, and 5 Masters were added to his resume:

Slams - 23, T-3rd all time
Tour Finals - 5, T-5th
Masters - 39, 4th
Weeks at #1 - 276, 6th
Prize Money - 73 million, unranked

Faille should break into the Top 10 of the prize money list this year. There's no sign that he's going to stop winning big events, so the assault on history continues. It'll get a little iffy for him to stay at #1 if his points lead slips much more, but his record against Caballero was 9-1, even better than the year before. That needs to shift quite a bit for him to lose his perch, and I'm back to thinking it may not ever happen, and it might have to be somebody else who knocks him off. Scary thought for the tour.

2. Ene Caballero (25, ESP, 91%, 9.09, -0.15) - 13,350

A personal-record 90 wins for Caballero, and 11 losses which is one better than a year ago. In other words, a ludicrous 89-2 against players not named Faille. It looks like he's already starting to slide though, and with an aging curve that's a little faster than the French living legend, that makes it difficult to imagine a scenario in which he can catch him. Ene figures to end up being one of the best players in tennis history never to reach #1.

3. Johann Przalowik (28, DEU, 88%, 8.94, -0.02) - 8,120

Only a slight decline, but it looks like Przalowik may be starting to work on doubles. If so, we'll be waving good-bye to him soon. Being a fixture in the #3 spot is the best he can hope for, so it would be an understandable if IMO somewhat premature choice.

4. Jan Schleicher (23, AUT, 96%, 8.71, +0.09) - 6,360

Schleicher added significantly to his serve, and is basically equal in that aspect to the players above him. He also boosted his ranking points by well over a thousand, narrowly edging past Weigle. Jan could well be the next world #1. Long way to go for that yet, but he's getting better and the players above him are basically in free-fall. Definitely a player to watch this coming year.

5. Jochen Weigle (31, SUI, 81%, 8.54, -0.08) - 6,350

Weigle's strange career continues, and he's proven stunning difficult to eradicate from the Top 4. It looks like it's finally happened, though only by the slightest of margins. Jochen actually had a bounce-back year, with better than a thousand points added to his total. He actually had his overall best record of 74-21, same number of wins and two fewer losses. To do that at age 31 is just stupid.

6. Davide de Laurentiis (27, DEU, 88%, 8.74, -0.02) - 5,710

Very nearly treading water from an objective point of view, de Laurentiis is another player who saw a nice boost in results after a disappointing season prior. Quarterfinals in all Slams, and four semifinals in Masters; nothing further than that, but really it was just revitalized consistency that solidified his standing.

7. Goya Banqueria (27, ESP, 87%, 8.68, -0.05) - 4,390

Another in the slowly fading category, but in this case it was reflected in the tournament results for Banqueria.

8. Chris King (25, GBR, 91%, 8.84, -0.09) - 3,850

No excuse for the lack of progress for King, and in fact declining at his age with over 4 endurance. I have to think mismanagement at some level is part of the equation for him. He's still good enough to be a few spots higher, but I'm not optimistic that he'll make good on that.

9. Rory Buckman (25, USA, 91%, 8.40, --) - 3,140

Buckman does not have the technique to hang with other top players in extended rallies, but he's at least adequate for a first-page player in other aspects. There's nothing outstanding that he brings to the table outside of utilizing American crowds though. I don't see him every cracking the top five.

10. Mark Want (25, USA, 92%, 8.54, --) - 2,785

Want is adequate for a Top-10 player on a good day in rallies, but has the opposite problem; his serve isn't good enough. Both Buckman are Want are good examples of merry-go-round with players slipping in and out of the Top 10 because there are a number of players with similar ability here.

Analysis

Urazov fell out at the start of the year, and there were hopes Fraikes would make a comeback but he simply disappeared. We have what we have for now. Another big drop in the average rating, down to 8.78 from 8.86. Schleicher is the only player who is better than they were a year ago, unless one of the last couple improved slightly or something. The need for fresh contenders is more acute than ever.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 09-20-2023 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 07-30-2023, 07:36 PM   #1446
Brian Swartz
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Year 106 Rankings, 11-32

This report is making a return to get a sense of the lay of the land before my players start pushing up into this range. Only players under age 25 will be listed as the older ones don't particularly matter for spotting future contenders.

11. Jason Abercrombie (23, AUS, 96%, 8.65, --)

Abercrombie has been working on his inadequate serve, and it's no longer nearly as inadequate. He's got a good mental game, solid athleticism, and technique is getting close. I'd favor him to jump back up into the Top 10.

