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Old 05-11-2016, 06:08 PM   #351
Alf
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Wrong thread
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:54 PM   #352
Brian Swartz
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Lol. I HATE it when I do that. I'll just ... see myself out. Thanks for the heads-up

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Old 05-14-2016, 12:43 AM   #353
Brian Swartz
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Madrid Masters

There were a few early surprises here as the clay season really gets going. Bourdet lost to his countryman Poilblan in the first round, Kinczllers was knocked out in the second, former contender Marcek in the third. Both of Sri Lanka's top players had left very early the previous year. Girish Girsh had the misfortune of meeting Gustavo Caratti in the third round, and after a good first set he yielded meekly, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. Still a round further than he went a year ago and a reversal of the Monte Carlo final a few years ago, but the Argentine is a rising force esp. on the dirt. Tough to get too upset about this.

Benda against T. Herrera was the highlight of the quarterfinals, with the German winning a tough one, 7-5 in the third. Meanwhile Anil Mehul had a disappointing end though also better than last year, losing to Elias Trulsen . Trulsen is a very good player getting better, but typically not much of a force on clay. Mehul took the first but then fell off, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. His serve did nothing today.

The Swede would win just two games against the steamrolling Caratti in the semis, while Benda outlasted Iglar in a classic, going to a third-set tiebreak. He had enough left to claim the title, leaving the new kid on the block with two finals losses in two clay masters so far, 7-6(3), 6-3. Bjorn Benda 's win here is less than three months shy of the record for oldest player to win a Masters. He's nearly 31; Gorritepe of course holds it at 31 years, 5 weeks. Quite the accomplishment.

Ritwik Dudwadkar lost both qualifiying matches in Den Haag, meaning he'd be back out there again the following week. In doubles, he went up against Ritwik Suksma, the guy who was ditched so I could have him. A pair of 6-3 sets later, the trend of Suksma being the better player early on continued.


Rome Masters

A week later, and we do it all over again in one of the most storied and famous cities in the world. Shreya Ujjaval was here this time and did his usual thing; qualify, beat another qualifier in the first round, lose horribly in the second, this time to Alberti. The real stunner was when Antonin Iglar lost in the third round to Agustin Herrera, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. He was a little better but uncharacteristically didn't have it on his break chances(2 of 8) and just couldn't quite get it done. It creates a bit of an opening for Mehul and Benda to close the gap on him a little more, though he still has a substantial lead. It had been five years since the legendary Czech failed to reach the quarterfinals of any major event. It's not something we're used to.

At the same stage, both of my players struggled through matches they shouldn't have. Girsh lost a tiebreak to Radek Smitala before looking in full control the last two sets, while Anil Mehul needed a lot of drama to outlast Perry Mockler 6-1, 2-6, 7-6(5). That match bounced around all over the place and really defied categorizing, then went right down to the wire in the decider. But they both survived, albeit barely, and moved on to the quarterfinals.

Lots of close matches in the next round. A. Herrera backed up his win over Iglar by defeating Gaskell with an almost identical score. Girish Girsh lost a close second set to push his match with Trulsen the distance ... and then served up a bagel. Not often you see a 6-0 third set, especially in a big tournament like this. It's still been a heck of a couple weeks for the Swede, who will be a serious threat at Wimbledon most likely. Benda squeezed through a closer-than-expected encouter with Alberti, and it was Mehul's chance to try and stop Caratti. He couldn't do it, a tough straight-sets loss for his second straight quarterfinal departure.

More good matches in the semis, with Girsh coming through in a third-set breaker to finally end Herrera's run, while Benda again was narrowly better than Caratti. This was all about preparation. The Argentine overplayed going into these events, while the German veteran did not. That's the only difference between the two right now. Playing Benda on clay for the first time in nearly two years, Girsh got the same result he has the other two times it's happened; he lost. It was a heck of a match though, going to 7-5 in the third and just three points separating the two.

Girsh has hung in with but ultimately lost these last couple weeks against the two best clay-courters in the world right now, coming off a win at Monte Carlo. He has every reason to expect to be a long-shot but in the mix at Roland Garros. And for all of that, while he gained in the rankings he's actually further behind Benda who refuses to give up his rule on the clay. He's now won 15 Masters, which is good enough for clear 6th all-time; only the Big 5 have more. A lot more, 5th is Haresign with 23, but his refusal to go away is really moving him up in terms of his historical legacy.

Meanwhile, Prakash Mooljee ended up seeded 5th in a crowded field of players close to the same ranking at tier-2 challenger in Fergana. He had the worst possible quarterfinal draw against veteran Alex Beamer(ZAF, 52nd). Nearly 31, Beamer has never been great with a peak of 38th, but he's also refused to just fade away. This was really a coin-flip going in, and it played out that way. It was one of those that Mooljee just found a way in, 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-6(7). Each set was a war and he could easily have lost, but as he does far more often than not he pulled through. Total points were dead-even at 124 each. In the final, Mooljee won his third final in the last several months over Khasan Zakirov, though this one was closer. They split the first two sets and both were close, but Mooljee pulled away 6-1 in the finale. He even managed to qualify and make the quarterfinals in doubles for a change.

Ritwik Dudwadkar didn't do any better this week, again losing his first match in both singles and doubles.


Coming Up ...

Dudwadkar will be out there again for a third straight week hoping for something to shake loose. The other three get a week off before Roland Garros. The big story there not be them though; it will be Bjorn Benda. If he keeps up his recent success and wins RG, he will be the oldest by nearly a year to win a Slam. Eric Gorritepe was just over 30 years old when he won his last one. Benda's not supposed to still be doing this stuff at his age -- nobody does. But yet here he is. As a result, the top 4 is bunching up. At the start of the year, Iglar was five thousand up on the field basically. He's now less than four ahead of Girsh, and it's possible Mehul could lose his #2 spot to Benda again. By comparison, Girsh is actually a little further ahead of #5 Gaskell, than he is behind #1 Iglar.

Lots of things could happen in France in a couple weeks. It should be an exciting ride, and we can't forget Caratti who has risen from 10th to 7th, and is just a hair behind Marcek so he'll soon probably gain another spot.

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Old 05-16-2016, 05:40 PM   #354
Brian Swartz
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2045 Roland Garros

Opening Rounds

Shreya Ujjaval is becoming an broken record. He lost just two games in an easy first-round match-up, then won only four against Iglar in the second round. It was better than last year though, when he fell in the first. The only early casualties were a couple of low seeds, except for Pavel Bestmianov, as the 21-seed dropped his first match in straight sets to Jens Petersen. That was the story of the first couple of days. The second round saw a couple more seeds fall, but nobody worth mentioning. Afanasy Bereznity had to rally from two sets down, but the 18-seed survived.

Frenchman Theodore Bourdet followed up an unexpectedly tough four-setter in the second round by rallying for a five-set win in his third-rounder ... he's not playing well but following the 'survive and advance' mantra. Federer gave Benda a surprisingly tough match, but the first big upset happened when No. 5 Pierce Gaskell was knocked out by fellow American Philip Carter. The fourth round played mostly to form, a lot of clean performances setting up some nice clashes to begin the second week. Anil Mehul dropped the first set but then rebounded to finish easily in four against Alberti, while Girish Girsh also went four for the first time against the in-form Agustin Herrera. Six of the top eight seeds moved through to the second week and there were no big surprises, though Thiago Herrera had a scare against Kinczllers, being pushed to five but eventually coming through.

Elsewhere ...

Prakash Mooljee did not get off to a good start, losing his first qualifying doubles match at tier-2 Nantes and then getting pushed to three sets by local wild-card Yves Brisson. Brisson is the typical poor-serving grinder, which on clay with the crowd behind you can be tough to counter. Mooljee got through it though, and did not have a competitive match the rest of the way. 2-seed Jonathon Ardant, another Frenchman, figured to be dangerous in the final but he went down hard, 6-1, 6-3. With this victory Mooljee sets a record for me in Challenger titles by a player(11) and also moves into the Top 50 for the first time. Even if he is just scalping tier-2 events during big tournaments -- and there's a lot more of that to come -- he's won four straight and continues to gradually improve.
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Old 05-16-2016, 05:58 PM   #355
Brian Swartz
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2045 Roland Garros -- Second Week

The quarterfinals started off with the marquee matchup of Antonin Iglar against Gustavo Caratti. After splitting the first two sets, the next two were hard-fought but both won by the Argentian. It's Iglar's earliest exit here in the last five years. The draw didn't do him any favors, of course. Benda had the better of it, easily stomping Smitala. And then there was the bottom half, which was basically the Sri Lanka vs. Peru half. Having already dispatched one Herrera in the last round, we faced the better two this time. It could either be two of us or two of them in the semis, or maybe one of each. Mehul dropped the first two sets against Thiago, then came thundering back for a vintage display of championship heart in a 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win. It was the eighth Slam quarterfinal Thiago Herrera has reached ... and he's lost all of them. Just a tough one to be on the losing end of, and he might well look at this as the match that got away above all others when his career is over. Girsh had a couple of tough sets against Marcelo, but made it through in straights.

That left the semifinals to feature the usual suspects except for Caratti. He'd lost the in Madrid and Rome to Bjorn Benda, with the German just two wins away from a 7th title here in 8 years, which would make him the oldest man ever to win a Slam. Those dreams died quickly, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Benda was outplayed after the two close recent wins, but he made it easier by only converting 1 of 9 break chances. The second match wasn't any closer. Girsh had a bad day serving and was dispatched in straight sets, his third loss in as many matches against Mehul.

That meant somebody was going to win their first Roland Garros crown. Anil Mehul was in the final for the second year in a row, with experience as well as preparation on his side. Gustavo Caratti was a little worn out, but his athleticism easily won the day, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. In the end, only Iglar in the quarterfinals took a set off him. The 25-year-old will probably be doing this again; he did lose 2 of 3 to Benda but it still has all the appearance that, after years of speculation, tennis has found it's new king of clay.

