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Old 01-05-2018, 06:37 PM   #751
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
November

It's time for the final Challenger rush of the year, and I've got two players participating in it. Anil Mehul played in Salzburg(Tier-3, Indoors) and reached the final in doubles while getting bounced in the singles first time out. He then wrapped things up in Cancun(tier-3, Clay) earning the doubles title but once again saying goodbye immediately in solo play. 5th-seed Tomas Arango beat him in a close affair, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2, so it's not like he's getting crushed at this level. Still, he figures to drop out of the Top 200 again and head back to futures play, at least temporarily.

Sushant Chiba fared a little better. He played in both of the same events -- and won the singles crown both times. Only one doubles attempt, first qualifying round exit at Salzburg. Both title matches were close; no blowing away the competition here, but adding two more trophies to his accomplishments moved him up to a career-best 60th. He's exceeded his goals for the year, and is well-positioned for a further assault next season.
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Old 01-06-2018, 11:31 PM   #752
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
World Tour Finals

France was the host this year, which basically ended any suspense as to whether Kaspar would make history. He's a strong favorite anyway, but with the crowd fully behind him, there seemed little chance for anyone else. Both Dudwadkar and Mooljee were placed in the first group. It surprised nobody to see Prakash Mooljee go winless, failing to advance past the group stage for the third time. The accomplishment was in making the field here for the 10th time at age 32 -- and he had some competitive matches, but came up short in all of them. Ritwik Dudwadkar lost fairly meekly to Teng in his first match, but beat Zarco and then Mooljee to advance to the knockout stage for the first time in his third attempt. Two years ago he went winless, last year he won once, this year twice ... Kaspar was first in the second group, but the surprise was Gillo Fangio. The last barely-qualifier in the field, he defeated both Dircx and Piazzola to take second.


In the semifinals, Ritwik Dudwadkar gave Kaspar his toughest match of the week. Points were close at 74-68, 6-3, 7-6(5) on the scoreboard. He did well ... just not well enough. Ritwik might have just gotten the upset at a neutral venue. Either way, no shame in ending this way. The second match was a stunner with Hsuang-tsung Teng, usually tough indoors, losing a classic to Fangio 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(1). Just weeks shy of his 29th birthday, the decidedly over-the-hill Italian was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Mateo Kaspar who claimed his record-breaking 7th WTF trophy. It's the first major record that he holds by himself ... though quite possibly not the last.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:57 PM   #753
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
December

World Team Cup Finals
Sri Lanka vs. Spain

#1 vs. #2. Last two world champions. Couldn't have a better setup here. Everything pretty much went as expected, leading up to the critical clash on Thursday between Ritwik Dudwadkar and Martin Zarco. We faced elimination with Spain up 2-1, but in reality they were in just as much jeopardy as Edward Cortina(45th) was a sure bet to lose the final rubber to Mooljee. Winner of this match would take it. Ended up being fairly anticlimactic, with Dudwakar wrapping up a perfect 7-for-7 year against Zarco with his most dominant win of the group, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Points were 93-59 ... this was not even remotely close.

Sri Lanka wins 3-2, and regains the title! World champions for the 9th time -- and Prakash Mooljee clinches it in his final professional match under my direction, a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 bloodbath against Cortina on Friday. That's a great way to go out -- Mooljee is the only player to be involved in all of our titles. The first three just on the doubles team, but still.

World Team Cup Playoffs

** Finland vs. Bulgaria -- Two low-ranking Level 1 nations trying to hang on to their top-level status. Both have Top 50 singles player and nobody else in the Top 200. Finland took the doubles, and then got the headline with Aikio over Trashilov in straight sets. Bulgaria goes down, 4-1.

** Peru vs. Croatia -- The once-proud Peru team is back after a thrashing in the promotion playoffs last year. They got another one here, with Croatia skunking them 5-0. The combination of the aging Cojanovic(43rd) and the young Svajnovic(49th) makes them more than good enough to hang at the top level.

** Russia vs. Hungary -- Sucks that this was the draw. Russia is ranked 6th in the world and it's merely a lousy group that even has them participating; meanwhile the Hungarians are a solid 14th and the Level 2 champs this year. I'd like to them both up, but that's not going to happen. Bottom line is nobody for Hungary can match up with #18 Alexey Alenichev, who was the difference in powering the Russians to a 3-2 victory. Hungary was in the demotion playoffs a year ago so this was much better, but with Jeno Maitra(47th) 31 and not getting any younger, it would seem they've done what they are going to do for the time being.