12. Kabo Manakaba (24, ZAF, 95%, 8.62, --)

Pretty similar story for Mankaba. He figures to be ready for the first page also; a little better technically than Abercrombie, but not as strong on mentality.

14. Valentin Cordonie (23, ESP, 95%, 8.51, --)

Fast but still a little short on technique, Cordonie cant' be overlooked as a Top-10 possibility either.

15. Michael Sachse (22, DEU, 97%, 8.54, --)

A fast-ager like Cordonie, Sachse is improving as well. Neither will have a long time to be in the mix, but they're talented enough to have their moments.

16. Alvin Fant (23, USA, 96%, 8.36, --)

I'm selling rather than buying here. Fant is a fine athlete with a good serve, but baseline technique is nowhere near where it needs to be. Too late in the process to fix that, so I think he'll struggle to get out of the teens.

17. Kelvin Pinder (23, USA, 96%, 8.54, --)

Pinder is an even better athlete than Fant, but technique is again a concern. Good with the crowd, very strong mentally, but aging fast enough that I don't think he has time to improve enough to be really special. Should be a Top 10, maybe Top 5 player, but again only for a relatively brief period.

This is six improving players in the first seven spots of the second page. There's definitely some upward pressure here building to relieve the decline that's being seen in the Top 10, and I expect the dam to break soon.

21. Basilis Pavlopoulos (24, DEU, 93%, 8.32, --)

Short shelf life and not enough time left to get where he needs to go. Pavlopoulos will peak in the teens I think.

23. Meligqili Banana (24, ZIM, 94%, 8.24, --)

The serve needs some work, and Banana doesn't have the athleticism or endurance to support greater ambitions. Continuing to gradually climb, but his potential is limited.

25. Jorg Weltsch (22, DEU, 97%, 8.49, --)

Weltsch is addressing his biggest weakness, which is baseline technique. He's another one with a short career span, but it looks like he's got enough firepower to crack the Top 10 in a couple of years.

26. Simeun Despotovic (22, SRB, 98%, 8.15, --)

Despotovic is average in terms of expected career length, so he has some time. He also has a lot of work to do, being criminally serve-heavy. We'll see. Probably Top 10, probably not much more than that. There are a number of players comparable to him that haven't escaped Challengers yet.

30. Clavet Jadot (23, FRA, 96%, 8.33, --)

I'm selling here as well. Quality athlete, but not enough time or endurance to make the needed improvements.

Assessment

Really the cream of the crop is already rising to the top here. That group of a half dozen players in the 11-17 rankings are the ones to keep an eye on. Beyond them, the next wave has yet to appear.
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Old 07-30-2023, 07:54 PM   #1447
Brian Swartz
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Year 106 Rankings, Other Notables

35. Scott Fielder (21, USA, 99%, 8.03, --)

Fielder is a reasonable stand-in for the kind of player, some are a little better, who is sitting in the top range of Challengers but can't quite break out. Not being managed well enough IMO to be a serious long-term threat, but he is an obstacle to just rampaging through Challengers and reaching the elite tier.

48. Renke Von dem Knesebeck (20, AUT, 99%, 7.88, --)

Knesebeck has four Challenger titles, four finals, and a host of semifinals in the past year. He also had that one semifinal at the Kitzbuhel Cup 250. He's busy, but not yet quite good enough to break through the challenger ceiling.

71. Aparna Chandrasekharan (25, SRI, 94%, 7.81, +0.16)

Continued steady improvement for Chandrasekharan, who is surprisingly our top-ranked player at the moment. Three challenger titles for him, but he still lacks consistency; a few semifinals and a number of quarterfinals in the others.

74. Girish Raychaudhari (20, SRI, 99%, 8.04, +0.58)

On paper, Raychaudhari is our best. That will eventually become clearer on the court. Three Challenger titles for him as well, along with one final and a few semis. Still making good progress in his training.

For both Chandrasekharan and Raychaudhari, the schedule will accelerate somewhat. They are good enough that they can't get good practice weeks when most of the top players are off at a Slam or Masters. The best thing to do those weeks is nab a Challenger with a weak field, but to have enough form to do that means playing singles only in tournaments a significant part of the year. It's the beginning of the shift from a purely development focus to rising up in the ranks more quickly. Should be fun to see how well they do. Neither is ready to go all-in and make a full run at breaking into the Top 32, but Girish should be ready for that I would guess sometime in the spring.