It's Caratti's first Slam title, the first for any member of Generation Flash for example which irks Girsh to no end. Caratti moves up to 5th in the rankings: it was just a few weeks ago that he was 10th. If he can put together some decent results the rest of the year, he may close the gap with the top four but right now it's a very distant 5th. Meanwhile, with Benda failing to defend, Girsh moves up to 3rd for the first time, and Iglar's lead at the top is less than 2000 points, just a shadow of what it was to start the year. At the other end of the specrum, Marcek is down to 9th, and he'll be sinking further. A semifinalist last year, he was bounced quite a bit earlier this year.

Coming Up ...

Only Dudwadkar will be active during the break, everybody else is just training and getting ready for Wimbledon. Anil Mehul will be looking to tie Gabriel Alastra's record of four straight titles there. Benda has given him everything he wanted to handle the last couple of years, Iglar is always a bigtime threat, Girsh will have something to say of course, and Elias Trulsen is good enough now, a grass-court specialist with an elite serve and a recent arrival to the Top 10, that he could make some noise also. I can see any of those five coming away with the title but Mehul is playing well enough that he has as good a chance as any.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:57 AM   #356
Brian Swartz
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June

Aarhus, Denmark was the site for Ritwik Dudwadkar's latest adventure. He qualified easily and pushed the top seed to a third set in his first match in the main draw. It appears that he is starting to figure things out a bit. Even in the loss he was on the better side of the double-fault equation. He made it to the final in doubles as well, earning himself a couple more weeks off.

Coming Up

It's Wimbledon time.
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Old 05-19-2016, 01:37 PM   #357
Umbrella
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Location: The Springs, CO
On the week of his 15th birthday, Ritwik Suksma finally notched his first singles title in Kiev against Girish Kansal, in an all Sri Lankan final. The future of Sri Lanka is looking up.
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Old 05-20-2016, 09:20 AM   #358
Brian Swartz
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Well done! Present isn't that bad either. Unfortunately Kansal and his peak endurance of a whole 1.4 is not going to do much in the long term.

2045 Wimbledon

Opening Rounds

Another good draw for Shreya Ujjaval, who blanked a british wild-card, then met up with 29-seed Stefan Baune of Germany. He started off poorly but finished well in a wildly swerving match on the best surface for both players, outlasting Baune for the best win of his career to date, 1-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-1! In a credible showing, he ended his run in the third round for the third time in his Slam portfolio but the first time here, falling to Caratti in four sets.

Meanwhile, Girish Girsh had his first bit of trouble with Jens Petersen in the second round but moved on in four. Smitala became the first top seed to bow out early as he lost in five to Vito Bonamoni. The third round brought a number of epic five-set battles, but Thiago Herrera was the only real upset as the 7-seed was taken out by Davide Poilblan.

The fourth round brought the first real marquee matchup of hopefuls with Antonin Iglar surviving the loss of an epic 30-point second-set tiebreak to knock out Elias Trulsen in four sets. A disappointingly early exit for Trulsen, who could have beaten a lot of players at this stage, but he's still working his way up to get more favorable draws. Girsh moved through having done much better after the second round, and Anil Mehul had his first real fight in a tough four-setter that was close the whole way against Agustin Herrera. The quarterfinal field featured the top six seeds, along with the two young Frenchmen, Poilblan and Bourdet.

Elsewhere ..

Prakash Mooljee was seeded #2 at Marburg(tier 2), where he was looking to defend last year's title. The top seed was worn-out Swede Gerard Benneton, and Mooljee cruised through with no real difficulty at all, crushing Gael Monfils 6-1, 6-2 in the final to maintain his standing.
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:55 AM   #359
Umbrella
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I ended up letting go of Suksma. I found a young Argentine player I think has better potential. Depending on how things go, I may get buyers remorse.
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:28 PM   #360
Brian Swartz
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Interesting. Calmaro is a horse. Between the aging and the not-the-best endurance I don't think he'll last long, but he should be very good up till about age 25. I'd have been very tempted also -- dunno if I would have pulled the trigger, but I totally understand why you did.
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:48 PM   #361
Brian Swartz
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2045 Wimbledon -- Second Week

The potentially unpredictable business end quickly turned ... well, quite predictable as form held. Iglar sent Gaskell to his typical quarterfinal exit in four sets, and neither of the French players could steal a set from Girsh or Mehul though both, especially Poilblan, made things interesting at times. Benda dropped Caratti's best Wimbledon run to date in four sets, and all four top seeds, last year's semifinalists, were back at it again with the same matchups from a year ago.

Anil Mehul actually had his easiest grass match ever against Benda -- he's won all four of the previous ones, but could easily have lost all four, having served particularly well in their encounters and having three of them go the distance. All have been classics. This one was a four-set affair, competetitive but decisive. The early semi featured Iglar against Girish Girsh, and when they met last year Girsh took only seven games. He had more than that by early in thte second set. Unfortunately this match would be even crueler to him than the loss in the WTC Finals last year. After narrowly losing an epic third-set tiebreaker, he lost another and ultimately came about as close to winning as you can without doing so. The scoreline was 2-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(12), 7-6(5), 7-5 with Iglar pulling it out in another stunning comeback. Girsh slightly outplayed him overall, but the match seemed to turn more and more against him after a big first set, and he was only 5 of 19 overall on break chances compared to 4 of 10 for the Czech. A heck of a match, but at the same time a brutal setback.

So for the third time in four years, it was Antonin Iglar and Anil Mehul for the title. After splitting a pair of lopsided sets things got real in the third. Neither player gave much in the way of chances on their serve. Both held with more difficulty at the end of the set, and got midway through the tiebreak before Mehul snagged a minibreak, only to lose it a couple of points later. He put together a couple good points shortly aftewards though, to seize the momentum and move a set from the title. The fourth set went much the same way until Mehul capitalized on the second of two break points in the ninth game. Serving for the championship, he wilted and double-faulted on break point to level the set again. A couple holds later, it was tiebreak time again and the three-time defending champ was on point here to claim victory. 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(2)! Nobody in the history of the sport can best his four straight titles here; only Alastra has equaled it.

The second-half break is now upcoming. Dudwadkar will be out there for a couple of events but the other three won't be seen until at least the Canada Masters in a month's time. Wimbledon changed nothing at the top -- everyone did exactly what they did last year, within the Top 4. Same matchups, same results, maintaining the status quo. Rankings updates and a look at the initial Race standings will be incoming soon.

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Old 05-20-2016, 06:04 PM   #362
Brian Swartz
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Top Ten Rankings Update

1. Antonin Iglar(CZE, 28) -- 12,970

Iglar hasn't won a Slam this year, and his grip on the top spot is weakening again. He's already lost more matches than he did last season, and his athletic advantage is fading a bit. Still the best player in the world, but he doesn't look as invincible as he once did. In the next few weeks, however, he'll pass Haresign for 4th on the list of weeks at #1, which ought to end any debate about which player has the greater legacy between the two.

2. Anil Mehul(SRI, 29) -- 10,870

Having taken two of the first three Slams and reaching the final of RG, you can make a case for Mehul as the top performer so far this year. He's certainly not looking like a guy about to fall off the aging cliff.

3. Girish Girsh(SRI, 26) -- 9,560

Good, but not good enough to knock off Mehul yet.

4. Bjorn Benda(DEU, 31) -- 8,990

One wonders if he has another resurgence in him. Nobody has been this successful at 31 since Gorritepe, but he still seems better than the rest of the pack.

5. Gustavo Caratti(ARG, 25) -- 5,845

Caratti has made the big leap with his championship at RG, and now he faces the question put to all who dominate the clay: can he bring consistent quality results on other surfaces? A credible quarterfinal run at Wimbledon would seem to indicate there's a good chance he can. I expect the gap between Argentina's new standard-bearer and the top four to shrink in the second half of the year.

6. Pierce Gaskell(USA, 29) -- 5,140

15 Slam quarterfinals now. He hasn't won a single one of them. The law of averages would seem to make that all but impossible.

7. Thiago Herrera(PER, 27) -- 3,700

Caratti's emergence makes it even harder for Herrera to maintain his standing.

8. Cestmir Marcek(CZE, 31) -- 3,410

The slide continues. I don't see him on this list by year's end.

9. Radek Smitala(USA, 27) -- 3,340

Had a couple of years in the sun; now he's this year's early-exiter at Wimbledon.

10. Elias Trulsen(SWE, 26) -- 3,010

Moving up steadily, not like Caratti's more meteoric rise, but Trulsen gets my vote as the better player when all is said and done.

There are four players not far off: M. Herrera, Kinczllers, Mockler, and the rising Theodore Bourdet. Looks like shifting sands for the next year or so as players like Smitala, Marcek, and Mockler slide down and we find out who else has the goods to replace them.

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Old 05-21-2016, 01:12 AM   #363
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
** And I did it again. I think I'm posting drunk lately. Except I don't drink :P**

Race Standings
Initial Post-Wimbledon Edition


In

Anil Mehul -- 7,740
Antonin Iglar -- 6,310
Gustavo Caratti -- 5,215

A great start to the year has Mehul in the top spot, while Iglar has a lot of work to do if he is to finish as year-end #1. He'll be the favorite in at least four more big events so there's no desperation here, but he can't afford any more setbacks. Meanwhile Caratti is barely fourth in the Race overall, but as RG champ his first qualification is assured.


Probable

Bjorn Benda -- 5,910
Girish Girsh -- 5,090
Pierce Gaskell -- 3,600

Benda is all but in, and Girsh is a matter of time as well though his biggest concern at this point might well be holding off Caratti to retain the #4 spot. Gaskell is sort of in no-man's land, strongly favored to qualify, and nobody really near him above or below.


Contenders

Marcelo Herrera -- 2,460
Thiago Herrera -- 2,330
-----------------------------
Elias Trulsen -- 2,310
Mugur Kinczllers -- 2,120

The Herreras have the edge right now but with the closeness here it could be an interesting tussle for the last couple of spots. My money right now is that these positions get reversed. That won't make me many fans in Peru, but Trulsen is too good not to make it and Kinczllers is a fine hardcourt player who should have plenty of chances to make some noise in the upcoming US swing. After finishing ninth last year, this is really his best chance -- he's as good as he's going to get and will probably start a slow decline next year.