** Slovak Republic vs. Australia -- Somebody was going up here in a matchup of the last two nations Hungary beat in the Level-2 playoffs. This was another whitewash, with the Australians dropping just a single set. Just a few years ago, the land down under was all the way down at Level 4. That seems ancient history with the talents of Jeffrey Lusher(28, 45th) and Liam Curran(27, 62nd) giving them two capable players and a claim at being a legit Level-1 country. And now, it's official for the Aussies.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:58 PM   #754
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Final WTC Rankings

1. Sri Lanka -- 2854
2. Spain -- 2312
3. United States -- 2250
4. Argentina -- 2114
5. France -- 2101
6. Russia -- 2077
7. Czech Republic -- 2036
8. Germany -- 2033
9. Morocco -- 1946
10. Croatia -- 1938

I'm pretty certain this is the first time I've ever seen Morocco in the Top 10. The tough draw this year ended up working in our favor; because we got through it unscathed, we were able to open up a record-high margin. That's a couple years worth of buffer, over 500 points. Next year we start in Group 4, along with the United States(3rd), Germany(8th), and Croatia(10th). Not as tough as this year, but still rougher than average.
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:02 PM   #755
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
The big news for me at the end of the year was the expected termination of services for 32-year-old Prakash Mooljee. He's shown he can still play, but I need a new youngster. Here's how his career titles break down:


** WTF -- 2
** Slam -- 8
** Only player on all 10 WTC world championship teams(first three as doubles only)
** Masters -- 15
** Olympics -- 1
** 500 -- 12
** 250 -- 11
** Challenger -- 17
** Futures -- 8
** Juniors -- 17

143 weeks as #1 is a national record, and 8th all-time. #2 in the Sri Lanka Legends rundown, after Mehul. Quite a career for Mooljee, but he'll soldier on without me(as I write this a few weeks later, he is still without a manager unfortunately).

Our newcomer is Amrik Kasaravalli(14y 28w)

** Endurance -- 3.2(horrible)
** Talent -- 4.4(decent)
** Strength -- 3.6(pretty good)
** Speed -- 2.6(poor)
** Mentality -- 4.0(good)
** Aging -- 97%(worst for late-peaking you can get, same as Mooljee)

7.6 TE is by far the worst I've had for a created player. 6.2 SS isn't terrible, but pretty subpar. 13.8 total, similar to Chiba but with the low endurance I expect him to be the worst player I've had. I could fire and try again, but I'm saving everything for when Mehul goes trainer. So I'll just need to do the best I can with him. That's just an abysmal endurance when I go for being as good as possible there. Ugh. By comparison, here's a few other on the TESS scale(though it doesn't include mentality,. which IMO is as important as strength/speed):

Mateo Kaspar -- 9.3 TE, 7.6 SS, 16.9 total

Prakash Mooljee -- 9.0 TE, 6.9 SS, 15.9 total
Anil Mehul -- 9.1 TE, 6.7 SS, 15.8 total
Ritwik Dudwadkar -- 8.9 TE, 6.6 SS, 15.5 total
Girish Girsh -- 8.6 TE, 6.1 SS, 14.7 total
Sushant Chiba -- 8.7 TE, 5.2 SS, 13.9 total

Kasaravalli will definitely struggle, relatively speaking. Of course, until Chiba I did multiple players and tossed the inferior ones. So it's luck of the draw -- just bad luck this time out.
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:04 PM   #756
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Top Player Rankings

1. Mateo Kaspar(FRA, 28) -- 17,710

Another dominant year, faltering only on clay.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(SRI, 26) -- 10,330

The clear #2, and inching closer.

3. Guus Dircx(NLD, 26) -- 7,550

4. Martin Zarco(ESP, 28) -- 7,460

5. [b]Hsuang-tsung Teng[b](NZL, 27) -- 6,750

Briefly cracked the Top 4, but couldn't stay there. Still the odd man out of this elite grouping.

6. Gillo Fangio(ITA, 29) -- 4,130

The big finish put him back in the 'best of the rest' spot.