589. Sushant Srivastava (29, SRI, 83%, 6.96, -0.19)

It is sad to see Srivastava's singles rankings dip this far, but he's up to 61st in doubles and sitting at 4.2 in his doubles rating. That figures to get maxed out this year, and he's a potent force now in those pivotal WTC matches.

240(J). Ram Mayuri (15, SRI, 68%, 2.72, +1.70)

Mr. Mayuri recently got his second JG5 singles win at a local event in Colombo, so he has more work to do before moving up a tier. Otherwhise he has a stupidly long nose and is progressing as one would expect.

Manager Ranking

9.25k points, up 1.9k; 29th overall, up from 42nd.

That's quite a nice boost in a year's time. Another 2k points would only gain me about a half dozen spots more; to really start pushing into the top managers I'll need Raychaudhari to hit the big time. He'll get there.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 07-30-2023 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 07-31-2023, 10:46 PM   #1448
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup, Level 2, Group 3, Round 1
Sri Lanka vs. Mexico, Hardcourt

R. Ramirez d. A. Chandrasekharan, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
G. Raychaudhari d. R. Matesanz, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-0
Ramirez/Mexicano d. Srivastava/Raychaudhari, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0
A. Chandrasekharan d. R. Matesanz, 6-3, 7-6(8), 6-2
G. Raychaudhari d. R. Ramirez, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4

Sri Lanka defeats Mexico 3-2!

This did not go according to plan, thanks to Raul Ramirez. I wasn't expecting him to be active for Mexico, as he didn't play in the playoff with Cyprus for some reason. He was actually good enough to be mentioned a bit earlier in the thread; former #11 in singles, currently #18 in doubles and past his prime at 31 years old, but still dangerous as we saw here. Ultimately it came down to the final match, and Raychaudhari was able to beat him and give us the win.

Both of our other two group ties will be on hardcourt also. Romania is up next, and then we'll have India for the last one. We're in a good position, but nothing is certain yet. Romania beat India 3-2, so there's a lot of questions but I think we should be able to come out.
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Old 08-05-2023, 06:54 PM   #1449
Brian Swartz
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Australian Open 106

Luck of the draw was not in Girish Raychaudhari's favor, as he played 6th-ranked Davide de Laurentis in the first round. A respectable 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 scoreline showed he's no longer a pushover for all but the very best players, but also that he's not quite there yet. Aparna Chandrasekharan played a floater similarly-ranked but slightly superior to himself, losing in four sets which was a very reasonable result. Renke Von dem Knesebeck drew a qualifier, smashed him, then won the first set against (11) Jason Abercrombie before losing in four sets. Had he been able to pull the upset there, he likely would have made the fourth round. Knesebeck just got a better draw than our players did here, and it shows that this group of players is getting close ... but not quite there yet.

There were a couple of big third-round exits; (8) Chris King continues to drastically underachieve, and (5) Jochen Weigle suffered his earliest loss in nearly a decade. It looks like the end is perhaps coming for him at long last. Replacing them in the quarterfinals were Americans Rory Buckman and Kelvin Pinder .. Pinder knocked out (10) Mark Want in the fourth round. Buckman is ranked 9th and Pinder was featured in our list of players knocking on the door of the Top 10, so both made a lot of sense.

Then we reverted to form. Pinder lost to Faille in three sets, Buckman did the same to Schleicher. An all-Spanish quarterfinal saw Goya Banqueria bounced, and the only match in the round to go further than the minimum was a four-set all-German one, with de Laurentis losing out to Przalowik as usual. Jan Schleicher won a set in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 defeat to Faille ... he's definitely becoming more of a threat ... while Przalowik was sent out in a competitive three by Ene Caballero. The final was a worthy match; 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. It may have taken a while, but the result was the same as Slam results always are these days: Ben Faille adds another trophy to his case. He's won 6 in a row here, but 5 in a row everywhere else so ... yeah.
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Old 08-05-2023, 06:58 PM   #1450
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup, Level 2, Group 3, Round 2
Sri Lanka vs. Romania

Pretty straight-forward matchup here; we win 4-1 with all five matches decided in three sets. Chandrasekharan lost one early to Sergiu Eliade, 21-yeard old rising Romanian ranked 67th. Surprisingly, Raychaudhari had little trouble with him but we would have won either way.

It definitely feels like Level 2 is the best level for us right now; I think we'd be overmatched at the top tier. We should make it out of group play on tiebreakers at least regardless of what happens against India.
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