Long Shots

Perry Mockler -- 1,940
Agustin Herrera -- 1,880
Cestmir Marcek -- 1,760
Theodore Bourdet -- 1,600
Tobia Alberti -- 1,570
Roger Federer -- 1,565
Afanasy Bereznity -- 1,520
John Condon -- 1,490
Xavier Caminha -- 1,440
Radek Smitala -- 1,420
Davide Poilblan -- 1,360

Boy are there ever a lot of them. This is partly due to parity in the 'Second 10' right now, and partly due to the fact that the last couple of qualifying spots have never been this low in points at this part of the year since I started tracking the Race. This is almostly completely a collection of has-beens, wanna-bes, and never-wases at this point. Bourdet has a chance, though he largely bungled it with first-round exits during the clay season, but he's about the only one realistically speaking. The one thing he does have going for him is that he has the potential for a big finish in Paris with his indoor proficiency. By the end of the US Open the men are usually separated from the boys, and that'll mean saying goodbye to the prospects of most of those listed here. Almost all of them are spending their careers spinning their wheels playing twice as many(or more) events as they should, most of them 250s.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:40 AM   #364
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Sri Lanka Rankings Update

Anil Mehul -- 2nd singles. At 29, Mehul may be having his best year. His winning percentage is a hair above what it was two years ago when he finished #1, and this time around he has two Slams which he's never managed before -- but no Masters yet, that year he won five. It all depends on how well he finishes, but as expected Iglar is becoming increasingly inconsistent despite his great year last year, as age takes just a bit quicker of a toll on him that it does on our hero.

Girish Girsh -- 4th to 3rd singles, 606th to 592nd doubles. A new high for Girsh as he slides ahead of Benda. It looks to be his best season yet, but he's 0-5 against the two players ahead of him. He was so close in the Wimbledon semi against Iglar, and it would have been huge for him. He finished well last year, so it would take a really brilliant streak for him to surpass either of the top pair yet this season. It could happen, though.

Prakash Mooljee -- 52nd to 49th singles, 564th to 751st doubles. While the ranking hasn't changed much, Mooljee has been taking the tier-2 challengers with increasing ease. He's won five straight now and is steadily improving; just this week he had some competitive losses against Top-20 foes Bourdet and Federer in practice. It'll be more of the same most of the rest of the year, training and mid-level challengers. The goal for him right now is to be seeded at the Australian Open to start next year, and that will likely depend on how he handles the 'big finish' against other top challenger players at the end of the season after Paris.

Shreya Ujjaval -- 64th singles(unchanged), 157th to 98th doubles. Ujjaval continues to be better than his ranking. He continues to 'play up' in events that he isn't ranked high enough to really succeed in yet, which will delay his breakthrough but I still think he's good enough that it'll eventually come.

Shyam Senepathy -- 240th to 215th. Continuing to make gradual progress, he plays a futures event pretty much every week and has won only a single tournament in the past year. Through sheer talent he's about to graduate to challengers, and I think he'll stall there under the present strategy.

Ritwik Suksma -- 1139th to 618th juniors. I'm starting to develop a complex about the fact that the guy I didn't want is outperforming the guy I jettisoned him for. Hopefully a decent manager picks Suksma up soon now that he's free again.

Ritwik Dudwadkar -- 1227th to 1000th juniors. Finally starting to progress a little.

Manager Ranking -- 2nd(unchanged), 33.6k to 36.3k. Slipped to third briefly again, but Wimbledon gave me some breathing room.


Coming Up ...

Dudwadkar will have probably a couple of events during the break including next week. On the pro tour, it's a month off until Canada, launching us into the frenetic final months.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:00 PM   #365
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
July/August

As it ended up there was only one tournament to report. In late July after Wimbledon was over, Ritwik Dudwadkar headed to Jerusalem for his latest Tier-5 junior event. It was the first one he didn't have to qualify for. He lost in his first doubles match, but in singles he beat a pair of hideously overplayed seeds, then in the toughest match defeated qualifier Marek Soucek(CZE) 6-4, 7-5 to claim his first title. In doing so, Dudwadkar more than doubled his win total for the year in one week, from 3 to 7! He moved up almost 200 spots to the low 800s in the rankings, and earned himself a few weeks off.

Coming Up

The Canada and then Cincinatti Masters await. It's time for what is the busiest part of the year -- five tournament weeks out of six -- for our top players.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:14 PM   #366
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Canada Masters

By now you don't even need me to tell you what Shreya Ujjaval did -- it was predictable in advance. Qualified, won a close first-rounder, lost a one-sided match to Kinczllers in the second round. Lather, rinse, repeat. Girsh and Mehul on the other hand were drawn on the same side of the bracket, so a semifinal matchup loomed if they could both get there. Mehul had the tougher draw, with Girsh basically in the Peruvian quarter -- all four Herreras were there with him, three of them seeded.

The best third-round matchup on paper was Mehul against Elias Trulsen, but he got through easily. Benda and Bourdet was a good one as well, and closer but the German made it through in straight sets. The quarterfinals featured a couple of tight matches and a couple of one-sided ones. Iglar knocked off Caratti easily, while Benda had a lot of work to do against surprising Afanasy Bereznity, who seems to be doing this once or twice a year. Bereznity pushed it to 7-5 in the third, but couldn't come through. Next up was Mehul against Mugur Kinczllers, and after dropping the first set he was fortunate to withstand 19 aces and win 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5. Girsh has a pretty easy one against Thiago Herrera.

Top four once again in the semis. Iglar had a competitive straight-set win over Benda, while Anil Mehul and Girish Girsh went toe-to-toe in the second one. It was evenly played, but the senior player was best in the biggest moments and prevailed 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 6-3, his fourth win in as many encounters this year. Tough defeat for Girsh. With Mehul still rounding into form, it surprised basically nobody that Iglar prevailed in the final to claim his third Masters of the year.

Elsewhere ...

Ritwik Dudwadkar was the #3 seed at Al Minya. That's a new sensation. He lost a very close semi to the top seed, 6-3 in the final set, and reached the same round in doubles. Enough to bump him up another hundred spots to the low 700s.
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:06 AM   #367
Brian Swartz
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Cincinatti Masters

Last year Shreya Ujjaval was worn out and skipped Cincinatti. This year he qualified, and met Perry Mockler in the first round. He played well early to steal the first set, but would win only three more games. Probably should have skipped it this year as well, esp. since now he won't be at his best for the USO. Same song, different verse.

No real first-round upsets, though Kinczllers had to go through a tight third-set tiebreak to escape one of the toughest opening matchups against [b]Pavel Bestemianov(RUS, no. 25). As it turned out, this would be quite important. Garreth McCuskey showed Marcek, having a terrible summer so far, the door abruptly 6-3, 6-0 in round two while pretty much everyone else cruised through. McCuskey pulled off another upset, this one over Bereznity, in the third round but it was a lot tighter -- 7-5 in the third. Meanwhile both Mehul and Girsh dropped the first sets of their matches for the first time but both found their way through, against Mockler and Trulsen respectively. Kinczllers had another tough one, a two-tiebreak affair over Caratti.

The quarterfinals went pretty routinely for the top half, as Iglar and Benda set up another clash. Anil Mehul was next on the docket for Mugur Kinczllers, the latter continuing to escape in a 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 upset. Mehul hasn't lost often this year, but this was one day in which he couldn't quite get it done. Probably deserved to win, but also probably deserved to lose last week at the same juncture against the same opponent. Kinczllers has become one of the better hard-court players out there. Meanwhile Girish Girsh lost a close second-set breaker but otherwhise took care of business against McCuskey, who was in his first big quarterfinal. It'll be interesting to see if the American can back up this performance. There was no real drama in the semis. Iglar over Benda in a competitive two again, and Girsh finally took out Kinczllers in a match controlled by the servers. Four break points each way, Girsh was the only man to convert and then got through a tiebreak as well.

Advancing to the final then, Girsh got his 30th shot against Antonin Iglar in what has been a notably one-sided matchup. He stole the first, then fell behind quickly in the second. In the final set there were only two break chances, and Girish missed both of them. One at 2-all, one at 3-all. The momentum swung to the Czech at that point, but while he was pushed to deuce twice, Girsh held each time. The tiebreak was back-and-forth, but Iglar faltered in the second half of it including an uncharacteristic double-fault at 3-4. Girish took care of his serve at the end, and snagged his second Masters of the year and biggest career victory, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(4)! Huge win, just his third over Iglar and first on hardcourt, breaking a four-match losing streak in their matchup. He has to be considered a legitimate threat at the US Open now ...

Elsewhere ...

Prakash Mooljee was seeded third at tier-2 Samarkand, having considered entering the tier-1 challenger at San Marino but deciding against it after seeing a pretty top-heavy field. It was smooth sailing most of the way, including bludgeoning plummeting top seed Gerard Bennetto. In the final he met 2-seed Khasan Zhakirov for the 5th team, fourth as a professional. Both players are rising together, staying close to 50th in the rankings over the past months. Zhakirov is an elite athlete but not as good from the baseline, and Mooljee had won all three previous professional meetings. This was not his day though, as he lost a competitive straight-sets affair, 6-4, 6-3. His winning streak is broken, and the loss will hurt his late-season efforts.

A week off for everyone(two for Dudwadkar) until the US Open now.
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Old 05-29-2016, 06:31 PM   #368
Brian Swartz
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2045 US Open

Opening Rounds

There was a lot on the line here for a number of players hoping for a good end to the year, and some rather interesting things happened, not all of them expected. Shreya Ujjaval, who made the third round a year ago, had an interesting first-rounder against fellow riser Zhakirov. It went the distance, but Ujjaval pulled through 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. He's now 3-1 in five-set matches for his career, with the loss coming in his first match here. Not sure that really means anything, but an important win for him nonetheless. Last year his run started with a win over Condon -- this year he was up next against the guy who beat him in the first round, Joseph Skirrow. Skirrow is a top challenger player but at 26 years old he appears to be past his peak, which was 29th in the world. They split the first two sets but Ujjaval was in control from there. His fourth visit to the third round of a Slam ended against 11th-seeded Perry Mockler, a straight-sets loss but he was competitive in all three sets. About as good as could be expected really, and a nice showing.