7. Ruben Piazzola(CHI, 25) -- 4,090

8. Prakash Mooljee(SRI, 32) -- 3,980

No longer in my control. We'll see what happens to him, but still important for us in the World Team Cup, as he'll be the representative there for another year or two.

9. Gilberto Chinaglia(ITA, 24) -- 3,260

Playing challengers a year ago, and now world no. 9. Time to see what he's got.

10. Alexey Nikitin(UKR, 24) -- 2,990

Still appears that his manager went AWOL. If so, we won't see him after the AO, and he'll be so out-of-shape by then that it'll be a quick departure.

11. Dick Blake(USA, 24)

13. Karl Kaspar(FRA, 22)

Definitely the best of the young guns, and looking like the best bet to succeed his older brother.

17. Cristian Castegali(MEX, 24)

20. Hmal Sbai(23, MOR)

24. Stuart Pargeter(24, USA)

28. Rob Lock(22, USA)

29. Hugo Cordova(22, USA)


Lots of Americans, as ever.

54. Stanley Edleman(20, USA)

And here's another one.

64. Sushant Chiba(20, SRI)

224. Anil Mehul(40, SRI)

53rd in doubles.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:58 AM   #757
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
2057 Preview

1. Mateo Kaspar(88%, 8.97, -0.14)

First big decline ... and a little too big, I think his skill will bounce back up a bit. Still there's no question that Kaspar is going to start being more vulnerable. He may even lose the rare match on hardcourts this year. In his favor is the fact that almost all of the other top players are in decline as well. It's been a great era, but it's now clearly on the far side of the peak. I didn't bother with the Gorritipe comparion post this year, but suffice to say if Kaspar has another year like the last one, he'll draw virtually even.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(92%, 8.81, -0.02)

Not actually worse, it just looks like it. Skill/service are still at 5.3/4.0, but serve made it to 4.1 briefly and they did improve slightly over the course of the year. Just not enough to register as a higher amount, and athleticism of course dipped a bit which is the reason for the small decrease. This next year is actually probably going to be his best. Dudwadkar is the one player not over the hill yet, but the slowdown in xp gains has started to be noticeable and will become more so.

All of which means he will be playing the role of legacy spoiler now, much like Mehul did with Iglar many years ago. Ritwik will still lose to Kaspar most of the time, even almost all of the time, but he probably gets in another win or two here or there to take a bit of his thunder and slow down his record-setting pace.

3. Guus Dircx(88%, 8.67, -0.13)

Still quite good. These guys aren't falling off a cliff at this point; they're just a step back of what they used to be.

4. Martin Zarco(88%, 8.64, -0.09)

5. Hsuang-tsung Teng(89%, 8.52, -0.03)

Teng hasn't fallen off as much, but still looks like the odd man out.

6. Gillo Fangio(84%, 8.49, -0.23)

That's pretty ugly, but Fangio and Zarco have both trained their doubles abilities up at least halfway. Fangio dropped three spots to 8th and nearly further, but a big finish gained him almost all the territory he lost. Temporarily, anyway.

7. Ruben Piazzola(91%, 8.39, -0.04)

Despite a small drop here, this should be Piazzola's best year. In any case he's not falling as fast as those ahead of him will, so I expect the top Chilean to see somewhat better results. Not much though; he's still just not as good as the older players around him.

8. Prakash Mooljee(78%, 8.23, -0.11)

As good as one can expect. It'll be interesting to see who picks him up, and what happens to him over the next couple of years.

9. Gilberto Chinaglia(95%, 8.14, ??)

Rare to have a Top-10 player who wasn't even ranking high enough to garner an evaluation the year before. Chinaglia is unquestionably the surprise player of 2056. He's overrated somewhat for his abilities. Athleticism is decent but nothing special and skill isn't on the same par as other elite players. An excellent serve and clay mastery are an unusual tandem, but he's going to improve for at least two more years so he'll be around a while as his betters decline.

10. Alexey Nikitin(94%, 8.50, +0.03)

Still no evidence of activity, which is unfortunate. He could really have made some more headway and been an interesting force. Still could be to a lesser degree, if his manager returns, but after several months off that seems unlikely.

7 of the Top 8 are in significant decline now, and add Nikitin into the mix and the quality of top-flight tennis will take a nosedive here. For the first time in several years, fresh blood is badly needed.