Condon(20th) was one of only two seeded players to lose in the first round, and he's on his way out from the upper echelons of the sport anyway. A couple of lower ones crashed out in the second, but all the top players got through. Poilblan had his hands full in tough four-set match against Andre Herrera, and Mehul met up with a young player making his Slam debut. Hugo Jurco, one of Mooljee's potential rivals and a hardcourt specialist, looked like he might end Mehul's six straight quarterfinals or better here. He led early, and had break chances often in the second set before losing 6-4, 7-5, 7-5. It's very rare to have such a close one this early in the tournament, and Jurco could well become a hardcourt force soon. He's only 21 and a half, but is already a good athlete with a reliable serve.

The Herreras provided the drama in an otherwhise by-the-books third round. Both Agustin and Thiago were stretched to the distance, with the latter needed razor-thin margins in the last two sets to escape with tiebreaks against Roger Federer. The fourth round is usually when things start to get a little more difficult. The still-young Russian Afanasy Bereznity sent T. Herrera packing in another tie-break heavy five-setter, but the real viewing was on the bottom half of the bracket where Bjorn Benda faced off against Elias Trulsen. After losing to Mehul and Girsh in the lead-up Masters, the Swede finally got his breakthrough hardcourt win in a back-and-forth match, 6-4 in the 5th. A big win for him that probably moves him into the next tier now -- he's been stuck in 9th for some months. Tough loss for Benda, a very workmanlike performance and he was objectively the better player, but only managed half of Trulsen's 24 aces and was just 6 of 19 on break points, while the Swede converted half of his chances.


Elsewhere ...

Prakash Mooljee had himself a heck of a week in Como, where he was favored and the defending champion, yet still seeded 2nd. He didn't really have a close match, another competitive at least one against Ardant in the final, but not only won singles but also claimed his first challenger doubles title coming through qualifying. A dozen matches in a single week means he has lots of time off coming.
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:08 PM   #369
ntndeacon
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Location: Alabama
Javier Canolli ended up Runner up in the Junior U.S. Open!
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Old 05-29-2016, 08:49 PM   #370
Brian Swartz
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If you're not first, you're last!! Erm, I mean, well done. Janin has been ridiculous the last couple years in juniors, so coming in second is definitely good.
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Old 05-29-2016, 09:41 PM   #371
Brian Swartz
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US Open, Second Week

Overall the quarterfinals were pretty much a dud of a round, going only one set past the minimum. Straight-set matches for Iglar over Caratti, Girsh over Bereznity, and Trulsen over Marcek to reach his first-ever Slam semi. Then there was the 'rubber match' between Anil Mehul and Mugur Kinczllers, who have the misfortune of meeting at this round for the third straight tournament. The previous two in Canada and Cincinatti were very tight and split. The first set was more of that, a long tiebreak eventually won by Mehul. He would drop one set, but prevail 7-6(9), 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to complete the final foursome. Another tough loss for Kinczllers who was right in this one, but it was another case of not getting it done in winning time. The Italian was 3 of 12 on break points, Mehul a very opportunistic 4 of 6, and combined with squeaking out that first set it was just enough.

In the first semifinal, Iglar got up 4-1 on the first set against Girish Girsh -- but uncharacteristically choked, dropping the last four games from serving for the set at 5-3. Girsh broke in the last game of the second to take that as well ... and then proceeded to do a repeat of last year's WTC Final. Faced with his best chance yet to win a slam, he lost a two-set lead to Iglar for the second time in less than a year, 5-7, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. It would really be nice if he'd lose the 'choke' trait. Mehul took his chances once again in the second semifinal, and while Trulsen put up more of a fight that he has in their more recent encouters, Anil advanced in four sets there. The Madrid loss earlier this year remains his only blemish in seven meetings.

Antonin Iglar was then given the chance to avenge Mehul's upset win in Australia. They've met in only one other final here, Iglar taking it in four sets a couple of years ago. The Czech was just a bit on the tired side by the time the final rolled around. It was still a surprise though to see him go down two sets early. As he had against Girsh he took the third, but couldn't come up with the goods in a fourth-set breaker and Mehul stunningly took his third Slam of the year, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3)! Iglar's serve(only 8 aces, 4 DF) deserted him, and Mehul was at his best on break points as he has been all fortnight. He converted 3 of 5, while saving 10 of 12 against him. For most of the match Anil was outplayed, but he found his way through.

In winning here, Anil Mehul has once again wrested the #1 ranking away from Iglar by a narrow margin. Last time that happened he won five Masters in a year. This time he did it on the biggest stage, winning three Slams and reaching the final of all four. Incredibly, only his RG final loss to Caratti kept him from a clean sweep. I'll look at the Race in a bit but it certainly looks like he'll stay on top for the end of the year.


Elsewhere ...

Ritwik Dudwadkar exited in the first round of doubles at his lastest event in Netanya. He was an unseeded winner in singles though, his second win in his last three events. It would seem the rough start to his juniors career is behind him.


Coming Up ...

WTC Quarterfinals against France, which should be a comfortable win for Sri Lanka.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:07 PM   #372
Brian Swartz
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Top Ten Rankings Update

1. Anil Mehul(SRI, 29) -- 12,150

A remarkable, amazing, unexpected year for Mehul. He's back at the top, albeit narrowly, and this time he might stay there for a little while. One thing's for sure, he's injected some unforseen drama into this year.

2. Antonin Iglar(CZE, 28) -- 11,770

It's been quite the fall on the other hand for Iglar, who is Slamless in 2045 after putting up one of the best seasons in history last year. It's been a bigger tumble than a couple of years ago, and it's not at all certain he can get back up this time.

3. Girish Girsh(SRI, 26) -- 9,480

An interesting last couple of tournaments for Girsh as he had the huge win over Iglar in Cincinatti, then the collapse at the USO. Just when you think he's made it, he crumbles again.

4. Bjorn Benda(DEU, 31) -- 9,170

Benda's lost in the first week of back-to-back US Opens now, but he showed during the rest of the year that he's still got plenty of game to remain relevant.

5. Gustavo Caratti(ARG, 26) -- 6,325

A gradual ascent continues, as Caratti distances himself from the second five and narrows the gap with the top four.

6. Pierce Gaskell(USA, 29) -- 4,700

And the opposite here as Gaskell slowly slides.

7. Elias Trulsen(SWE, 26) -- 3,640

Trulsen is finally becoming a hot commodity. The USO semifinal run and particularly the win over Benda was a big breakthrough for him. He should have a big year or two coming up.

8. Thiago Herrera(PER, 28) -- 3,610

Ever so slowly, Peru's brightest star is beginning to fade.

9. Mugur Kinczllers(ITA, 26) -- 3,030

A strong last month has Kinczllers back up to his career-best position.

10. Cestmir Marcek(CZE, 31) -- 3,025

Just about done.


Theodore Bourdet was in the last spot here for a while but fell back when he couldn't replicate last year's USO run. He'll probably be back eventually though. Right now Mockler and M. Herrera, both veterans, are the only ones really close. Others are pushing upwards though and it's only a matter of time.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:25 PM   #373
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Race Standings
Post-USO Edition

In

Anil Mehul -- 10,340
Antonin Iglar -- 9,110
Bjorn Benda -- 7,310
Girish Girsh -- 7,170
Gustavo Caratti -- 6,145

Iglar can still take the year-end #1, but he would need to sweep everything to guarantee that. He's capable of doing that, but would need to return to his best tennis. His 'B' game is not good enough to dominate anymore. It looks like Benda and Girsh will go right down to the wire for third, while Caratti will look to position himself as a competitive fifth and move further up next year.


Probable

Pierce Gaskell -- 4,170

Gaskell's mastery of the 500 and 250-level events elevate him above the also-rans, while his inability to break through in the big ones distances him from the best.


Contenders

Elias Trulsen -- 3,210
Mugur Kinczllers -- 3,110
--------------------------
Thiago Herrera -- 3,050
Marcelo Herrera -- 2,880

As expected the script has flipped here, and I expect Trulsen and Kinczllers will remain the last two in when the final field is decided.


Long Shots

Afanasy Bereznity -- 2,450
Perry Mockler -- 2,255
Cestmir Marcek -- 2,185
Agustin Herrera -- 2,150

None of these has a real shot anymore. Bereznity has been very good lately but there's too much ground to make up. Perhaps next year.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:38 PM   #374
Brian Swartz
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Sri Lanka Rankings Update

Anil Mehul -- 2nd to 1st singles. An incredible year, and with a good finish he can remain on top. Objectively by ratings, he's only the world's third-best player, but Mehul finds a way to win more often than most, and it's been enough a remarkable amount of the time.

Girish Girsh -- 3rd singles(unchanged), 592nd to unranked doubles. With Cincinatti a very noteworthy exception, Girsh still isn't winning the big matches as much as he should.

Prakash Mooljee -- 49th to 50th singles, 751st to 453rd doubles. Mooljee's doubles ranking is finally on the rise, and we could potentially see him in the WTC for Sri Lanka by the end of the year. He's improved his serve a bit in recent months in accordance with the new calculations, but the lone loss in recent tournaments to Zakirov stung a bit. He could make his goal of being seeded for next year's AO, or not -- much of that will depend on his big finish that starts in a little over a month. For now, it's practice and training.

Shreya Ujjaval -- 64th to 56th singles, 98th to 99th doubles. Treading water more or less. Perhaps next year he'll be able to move up again.

Shyam Senepathy -- 215th to 204th singles. Looks like he has stalled. Senepathy hilariously tried to qualify for a couple of Masters and the USO, losing his first qualifying match each time.

Ritwik Dudwadkar -- 1000th to 548th juniors. He's been on a relative tear, and now has won more matches than he lost after the brutal start. Still needs to progress a little more to move up to tier-4 events though.

Ritwik Suksma -- 618th to 590th juniors. Suksma is not doing as well. Nobody has picked him up, and he's been playing tier-4 events and clearly not ready for them yet.