11. Dick Blake(94%, 8.37, +0.01)

Disappointing; one would hope for greater improvement from a still-young player. Still should be enough for Blake to move up a couple spots and get onto the first page.

12. Matthew Panter(90%, 8.33, +0.03)

Briefly made it up to 10th this year, but he's now seen his best tennis. Hanging out just beyond the first page is about the best we can hope for from him.

13. Karl Kaspar(99%, 8.16, ??)

Runner-up for surprise of the year. Only 22 and already knocking on that Top-10 door. Not nearly the player older brother Mateo is, but my pick for heir apparent. Karl is strong and has very well-developed technique for his age. I don't think he's good enough to push much higher just yet, but time is most definitely on Karl's side, and we already have proof that his manager knows what he's doing.

15. Gregory Mackenzie(93%, 8.36, -0.02)

Like Blake, he just didn't get the job done training this year. On the court, he's ranked exactly where he was as well. Elite serve but hasn't improved his play at the back of the court as he should have. I said last season he'd soon become the top American. Should have, and probably still should, but not yet.

17. Cristian Castelgali(94%, 8.30, ??)

For the first time in memory, Mexico has a top-quality player. Has the technique of a guy ready to challenge at the top level, and a good mental game, but athleticism holds him back somewhat. Still ready to challenge for the Top 10, though perhaps not quite there yet.

20. Hamal Sbai(96%, 8.44, ??)

Sbai is the reason for Morocco's rise, and is that rare player who actually hasn't put enough effort into his serve. Elite baseline play, good mental game and above-average speed. Sbai is somewhat underrated where he is, and should be Top 10 before the year's out. Good endurance gives him plenty to work with in continuing to improve. Definitely ought to be Top 5 at a minimum eventually. Hamal is already the second-best player in Morrocan history; none have ever done better than 14th, a record that should fall soon. Rates as the world's 8th-best on paper right now.

24. Stuart Pargeter(96%, 8.17, +0.02)

Surprised to see him slip a spot in the rankings last year. Pargeter should be improving more than this, but he's still got time to make a move higher.

29. Rob Lock(97%, 7.96, ??)

Here come the new Americans. Lock is 22 years old, athletic and reasonably dedicated. Still has work to do.

30. Hugo Cordova(97%, 7.86, ??)

Here's a strange profile. Also 22, Cordova already has the best serve I've ever seen(4.4!). He also is slow with a poor mental game, and really has nothing else much to recommend him yet, having put all of his eggs in that one basket. It does make him a frustrating opponent because of how hard it is to break him. I forsee many tiebreak-heavy matches in Hugo's future.

54. Stanley Edleman(100%, 7.79, +0.39)

Edleman has been slightly surpassed in the rankings for the moment by juniormate Svajnovic(49th). Nearly cut last year's mark of 100th in half, winning a pair of Slam matches along with four Challenger titles and numerous finals. This year he should continue moving upwards, probably cracking the Top 32.

64. Sushant Chiba(99%, 7.69, +0.53)

Edleman's been good; Chiba's improvement has been better, and he should at least pull even with the US prodigy this year. Both figure to be among the top Challenger-level players and, along with Svajnovic, Prachuab(in the low 80s), and a few others, pushing to break into the big-time. Chiba had six Challenger titles this year, none of them larger than tier-2. One final, two semis, four QFs, and one exit earlier as well. He'll be looking to be more consistent -- most of the early losses were as he was breaking in first half of the year -- and push into the bigger tournaments. He's got a little over half the necessary points to escape Challenger level, and exceeded expectations(Top 100 is all I was looking for). I figure he's close to breaking out but not quite at the end of the year, somewhere around 40th.
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Old 02-09-2018, 03:25 PM   #758
thehitcat
H.S. Freshman Team
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Hamal is my oldest player and my first to crack the top 20 (and hopefully top 10.) My young'uns (Hart and Hughes of Ireland) are still only 19 so I'm still in the building phases. Thrilled that you are keeping this going and that I can be a small part of it.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:06 AM   #759
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Thanks for your generous comments. I'm going to try to keep updating this on a quarterly basis, even though I don't have time to do the monthly ones anymore. I should have time to get things caught up this weekend, though perhaps not before that.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:08 AM   #760
thehitcat
H.S. Freshman Team
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
And now to add to my thrills. My youngest current player 19 year old John Hart, is playing doubles with the man that drew me in 41 year old Anil Mehul in about an hour in a Futures match. Sadly I can't pull the screenshot in but it's a very cool moment for me. Thanks again Brian.

And now after advancing to the SF together in doubles we are playing against one another in singles in the QF. True changing of the guard? Or wise old hand keeping on course? We shall see...

After the unlikely pair moved through to the doubles final 3 and 2 they met again in the singles QF match that was all about the Sri Lankan and his first serve (81%.) Mehul ran away 2 and 1, converting nearly half of his potential break points and dominating total points 58-36. Maybe next time for the young Irishman.

Last edited by thehitcat : 02-22-2018 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:43 PM   #761
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Made the finals in doubles! That's not half bad.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:55 PM   #762
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
I'm now a full year behind in reporting. What a slacker. Let's see what I can get caught back up on.

Q1 Rankings

This is how things are(were) just after Indian Wells and Miami.

1. Mateo Kaspar(28, FRA) -- 18,210

Still good enough to win everything on hardcourts, at least so far.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(26, SRI) -- 10,810

Runner-up in all the big events; 29-3 with all losses coming against the King. Just keep that going. Keep giving yourself every opportunity ... and now we're headed back into the time of year when he'll arguably have the upper hand.

3. Guus Dircx(27, NLD) -- 8,030

Clear #3 right now.

4. Hsuang-tsung Teng(27, NZL) -- 6,450

Takes advantadge of Zarco's absence in Indian Wells.

5. Martin Zarco(28, ESP) -- 6,400

A brief hiatus cost him a Top-4 placing.

6. Dick Blake(24, USA) -- 3,870

Best ranking for an American player in a while, but it's a mountain to climb for him to press further.

7. Ruben Piazzola(26, CHL) -- 3,790

Still solid.

8. Prakash Mooljee(32, SRI) -- 3,760

Someone forgot to tell him he's done.

9. Gilberto Chinaglia(24, ITA) -- 3,605

10. Gillo Fangio(29, ITA) -- 3,540

Looks like the bottom is finally falling out for this old war-horse.

12. Karl Kaspar

Gradually gaining ground.

15. Alexey Nikitin

Hasn't been heard from now in almost six months. Sad.

16. Cristian Castegali

17. Hamal Sbai

Sbai continues to make steady progress.

20. Stuart Pargeter

25. Rob Lock

30. Veini Aikio

Finland has a new hope.

31. Hugo Cordova

No huge changes in the up-and-comers.

44. Stanley Edleman

Was as high as 40th.

47. Uglesa Svajnovic

Holding steady.

58. Sushant Chiba

One spot below his peak. It's been a pretty good start for him but not perfect. He's got very few points to defend for the next three months; just 46 of them spread over three events. The chance is there to move up into the Top 50 by mid-season if he does well.

72. Shyam Senepathy

Holding on for now.

75. Chalerm Prachuab

The other elite juniors player from Edleman's class is not faring as well as the first three.

1202(J). Amrik Kasaravalli

At 1-5 in both singles and doubles, he hasn't found his footing just yet.
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Old 03-29-2018, 06:51 PM   #763
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
These are for after Wimbledon. Because I'm lazy, I neglected at the time to do the Race stuff. We all know who's on top anyway.

Top Rankings


1. Mateo Kaspar(FRA, 28) -- 17,830

Kaspar has now tied the once-untouchable singles Slam record, and it appears he has every intention of smashing it to bits. So far this has been a bounce-back season, with only a lone loss(Zarco in the Madrid QF).

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(SRI, 27) -- 11,070

Won Madrid and made the final everywhere else, but even on clay could not fell the King. Staying right where he is as the clear, highly distant #2.

3. Guus Dircx(NLD, 27) -- 7,690

Also pretty-much locked in place.

4. Hsuang-tsung Teng(NZL, 27) -- 6,210

The clear pecking order continues.

5. Dick Blake(USA, 25) -- 4,280

Blake continues to lead the next generation, but they aren't ready yet.

6. Gregory Mackenzie(USA, 26) -- 4,255

America's young studs are starting to assert themselves as they approach their prime.

7. Matthew Panter(USA, 26) -- 4,090

8. Martin Zarco(ESP, 28) -- 3,910

Falling fast, like many of the old guard.

9. Gilberto Chinaglia(ITA, 24) -- 3,800

Just treading water.