Manager Ranking -- 2nd(unchanged), 36.3k to 38.9k points. Starting to pull away from hayato now.
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Old 05-31-2016, 12:14 PM   #375
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup Quarterfinals
Sri Lanka(4th) vs. France(7th), Grass

Monday: A. Mehul d. D. Poilblan, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3
Tuesday: G. Girsh d. T. Bourdet, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
Wednesday: R. Iraugui/T. Rey d. S. Ujjaval/R. Kuttikad, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1
Thursday: A. Mehul d. T. Bourdet, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Friday: G. Girsh d. D. Poilblan, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Sri Lanka defeats France, 4-1!!

We stay at 4th in the world rankings, having moved up past Germany prior to this due to them losing some in juniors competition. This went pretty much as expected, we just needed Mehul and Girsh to take care of business and they did that. Our next opponent is a surprise though. Sweden was favored to handle Peru on grass, and they should have. Leading 2-1, Trulsen just needed to beat Thiago Herrera and it would have been over -- but he lost in a stunning 7-6(8), 7-6(6), 7-5 upset, and Peru took the tie 3-2! It'll be a grass matchup again so we should be able to handle them, I figure it to be similar results to what we had here.

On the other side, the Czech Republic beat Spain, and the United States finished off Germany, both by 4-1 margins. That matchup could go either way, and will come down to doubles and the Marcek-Mockler encounter on hardcourt. Most likely though, it will be us against the Czechs again in the final.

First though we need to take care of business against Peru in a couple of weeks.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:41 PM   #376
Umbrella
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: The Springs, CO
Bummer about Suksma. I think he could be a good player if someone got him.

In other world 1 news, Jakob Heinen won his first JG4 tournament, and made the semis in doubles. His endurance is starting to get high enough that he can make deep runs in JG4 without dying.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:16 PM   #377
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup Semifinals
Peru(7th) vs. Sri Lanka(4th), Grass

Monday: G. Girsh d. T. Herrera, 6-4, 7-6(5), 7-6(11)
Tuesday: A. Mehul d. M. Herrera, 7-5, 7-6(2), 6-3
Wednesday: S. Ujjaval/R. Kuttikad d. J. Torres/E. Echiveri, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-5
Thursday: A. Mehul d. T. Herrera, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
Friday: G. Girsh d. M. Herrera, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4

Sri Lanka defeats Peru, 5-0!!

I definitely expected to win, but getting the rare doubles victory and a clean sweep was a surprise. Thiago Herrera showed why he was able to beat Trulsen last week, clearly playing at the top of his game, opportunistic on break points and serving very well. Ultimately though our players were just too strong, and we brushed them aside to advance to the final. The US-Czech matchup came down to not just the final rubber but in fact the final set. Cestmir Marcek and Perry Mockler went the distance with Mockler delivering the narrow 3-2 victory for the Americans, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2. The two-time defending champions, winners three of the past four years, are out in the semfinals. Iglar is still incredible but both Marcek and their doubles players are a shadow of what they once were.

We stay at 4th but are within striking distance of both Argentina and the Czech Republic. The final against the USA will be on hardcourt, and for the first time we are favored to win it after failing at the last hurdle twice. World no. 3 doubles player Chad Dring basically assures them a point there, but it's hard to see them winning more than one rubber if that in singles. Gaskell might pull it off on a good day, but Mockler should be a pretty easy mark for our top guys. The Americans are a much better matchup for us, so I think we got a stroke of luck here. It should be a foregone conclusion, but nothing's certain until you win the match between the lines.

Elsewhere ...

With the rare chance to play a tournament in front of a home crowd, Ritwik Dudwadkar was the #2 seed at tier-5 Colombo and won both singles and doubles with relative ease. He's now won three out of his last four events, and is close to being ready to jump up in competition. Probably two more at this level and he was still pretty tired at the end of this one. He'll get four weeks now, which is a longer break than he's had since basically ever.

Coming Up ...

A practice week, and then it's on to Shanghai. The top ranking is in play there -- Mehul was the runner-up last year and he'll need to at least make the semifinals to stay on top, in addition to the usual importance of any Masters.
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:58 PM   #378
Brian Swartz
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Shanghai Masters

Our friendly neighborhood down-on-his-luck player Shreya Ujjaval once again repeated last year's results. He qualified, then lost to Andre Herrera in three sets, the first of which was a tight tiebreak that probably could have won him the match. It wasn't a great first round for the Herreras overall though. Agustin lost to Davide Poilblan in one of the best first-round matchups, and Marcelo barely escaped against a qualifier. Bereznity was pushed to 7-5 in the third by Caminha, while Mockler needed a pair of tiebreaks to get by Farkas, but no other seeds fell at the first hurdle.

Thiago Herrera barely escaped Bourdet 7-5 in the third in the next round, Marcek was pushed to a pair of tough sets, M. Herrera again barely survived a qualifier, and Bereznity didn't learn from his trials and was unceremoniously dumped by John Condon of all people. The third round was straight-forward except for one of the biggest surprises of the tournament. Anil Mehul quite clearly outplayed Peter Sampras, but the American saved 12 of 16 break points and stole a tiebreak and nearly the match. 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 was the final, with Mehul almost getting his week spoiled very early.

Mehul(T. Herrera) and Girsh(Gaskell) handled their opponents in competitive straight-sets wins. The other two quarterfinals were a lot more complicated. Perry Mockler has found a fountain of youth or something, knocking off Benda 7-6(5), 6-2! It's his second Masters semi of the year, but most of the time he's been dismissed early. Iglar needed three sets to dismiss Caratti, who continues to plug away. In the semis Mehul took care of Mockler despite another tough day on the break chances(2 of 9). Hopefully he snaps out of that. In the other one, Iglar put Girish Girsh down a set, but Girsh was relentless on return and came back for a big 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win! It doesn't erase the USO loss, but it sure is nice. Two out of the last three he's taken, and should have had the middle one. A trend perhaps?

In the all-Sri Lanka final, the first of it's kind in a tournament of this value, Girsh was the better player by a hair -- and lost for the fifth straight time this year. 7-6(6), 6-4. Mehul won both break points he had, and Girsh failed on 6 of 7. Unfortunately for the junior player, this is not just a trend but a clear, repetitive pattern. Anil Mehul has all but locked up the year-end #1 now, taking his 8th Masters Shield and first of 2045.


Elsewhere ...

Prakash Mooljee was at his third tier-1 challenger and first in several months, in Rennes. As the third seed, he was still the clear favorite. It came down to a semifinal against Gael Monfils. The crowd and a bit of an off day for Mooljee were enough to make this match very hazardous. 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 was the final, a comeback win for my guy, and he smashed everyone else to claim is 14th challenger title and first at the tier-1 level. Last year at this time he was suffering the ignominy of a first-round exit at Tiburon, so this is a much better way to spend the week. A quarterfinal in doubles isn't bad either. Mooljee rockets up to 37th in the world now, a new high. He's 135 points back of 32nd place, his goal by the Australian Open. That's still looking a bit unlikely but this was a good step.


Coming Up ...

Jury's still out on whether Mehul and Girsh will defend their Valencia/Swiss titles in a couple weeks. Either way the Paris Masters is next, setting the final field for the Tour Finals which will be held in the Ukraine.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:21 AM   #379
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-Shanghai Edition

Last year it was basically over by this point. Do we have any more drama this year?

In -- cut is at 4550 right now

Anil Mehul -- 11340
Antonin Iglar -- 9470
Girish Girsh -- 7770
Bjorn Benda -- 7630
Gustavo Caratti -- 6275

It appears that the only drama left is for the #3 spot ... and unless Benda can repeat his improbable Paris title from last year, not even that.


Probable

Pierce Gaskell -- 4440
Elias Trulsen -- 3550

Gaskell is probably upwards of 99% chance right now, and will almost certainly be official before Paris. The last two spots likely go down to the final week.


Contenders

Mugur Kinczllers -- 3460
------------------------
Thiago Herrera -- 3230

It really boils down to a three-man race for two spots. There's no good reason to think Thiago Herrera is likely to get back in, but all he would need is one good tournament. It's far too close for Trulsen and Kinczllers to rest on their laurels or relax at all.


Long Shots

Marcelo Herrera -- 3030
Perry Mockler -- 2715
Afanasy Bereznity -- 2675
Cestmir Marcek -- 2555

Marcelo Herrera is fading and none of the others here really have a chance anymore. Bereznity's early loss in Shanghai doomed him, otherwhise he might still have an outside chance.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:41 PM   #380
Brian Swartz
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October

Ends up there was one tournament to talk about, with Girish Girsh heading back to the Valencia Open(500, Indoors), which he won last year. Anil Mehul took the week off. It was really a tough call both ways, right on the line as to whether both players should enter. Girsh, the top seed and prohibitive favorite to repeat, cruised except for a semi-final clash with Mugur Kinczllers. That he barely survived, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, before flattening surprise finalist Xavier Caminha, who'd knocked off Trulsen to get there. Girsh dropped just two games in the anticlimactic title match.

And so it's on to Paris. All four of my players are in action next week -- it's always an important one as the last event for most of the world's best, those who aren't headed to the Tour Finals.
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Old 06-06-2016, 06:18 PM   #381
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Paris Masters

I didn't have time to take a close look at the Race standings coming into Paris, but as it was it would have been moot. Thiago Herrera went awol, not even entering practice tournaments going in. That made him fall even further behind, and then he lost in the third round to a qualifier -- the fourth-ranked Peruvian, Andre Herrera who impressively made the quarterfinals. So that was pretty much that, just a matter of how the final standings shook out, but the eight-man field with Kinczllers and Trulsen in was assured. Shreya Ujjaval, who lost in the first round last year, qualified and made it one further before meeting Kinczllers.

Other than that, everything pretty much went as expected early on. Mehul had a bit of trouble with Kinczllers and Benda was pushed a bit by Herrera but the top four seeds all went through in straight sets to the semifinals. Mehul topped Benda fairly routinely, and in a much closer match Girsh beat Antonin Iglar for the second straight time, 6-4, 7-6(4). That set up a second all-Sri Lanka final in less than a month. All signs pointed to the fresher Anil Mehul, who didn't play the previous week, taking this one again. But for the first time this year, Girish Girsh got the upper hand and his 3rd Masters Shield, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. He was the more persistent returner in an otherwhise close match, and snapped a five-match losing streak.