10. Cristian Castegali(MEX, 25) -- 3,535

11. Karl Kaspar(FRA, 22) -- 3,375

The younger Kaspar is coming, make no mistake about it.

12. Ruben Piazzola(CHI, 26)

Pretty sharp fall, and an early one for him.

13. Prakash Mooljee(SRI, 33)

Free-falling now.

15. Stuart Pargeter(USA, 24)

Only fourth in his own country, but Pargeter figures to pick up some more positions soon with all of the declining vets.

17. Hamal Sbai(MOR, 24)

20. Serge Cardone(FRA, 25)

Cardone was 33rd at the start of the year; he's really charging.

22. Veini Aikio(FIN, 23)

Him too.

28. Hugo Cordova(USA, 23)

Up-and-down, and still underachieving but has time.

32. Lucas Kaspar(FRA, 22)

Third of the clan joins the inner circle. I'd like them to go away, but that's not happening.

38. Stanley Edleman(USA, 21)

Close to his next goal; made the third round at Wimbledon. He appears to have left the challenger ranks a bit early; it's been a few months since he played any.

44. Sushant Chiba(SRI, 21)

Not far off Edleman's heels now, but losses in the final of Braunschweig(second year in a row) and Kosice(tier-2 CH) show that Sushant is close ... but not there yet. This is as expected. Improving his skills, not rankings, is most important for the rest of the year. He's about where he should be, and will probably make the jump next season unless he does great in the end-of-year push.

222. Anil Mehul(SRI, 41)

The challenger days are over now, and he hasn't played doubles in a while. Last two futures events he went out in the semis and quarterfinals, and I figure him to stay at the futures level the rest of the way now.

970(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(SRI, 15)

He's about on track for his young age, but has won only a single main-draw match. Not quite up to the tier-5 juniors level of competition even, but he should be soon. The usual even skill/service training split is ongoing, and mostly finished.
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Old 04-02-2018, 02:05 PM   #764
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Top Rankings
After USO

1. Mateo Kaspar(FRA, 28) -- 17,980

USO run while exhausted, losing a set in SF and F only, was a fitting capper. Broke the all-time Slams record, and there's really no debate now; he's the greatest of all time.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(SRI, 27) -- 11,580

Regular trips to the finals pretty much everywhere continue.

3. Guus Dircx(NLD, 27) -- 7,615

Holding steady in third.

4. Hsuang-tsung Teng(NZL, 27) -- 6,330

5. Gregory Mackenzie(USA, 26) -- 4,525

6. Dick Blake(USA, 25) -- 4,180

This solid American pair is still miles behind the top 4.

7. Matthew Panter(USA, 26) -- 4,030

Err, make it a trio then.

8. Cristian Castegali(MEX, 25) -- 3,800

9. Karl Kaspar(FRA, 22) -- 3,780

The big story is here. The junior Kaspar is three years younger than anyone else in the Top 10. Right now betting on anyone else to be the next #1 is foolishness.

10. Gilberto Chinaglia(ITA, 25) -- 3,590

11. Stuart Pargeter(USA, 25)

Just 4th in his own nation, Pargeter is inching close to the first page but needs at least one more big event to get there.

12. Martin Zarco(ESP, 28)

The latest former standout(was a clear no. 2 at one point) to crash and burn.

13. Prakash Mooljee(SRI, 33)

14. Hamal Sbai(MOR, 24)

Sbai continues to climb gradually.

20. Serge Cardone(FRA, 25)

22. Veini Aikio(FIN, 23)

23. Hugo Cordova(USA, 23)

25. Henri Sorel(CAN, 23)

27. Chad Duncan(GBR, 23)

A couple of new faces here in Sorel and Duncan.

31. Lucas Kaspar(FRA, 23)

Even the Kaspar cast-offs are getting in the act now.

32. Tristan Allende(USA, 23)

34. Stanley Edleman(USA, 21)

He's close, and the top-ranked player his age. During a dip in his rankings Chiba passed him briefly, but a run to the 4th round of the USO took care of that. He'll look to crack the Top 32 in the year-end push no doubt.

46. Sushant Chiba(SRI, 21)

High so far has been 42nd. Since Braunschweig he's won the last three Challengers he's entered. I still think the prediction at he start of year will hold; I figure him to push into the Top 40 but not quite make it out of Challengers. Doing well, just not quite ready for the jump. Soon though. Soon.