Elsewhere ...

The others were in action too as I mentioned. Prakash Mooljee was the top seed at tier-2 challenger Medellin, where the biggest concern was third-seeded Spaniard Simon Davila. They met in the final but it was a pretty routine 6-1, 6-4 success for Mooljee who also won in doubles. The latter victory will have impact beyond this week -- he will now replace Kuttikad as Ujjaval's partner in the WTC Final. Quite a place to make your first appearance ...

Ritwik Dudwadkar nearly pulled off the twin killing in Benin City as well, but lost a final already worn out from previous matches, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Despite that it was another fine week, and he gets the next one completely off.

Coming Up ...

Nothing for a couple weeks, then the World Tour Finals are upon us. Mooljee will also play in the final challenger of the year that week.
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Old 06-06-2016, 06:38 PM   #382
Brian Swartz
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Final 2045 Race Standings

Anil Mehul -- 11690
Antonin Iglar -- 10080
Girish Girsh -- 9120
Bjorn Benda -- 8170
Gustavo Caratti -- 6685
Pierce Gaskell -- 4470
Elias Trulsen -- 3910
Mugur Kinczllers -- 3670

Mehul has now clinched the year-end #1, no matter what happens at the Tour Finals. There are three newcomers this year, all from Girsh's 'Generation Flash': Caratti, Trulsen, and Kinczllers. Between that and Iglar's evident decline, or slump at the very least, it appears that it's finally time to turn the page again.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:02 PM   #383
Umbrella
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Ah, an old friend


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Old 06-07-2016, 08:20 PM   #384
Brian Swartz
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Haha, that's interesting.
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:35 PM   #385
Umbrella
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Jakob Heinen just won both singles and doubles in Guangzhou (JG4) this week, losing a grand total of 5 games for the tournament in singles. This should move him into #1 for Germany, and the top 10 worldwide, for U16. He'll likely get his first experience in Junior Team Cup play in a few weeks.

Last edited by Umbrella : 06-10-2016 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:31 PM   #386
Brian Swartz
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World Tour Finals

The first group this year consisted of Iglar, Benda, Gaskell, and Kinczllers, while the second was Mehul, Girsh, Caratti, and Trulsen. That's as tough a draw as we could get actually, an unfortunate development. Anil Mehul lost a tiebreak to Trulsen but still won fairly comfortably in three, while Girish Girsh easily beat Caratti in their opening matches. Next they faced off against each other, with Girsh taking it 6-3, 6-4. That meant Mehul and Caratti on day three would determine a quarterfinal spot. Mehul started off well with an opening-set bagel, but the Argentine wasn't going to go quietly. He took a tiebreak in the second set, and the final set was close until the end when Anil pulled through 7-5. A narrow escape, but he advanced.

Iglar went through unbeaten in the first group, while everyone else won a match against each other. This meant that for the third straight year, the unlikely Pierce Gaskell advanced out of the group with the second spot due to a slightly better count in sets won during the round-robin phase. His run would end in the semifinals as Girsh permitted him just four games. The second semi was much more competitive, with Mehul able to get past Antonin Iglar, 6-2, 7-6(4) without facing a single break point. The Czech is no longer feared at this point, seemingly a shadow of his formal self.

For the third straight tournament, Mehul and Girsh faced off in an all-Sri Lanka final. Girsh would nearly pull even with Iglar if he won, but this time the fresher Mehul got the better of him, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. It's his third Tour Finals crown, good enough for a 4th-place tie on the all-time list.

Elsewhere ...

Prakash Mooljee was seeded #2 at Helsinki, his first CH+ event to end the year. He had an easy time of it until the final against 7th-seeded Swede Manfred Borrman. Borrman, a former Top-20 player peaking at 16th, is much lower down than that now at age 31, but he used his experience well. It was an off day serving for Mooljee and he narrowly lost in a tense match the last coupole sets, a match he probably should have won, 6-1, 6-7(4), 7-6(5). Could have gone either way in that final tiebreak. A tough loss. Though just his 5th of the year, it's another setback in his attempt to move up the rankings. Mooljee did not play doubles this week.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:39 PM   #387
Brian Swartz
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World Team Cup Finals
United States(1st) vs. Sri Lanka(4th), Hardcourt

And here we go. Is it finally time for the us to claim our long-awaited title? Let's find out.

Monday: A. Mehul d. P. Mockler, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-2, 6-4
Tuesday: G. Girsh d. P. Gaskell, 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Wednesday: C. Dring/J. Loudermilk d. S. Ujjaval/P. Mooljee, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0
Thursday: A. Mehul d. P. Gaskell, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-1
Friday: G. Girsh d. P. Mockler, 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3

Sri Lanka defeats the United States, 4-1!!

We did it! Finally Sri Lanka can claim the title of World Champions!! The Americans served well all week and the first two singles matches were more tense than expected, but they were overmatched except in doubles. After losing twice in the finals we have finally made it .

This moves us up to 2nd in the world rankings from 4th, with only the US still ahead of us. We should be able to catch them next year. The way things are going right now, I expected us to be favored to defend this championship.

Elsewhere ...

Ritwik Dudwadkar played in what I expect to be his last tier-5 event, another home one in Colombo. He had a tough practice week leading up to it, and while he won in doubles fatigue again caught up to him in losing the singles final. He might have lost anyway, as top-seeded American Vinnie Cone is a more developed player and blasted him 6-2, 6-2.

Up Next ...

The end of the year wrap-ups, including the WTC playoffs, final rankings, projections for next year with the new rating formula, all of that fun stuff.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:58 PM   #388
digamma
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Congrats to Sri Lanka!
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:31 AM   #389
Brian Swartz
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WTC Playoffs

Unfortunately I didn't get to covering this at the time, so the rankings here are after the ties, not going into them as I prefer.

** Denmark(20th) vs. Austria(15th) -- Denmark has been tempting fate a lot. They've been at the top level for six years now, but this is their fourth straight in a relegation playoff. Austria has been up for the same length of time, but is usually not in this situation. The sporadic involvement of Hammerstein is the main variable here -- when he's been involved and Frankl was younger, they made it to the quarterfinals and even the semifinals once a few years ago. Two wins by Hammerstein and a doubles victory gives the Austrians a 3-2 win, and between two nations with extended stays Denmark is sent down. They have a pair of marginal Top 100 players so right now they're really a borderline country that could pop right back up.

** Japan(27th) vs. Mexico(14th) -- Japan is a nation on the rise, having just moved up from Level 3 to Level 2 a year ago, and looking for back-to-back promotions here. Mexico has been one of the weaker Level 1 nations but has been at that level for well over a decade. The best player for either nation by far is Japan's Akhiro Sugiyama(44th), but he stunningly lost his first match and Mexico prevailed 4-1. While Sugiyama is only 21, the other Japanese player is 34-year-old veteran Shogo Ko, so it's unclear how fast or far they will rise. I expect them to be back in this situation seeking promotion though multiple tims during Sugiyama's career. Mexico hangs on to its top billing but the nation's weakness right now is highlighted by it's lack of a Top 100 singles player. This may have been a temporary stay for them.

**The Netherlands(21st) vs. Croatia(17th) -- The Netherlands is one of those 'not quite good enough' nations. They were relegated to Level 2 seven years ago, and this is their second shot at promotion in three years. Croatia meanwhile promoted last year as Level 2 champions but did not win more than a single rubber in any of their Level 1 ties. They were more than equal to the task here, scoring a 4-1 victory with the only loss in doubles. A pair of good young players in Blagota Cojanovic(53rd) and Sava Cirakovic(38th), both still years away from reaching their primes and on the rise, ensure a bright future for the Croatians. I expect them to be a more competitive foe in the top tier over the next several seasons.

** South Africa(10th) vs. Luxembourg(11th)[/b] -- The Level 2 Champions this year, South Africa beat Luxembourg 3-2 in the final and now they get a rematch to see who moves up. They haven't had a promotion shot in several years(lost 4-1 to Austria) and a decade ago they were a Level 3 country. Since winning Level 3 six years ago, Luxembourg has been in the promotion playoffs every single year since. With one exception, they have all been 3-2 narrow defeats. And they hit the wall here again with a repeat 3-2 setback against South Africa. An 8-6 decision in the fifth set of the doubles match, as South Africa came from two sets down to win it, was the decider. Hard to get closer than that. Unfortunately Luxembourg has no margin for error with only one decent singles player.

South Africa moves up, replacing Denmark, while everyone else stays where they are.

WTC Standings

1. United States -- 2477
2. Sri Lanka -- 2334
3. Argentina -- 2317
4. Czech Republic -- 2287
5. Russia -- 2102
6. Germany -- 2096
7. France -- 2048
8. Peru -- 2038
9. Spain -- 1997
10. South Africa -- 1946

It's jarring to see Spain so low, and to a lesser extent the Czechs are crumbling as well. We're narrowly in second place, but our focus is not on those behind us but on surpassing the United States for the top spot. It is feasible that this year we could reach the pinnacle, completing the journey began many years ago when we were at the very bottom of the heap in 86th.

2046 Preview

Sri Lanka has been drawn in Group 3, where we'll face Germany(6th), Peru(8th), and Austria(15th). Not a 'safe' group, as both of the first two are threats on clay. We should be able to get through though. We'll play Austria first, then Peru(on clay), and finally Germany(but on grass). I don't expect an easy journey, it is a bit tougher group than average, but still no reason we shouldn't win it. It wouldn't surprise me to see Peru qualify over Germany here.

Elsewhere, the US(1st) and Russia(5th) should be able to handle business in Group 1. Argentina(3rd) looks to have an easy road through Group 2 but depending on how things go either Sweden(14th) or Italy(16th) could join them. In the final group, the Czech Republic(4th) and France(7th) should be able to stop upstart Croatia(17th) from making much headway this year.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-14-2016 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:48 AM   #390
Brian Swartz
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Final 2045 Top Ten Rankings

1. Anil Mehul(SRI, 29) -- 13,040

A remarkable and unexpected year leaves Mehul comfortably in the top spot at the conclusion.