255. Anil Mehul(SRI, 41)

Showing no signs of leaving the futures level and now his doubles ranking is low enough for him to enter both sides of the draw. The grind continues.

651(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(SRI, 25)

Amrik has been making further inroads, with two finals and a SF showing in his last three JG5 events. Skill/service are up to 0.8 in training, and before year's end I think he'll hit the 1.0 line at which time we'll switch to the standard approach and start boosting skill more.
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Old 04-05-2018, 06:57 PM   #765
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
YEAR-END WTC

1. Sri Lanka -- 2710
2. France -- 2497
3. Spain -- 2329
4. United States -- 2210
5. Argentina -- 2200
6. Germany -- 2006
7. Russia -- 2005
8. Croatia -- 1988
9. Morocco -- 1917
10. Chile -- 1896

Our lead was cut in half by a SF loss, so we'll be in real danger of losing the top spot in a couple years if we don't improve on that. It will happen eventually, but Chiba is definitely urgently needed to make the national team stronger.


Top Player Rankings

1. Mateo Kaspar(29, FRA) -- 17,830

As dominant as ever, he equalled his record of 95-1 from two years previous. There is no longer any debate; Kaspar is the GOAT.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(27, SRI) -- 11,160

The top opposition, he had an almost identical record to the year before(same losses, one extra win to 79). Now a bit over the hill, he isn't going to get any closer to Kaspar than he is ... and clearly that isn't close enough to slow down the King.

3. Guus Dircx(27, NLD) -- 7,380

Dircx is also holding steady.

4. Hsuang-tsung Teng(28, NZL) -- 5,810

This Top 4 has been intact for years now. Eventually something's got to give.

5. Gregory Mackenzie(26, USA) -- 4,995

6. Dick Blake(25, USA) -- 4,820

7. Stuart Pargeter(25, USA) -- 4,460

A trio of talented Americans waits for an opportunity.

8. Cristian Castegali(25, MEX) -- 4,380

9. Matthew Panter(27, USA) -- 3,980

10. Karl Kaspar(23, FRA) -- 3,710

And here's the heir apparent. His ascension brought France the WTC crown, and is going to make them awfully tough to top for the time being,.

11. Gilberto Chinaglia(25, ITA) -- 3,410

The only guy really close to getting back into things.

13. Hamal Sbai(24, MOR)

Sbai is a thousand points shy of Chinaglia. Close in the rankings, but he's got a lot of work to do to move up further.

14. Prakash Mooljee(33, SRI)

Seems to have found a secure landing spot.

17. Serge Cardone(25, FRA)

No Kaspar, but Cardone is another example of French resurgence.

19. Ruben Piazzola(29, CHI)

Really fell off before his time.

21. Damian Cortecedo(26, CHI)

Was in the high 30s a year ago, and now figures to pass Piazzola for the top spot in his nation soon.

22. Chad Duncan(23, UK)

A steady season for this newcomer included three second-half forays into the business end of 500-level events. Still a work in progress.

24. Hugo Cordova(23, USA)

Gradual progress continues for another young American.

25. Veini Aikio(23, FIN)

The new young guns are starting to make a push as you can see by the number of them here.

26. Lucas Kaspar(23, FRA)

Too many Kaspars.

28. Stanley Edleman(21, USA)

Still the top-ranking player his age. And only like 6th or 7th among the US guys.

29. Henri Sorel(23, CAN)

30. Tristan Allende(23, USA)

As you can see, there are really a ton of 23-or-under players here. Could be a new great generation on the rise.

39. Ugljesa Svajnovic(21, CRO)

The third wheel.

41. Sushant Chiba(21, SRI)

I said his goal was 40th this year, and he hit 38th before settling here. Pretty darn close.

233. Anil Mehul(41, SRI)

Holding steady in the 'good futures players' category, though his doubles(702nd) mark has fallen more rapidly. That's temporary though.

333(J). Amrik Kasaravilli(15, SRI)

Inferior endurance has him still unable to handle a full JG5 tournament effectively. Even in his first year, it's already noticeably slowing his progression.
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Old 04-06-2018, 06:17 PM   #766
Brian Swartz
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2058 Preview

1. Mateo Kaspar(86%, 8.94, -0.03)

Slowly returning to the mortal realm. His on-court results dispute that conclusion.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(89%, 8.83, +0.02)

This equals the best mark of Dudwadkar's career, two years ago. He's at the tail-end of his prime, and it's rather quite astonishing that he still couldn't dent Kaspar at all.