2. Antonin Iglar(CZE, 28) -- 10,580

If you told me 12 months ago Iglar wouldn't win a Slam this year and would be in serious danger of dropping to third in the world, I would have said you needed a straight-jacket. Frankly he looked uninspired in '45, almost bored in fact. Iglar lost double-digit matches(81-11 is no slouch, of course) for the first time in six seasons. The question for next year is this: does he have any fire left, or he is ok with his place in history and willing to simply fade away?

3. Girish Girsh(SRI, 26) -- 10,170

Girsh was disappointing though it was his best year yet. Only one more year before aging begins to erode him from his peak.

4. Bjorn Benda(DEU, 31) -- 8,200

It's taken a lot longer than I thought, seems several years now that I've been speculating on how long it would be, but Benda's reign on clay does finally appear to be over. Even Gorritepe wasn't all that much better at this age -- Benda's determination to remain relevant into his 30s is very impressive.

5. Gustavo Caratti(ARG, 26) -- 6,885

Argentina's new hero has been gradually moving up since his French Open tour de force, and I expect him to emphatically unseat Benda and move up to fourth this year.

6. Pierce Gaskell(USA, 29) -- 4,670

As long as he's good enough to pile up points in the smaller events(500/250s), Gaskell will stay marginally relevant. Unfortunately his legacy will be his amazing Slam record: 0-15 in quarterfinals. Four straight at the AO, the same at Wimbledon where it's also five of six. Four straight semifinals(all losses) at the WTF. The mere law of averages would seem to make such a thing almost impossible. Gaskell's been good at times, but he could have been oh so much better.

7. Elias Trulsen(SWE, 26) -- 3,910

8. Mugur Kinczllers(ITA, 26) -- 3,870

Both Trulsen and Kinczllers are slowly but surely moving up ... but both have also basically peaked. They'll still surpass Gaskell and eventually Benda, but I don't think they have any real chance of challenging for the top.

9. Thiago Herrera(PER, 28) -- 3,320

Just starting his decline now. For a couple of years, Thiago was the second or third best on clay that the tour could boast. Now that this is no longer the case, his calling card has expired.

10. Perry Mockler(USA, 29) -- 3,145

Mockler had an interesting resurgence over the last few months. It'll be short-lived, but it was still a feel-good story after it looked like he was totally done a year ago.


Six of the Top 10 are 28 or older. Meanwhile, five of the next eight players are in the 23-25 range. The next year or two is likely to see a switch there but there are no obviously outstanding players in that group.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-14-2016 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:21 PM   #391
Brian Swartz
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Sri Lanka Rankings Update

Anil Mehul -- 2nd to 1st singles. Mehul was borderline dominant at the age of 29, winning 3 Slams and the WTF, along with a lone masters at Shanghai. He also had five runner-up finishes in the big events for a 76-9 record, the best of his career. Two years ago, when he was also #1, he had the same number of defeats with three fewer victories. With a sizable lead over Iglar and Girsh, he'll simply seek to stay on top as long as possible and repeat as much of this success as possible.

Girish Girsh -- 4th to 3rd singles, 612th to unranked doubles. More wins(78, previous high of 74) and fewer losses(12, at least 17 in all other years at the elite level) make this by far Girsh's best season. It's still hard to overlook a 2-6 record against Mehul. Had he even won a bare majority, he would have been close to the #1 spot, at least second. Not hard to figure his marching orders this year.

Prakash Mooljee -- 72nd to 44th singles, 617th to 304th doubles. Ironically, given that he finally started to have doubles success towards the end of the year including his debut at the WTC Finals, Mooljee will be playing less doubles this year. Another stellar challenger year with 8 titles and 2 finals for a 53-5 record, the most wins he's had and just above his four losses from last year. Mooljee's ranking is just below where Girsh was at this point(40th). It's time for him to take the next step. In practice tournaments he's been playing at a level of roughly 20th in the world, which is where I'd estimate his playing strength having not looked at the ratings extensively yet. He needs to get into the elite Top-32 group now, so he'll be focusing more on singles and a slightly more aggressive schedule to get there. Usually this isn't necessary, but right now there's a lot of active players in this range. Last year his two worst results were in his first two challengers(both QF losses). Improving on those is the first step, and playing a 250 or two might be necessary. The goal of being seeded at the Australian Open isn't going to happen but it should shortly afterwards. Indian Wells is the current target and a very achievable one.

Shreya Ujjaval -- 52nd to 57th singles, 125th to 157th doubles. Don't tell Ujjaval's ranking this, it didn't get the message, but he has continued to improve. Ujjaval didn't play a single challenger, a scheduling error that delays his ascension but he's too good to be kept down permanently. I'd expect somewhat better results this year, and hopefully he can have a big event or two to break through.

Shyam Senepathy -- 166th singles. Despite a ridiclous 47(!!!) events and no doubles, Senepathy did graduate futures this year and moves into the challenger ranks. Most often he crashed out early but there was the Orleans CH+ where he reached the final. He also played most of the Slams and Masters, usually losing in the first qualifying opportunity. He's still on an upward path and is still only 21.

Ritwik Dudwadkar -- unranked to 209th juniors. Dudwadkar has now established himself and will move to Tier-4 events. He might be able to get away with Tier-3s but it's much safer to play at least a few 4s and let the always volatile early-season junior rankings stabilize some. In terms of training, he's got a basic level of ability in both skill and service and will soon start gradually emphasizing all-court play(skill) slightly more and more to an increasing degree. I think it was seven straight singles losses to start his career early in the year but he finished at 23-13 so it was a good close to the season. Dudwadkar is now Sri Lanka's #1 active juniors player.

Manager Ranking -- 2nd(unchanged), 30.6k points to 39.9k. A sizable lead now on third place, although the gap to oprice in first is still massive it has closed significantly to less than 19k. In a few years, who knows.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:40 PM   #392
Brian Swartz
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2046 Preview

These ratings are using the new formula as discussed in the tips and tactics thread. As such, I can't compare year-to-year improvement as I used the old formula at that time.

1. Anil Mehul(85%, 8.62) -- The third-best player in the world on paper, having the kind of 2045 Mehul had was a display of determination and competitiveness. His career has now wildly surpassed my expectations if he doesn't win another match, but I think he's got a few victories left in him yet .

2. Antonin Iglar(85%, 8.73) -- Iglar should still be the best hardcourt player in the world. As mentioned it's about how much drive he has left and how much he adds to his legacy now. Several months younger than Mehul, he is actually slightly 'older' in tennis terms due to faster aging, but that has only diminished his advantadge. It hasn't vanished completely, last year's results on the court notwithstanding.

3. Girish Girsh(92%, 8.78) -- Girsh has been the world's best player on paper for several months now. In terms of the dry, abstract analysis, this should also be his best year in terms of level of play at least.

The top three are very interesting here. It's the first time since I started playing in this world 15 game years ago that I can legitimately say all three of them could easily be #1 this season. Girsh may be the best on paper but being third in the rankings means seeding is against him for the time being, and he has relatively speaking been an underachiever.

4. Bjorn Benda(79%, 8.35) -- Benda still has an elite serve and maximum clay proficiency. Increasingly though, the other aspects just aren't there anymore.

5. Gustavo Caratti(92%, 8.39) -- Like Girsh and the others in this age range, this should be Caratti's objectively best prime year. Time to strike while the iron is hot, or more specifically before his power erodes any further as it is already starting to do. Not quite an elite player from a technical point of view but he's getting closer. I expect Caratti to be fourth this year, getting past Benda but still well back of the Big Three. Even that is not assured.

6. Pierce Gaskell(84%, 8.43) -- There's no surer sign that a manager thinks a player is done in singles than when they start investing in doubles. Looks like Gaskell is making that step. Objectively you can see he's every bit as good as Caratti and Benda, but overplaying has bred premature defeats so consistently that I'd expect more of the same. He has virtually no real chance of matching them.

7. Elias Trulsen(91%, 8.34) -- Nobody in the world has a better serve, and his speed and mental game are unquestionably elite as well. Too much time spent on doubles earlier in his career, and an inability to compete with the best from the baseline prevent Trulsen from being a real contender. He's still a threat though, especially on grass.

8. Mugur Kinczllers(89%, 8.34) -- Kinczllers is nearly the opposite of Trulsen. An elite player in terms of technical skill, his mental and athletic abilities are only slightly above-average. He's a little past his peak but won't decline as quickly as Gaskell and Benda will so he could yet move up a bit. This is his career-best ranking, something that can be said for much of the Top 10 right now. I expect Kinczllers to hang around in the bottom half of the Top 10 for another year, maybe two.

4 through 8 are packed together very tightly. I think strength and his current position at a strong 5th make Caratti the best of the bunch but there could be some excellent matches among this group. It'll be curious to see how it all shakes out.

9. Thiago Herrera(86%, 8.16) -- Herrera no longer has the power to mask his cement feet and the fact that he's not quite at the elite level in terms of baseline play. He's on his way out now, though he'll still snag the occasional big clay victory.

10. Perry Mockler(83%, 8.05) -- Still a pretty good baseline player, but Mockler's athleticism is actually below-average at this point and his serve is starting to fade. He's had a nice recent run of results but it's a mirage.

12. Afanasy Bereznity(95%, 8.14) -- Just now turning 24, Bereznity is still getting better. His serve is quality right now, a little more work on the baseline game would help but he's poised to jump onto the first page this year. The new Russian no. 1, he's seems clearly to be the best of the next generation at this point.

13. Agustin Herrera(94%, 8.15) -- A steady improver over the past year or two, the 'third Herrera' probably becomes Peru's best this year and the latest moderate threat on clay from that nation. He's limited by the same problem Thiago has had -- he's strong but has to compensate for slowness of foot and limited rally skills.

16. Davide Poilblan(93%, 8.32) -- Poilblan has the skills, he just needs to bounce back from a slightly disappointing '45 in which he made little progress in the rankings. Time to see results now from the young Frenchmen. On paper, the best player not presently in the Top 10. Show us.

17. Theodore Bourdet(94%, 8.18) -- The best serve in the world, even a bit better than Trulsen's, but baseline play is lacking. Usually that means sporadic results, which is what I expect here.

18. Garreth McCuskey(93%, 8.23) -- The next top American, though that transition probably won't happen this year, McCuskey has everything in spades except for a baseline game. He's woefully inadequate there, but he'll continue to rise due to his other positives.

The 'On Deck' Crew

The five players listed in the 11-18 range will all figure to reach the Top 10 eventually. They'll start making their push in earnest this year, being the next group after Girsh's 'Generation Flash' that now is ascendant. There's a lot of competition in the next group coming up, a group that includes Mooljee. All of these are just now turning 22, or will in the next several months. As always they are listed by their current ranking.

37. Hugo Jurco(99%, 7.81) -- If he only had a brain. Jurco would kill to have the meager mental game of a Kinczllers. I don't think I have seen a weaker player in the clutch who projected as a Top-10 performer.

40. Sava Cirakovic(99%, 7.76) -- Already a very good serve, decent package athletically, but Cirakovic is quite a ways behind the curve in rallying skills.

41. Tristan Benitzer(100%, 7.56) -- Technique is similar to Cirakovic, but he's physically weak. Very, very fast, but it's not enough to compensate.

44. Prakash Mooljee(99%, 8.18) -- Serve is weaker than the other players at this point but it's coming long. No question Mooljee has the best overall package, and the clarity of this fact will only continue to grow since he's the most dedicated player of the bunch. Overall I have him tied for 11th. His time to make his mark is most definitely at hand.

45. Tomas Niklas(99%, 8.14) -- Don't sleep on Niklas either. Technical skills are lagging but not too horribly, and he's an elite athlete any way you slice it. I expect him to follow Mooljee up the rankings, and not at a distance.

47. Djurdje Moicevic(99%, 7.48) -- I didn't think much of Moicevic when I first noticed him in an early-round upset of Mooljee about a year and a half ago. He's growing on me though. His talent is massive(not sure I've seen another 5.0 before) and the serve is already very good. Rally skill is horrid though(3.9/3.9 right now). I haven't seen a Top-50 player that I recall before without a skill rating well into the 4s. He seems to be a comer but needs a lot of training to really be a threat. Moicevic definitely bears watching.

48. Akihiro Sugiyama(99%, 7.31) -- Sugiyama, the top Japanese player, has been largely ignored up to this point but his accomplishments have forced me to notice him. He's several months younger than the rest of the group, having just turned 21. He also appears to be somewhat overranked, and there are weaknesses(skill, speed, endurance). He's very strong though and has a quality serve. Might stagnate this year, but if he uses his time wisely things could get interesting for him.

49. Blagota Cojanovic(100%, 7.75) -- Technique is sorely lacking but elite speed and mental toughness make Cojanovic unquestionably relevant.

The above grouping consists of 8 players ranked 37th-49th. It's quite a packed set of young pros, and they will all be trying to force their way out of the challengers and into the elite level of competition this year. If all or even most continue to improve, it will be a deep group of good if not great players that will emerge here.

57. Shreya Ujjaval(97%, 8.18) -- Ujjaval is that rare player who needs to work more on his serve, but he's every bit the equal of Mooljee/Niklas still and better than the rest of the others. He's too good to continue stagnating for long.

166. Shyam Senepathy(99%, 6.76) -- Slow, and needs to work more on his skill(3.5/3.5 presently). There are a lot of worse challenger players though and he should continue to slowly rise despite himself.

209(J). Ritwik Dudwadkar(68%, 2.98) -- Above-average speed and mental game but everything else is a major work in progress at such a young age.
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:32 PM   #393
Umbrella
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Location: The Springs, CO
I found a guy who could be a stud. Gunther Piel, with a TE=8.89, and TESS=16.17. He's another German, so now I have two German players along with a German trainer. Completely unintentional, but that is how everything played out. The down side is his aging is 104%, so he'll peak pretty early, but I had to take a chance with this guy.

Last edited by Umbrella : 06-14-2016 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:59 AM   #394
Brian Swartz
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I agree with you, he looks very good. It's always a good idea to be willing to jump for something better. I hope you stick with Piel for his whole career, he can definitely be a great player. I wouldn't worry as much about the aging. It is a flaw but not a huge one -- you'll be able to train him more early on than a slower-aging player because of the endurance, and he'll be able to play better events ... I don't view fast aging to be as much of a weakness as I used to.
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Old 06-15-2016, 11:08 AM   #395
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
2046 World Team Cup, Group 3, First Round
Austria(15th) vs. Sri Lanka(2nd), Hardcourt

Monday: G. Girsh d. J. Hammerstein, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5
Tuesday: A. Mehul d. H. Frankl, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0
Wednesday: J. Hammerstein/M. Ebner d. S. Ujjaval/P. Mooljee, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4
Thursday: J. Hammerstein d. A. Mehul, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 9-7
Friday: G. Girsh d. H. Frankl, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0

Sri Lanka defeats Austria, 3-2!!

That was closer than expected, though we were never in danger of actually losing after Girsh won the first match. Rather stunning to see Mehul lose that epic fourth tie after Hammerstein(2nd in doubles) has been a doubles-focused player the last few years. He's all Austria has these days though. Due to the closeness of the tie we are presently second in the group behind Germany, while also retaining our #2 world ranking with the victory.

Peru, on clay, will be our next one after the Australian Open. That'll be a tricky one, but assuming we win, we'll book our spot in the quarterfinals.

Coming Up ...

Mooljee will play at the Noumea(tier-1) challenger next week as his AO warmup. The following week there'll be 250 action for Mehul + Girsh, as well as the first juniors event of the year for Dudwadkar.
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Old 06-15-2016, 12:52 PM   #396
Umbrella
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: The Springs, CO
And to keep on other non Sri-Lanka world 1 news (I guess I'm now the German shill), Jakob Heinen has now won his second JG4 daily double, taking both singles and doubles in his home country. This was his first non-hard court singles win, which is nice to see. I think this will sneak him into the top 100 juniors for the first time. It looks like it's time for him to move up to JG3.

He'll now just practice until his first Junior Team Cup competition in three weeks, leading top ranked Germany in the U16 field. Germany is in a group with Czech Republic (#11), Australia (#7), and we're still waiting to see which of Cyprus (#20), Greece(#13), Italy (#19), and Russia (#14) gets the fourth spot.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:57 PM   #397
ntndeacon
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Location: Alabama
Javier Canoli is about to compete in his first amateur competition in a couple weeks. we'll see how fast he moves out of the amateurs into the future tournaments
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:14 AM   #398
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Usually takes some months for me due to the number of matches you can play in an amateur, then several weeks off in between if its a successful one. Definitely looking forward to seeing how he fares.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:27 AM   #399
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
January

Prakash Mooljee was up first at one of the first pair of challenger, both Tier-1s. He was at Noumea as the second seed, while top-seeded Hugo Jurco was the defending champion. It looked like the two were on a collison course and indeed that's what happened. As shown in the rundown to start the year, Mooljee has surpassed Jurco but he wasn't necessarily favored here. The Czech Republic's best young hope is a hardcourt specialist while Mooljee is still lower than I'd like him to be on this surface(37 and rising). He took the first set, but was regularly under more pressure on his serve and couldn't hold Jurco off in a 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 defeat. A tough one, this ended any realistic hope of being seeded at the Australian Open. Everything for him will now depend on his draw there. He should beat almost anyone who isn't seeded and some of those that will be, but if he gets matched against a Top 15 or so player then it could be an early exit which would unfortunately delay his ascent. It's one of those times where Mooljee could really use some luck here.

The next week, the other three were in action. Anil Mehul was at the Sydney 250, where he got a bit of resistance from Theodore Bourdet in the semis but still came through in straight sets. In the finals though, he was shockingly upset by Pierce Gaskell, 6-4, 7-5! Alarming, it wasn't that close -- Mehul was thoroughly outclassed. It's just the second time in 20 career meetings that he's lost to Gaskell, with the last one six and a half years ago! Combined the Hammerstein match a couple weeks back, he already has had two poor upsets and clearly is not on top of his game, perhaps a hangover from the off-season, relaxing too much after the great season last year, or something. Whatever it is, he needs to step it up if he wants to have any real chance of defending his AO title.

Girish Girsh rammed his way through the Auckland 250, and was never really challenged. Davide Poilblan was the second seed and was routinely dispatched in a 6-3, 6-3 final. Girsh looks reasonably sharp and his hopes from Australia are high. Ritwik Dudwadkar was a 4-seed for his first tier-4 juniors, and it did not go particularly well. He had a very tight first-rounder against a qualifier, then went down to unseeded Russian Marat Astapovich in the next round, 6-2, 0-6, 6-3. Astapovich is a strong hardcourt player which was the main factor here, but it was still a bit unexpected. Mooljee lost in the semifinals as part of the top-seeded doubles team, and he'll definitely be hanging around the tier-4 level for a while by the look of this. A couple weeks off and he'll be back out there again.

Up Next

All three senior players head to the Australian Open. Mehul is struggling, Girsh is sailing, and Mooljee needs a reasonable draw so he can at least match last year's second-round placing. It's time to find out who among the top players used the off-season to prepare for the new year well ...
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Old 06-18-2016, 04:44 PM   #400
Brian Swartz
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One thing I forgot to look at for the year's start is how Ritwik Dudwadkar is doing among his age group. As of week 5 he was ranked 218th. Among players younger than him, the top one is Jakob Heinen(yay, Umbrella!) at 108th. Heinen is four weeks younger so I imagine they'll be playing a few times down the line which should be a blast. Germany could be a rival again the WTC eventually. Also worth mentioning is Uruguay's Florentino Suarez(164th) who won't even turn 15 for a couple more weeks -- he's about eight months younger than Dudwadkar and off to a great start. A total of 12 players are the same age or younger and ranked higher, which means the other 206 are older players. This is pretty typical but a couple players more than usual. Certainly my competitors tend to start off slow and finish strong due to low aging, but it's a good 'rough and dirty' way to see how well he's doing compared to his most likely potential rivals.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-18-2016 at 04:45 PM.
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