3. Guus Dircx(86%, 8.62, -0.05)

4. Hsuang-tsung Teng(87%, 8.45, -0.08)

Looks like the allure of doubles is starting to draw Teng. All of the top players with the exception of Dudwadkar are unambigiously past their best tennis, and yet they remain clearly the Top 4. That's a testament to just how good they have been. I'm not even certain this is the year that situation changes.

5. Gregory Mackenzie(91%, 8.44, +0.08)

A solid year of improving after a disappointing one the year before, and on the court Mackenzie moved through traffic 10 spots from 15th. He's got a chance to surpass Teng but I think the odds aren't great. Maybe 1 in 3.

6. Dick Blake(91%, 8.34, -0.03)

More classically trained, in contrast to Mackenzie's focus on the serve, Blake lacks power compared to most top players. He's significantly up from 11th a year ago, but it's a real question whether or not his ascent ends at this point.

7. Stuart Pargeter(94%, 8.31, +0.14)

A nice year off the court obviously, and Pargeter holds a significant edge over his slightly-more-accomplished compatriots; he's got at least a year in development time on them, while Blake & Mackenzie are in their prime right now. That's also another year waiting for the Top 4 to further decline. Pargeter seems certain to ascend at least one more level into that elite quartet himself. Another calendar of preparation first though, most likely. After starting the yeaer 24th, he's feeling quite good about himself.

8. Cristian Castegali(92%, 8.31, +0.01)

Two years ago Castegali wasn't even on the radar. Last year he was 17th, this year he made the Tour Finals. I think that train ends here, but it is interesting to see the first four guys remain intact while the second four are completely replaced. I'm quite sure that's a quirk I've not seen before. In general this group should all be improving, so they ought to remain relatively stable and put increasing pressure on the top guys. How much pressure exactly is hard to say. Only Teng really looks vulnerable at this point.

9. Matthew Panter(87%, 8.30, -0.03)

Panter is another declining player, yet he pushed his way to new heights(7th at one point, 12th a year ago). The improvements of the players just above him seems to have passed him by though -- it was a short-lived moment in the sun.

10. Karl Kaspar(97%, 8.39, +0.23)

Only a three-spot jump in the rankings, but what Kaspar Jr. here did off the court is a lot more important and impressive. His merely-average mental abilities will hold him back some, but he's already no worse than third in the world when it comes to technical skills. Karl seems a shoo-in for this year's WTF, and the question about him taking over for Mateo at #1 someday is looking a lot more like a 'when' than an 'if'.

11. Gilberto Chinaglia(93%, 8.25, +0.11)

Rare to see a guy drop two spots and out of the Top 10 with this kind of improvement, but objectively it was a regression to where he belongs. Chinaglia is the only player currently in striking range of getting back on the first page soon, and he's far from done. Panter is an obvious target for him, and I expect him to be a fixture in the 8-10 range for a couple years at least.

13. Hamal Sbai(95%, 8.61, +0.17)

Sbai continues to progress much better in his abilities than he does on the court; up some from 20th but he should be ranked higher. A weak serve is at least part of the reason, but he counters that with the fact that only Dudwadkar is better from the back of the court. Among higher-ranking players, only the younger Kaspar is younger. On paper he's the world's 4th-best, and nearly third with Dircx just a hair ahead. It's time for the best Moroccan ever in the global tennis competition to start playing like it.

15. Prakash Mooljee

16. Martin Zarco

Didn't bother evaluating their current abilities, but it's worth noting these two veterans as they fade from the game.

17. Serge Cardone(93%, 7.99, ??)

It seems almost a sacrilege to speak of French players without the last name of Kaspar. But here's one worth noting. And I do really like the name 'Serge'. He's also the best player who was still in Challenger ranks a year ago, so this is a true introduction. As his score here suggests, there's nothing particularly special about him. Solid from the back but not at the elite level, good mental game, limited athleticism and subpar serve by these standards. Definitely looks to be over-ranked. But he has a cool name, so there's always that.

19. Ruben Piazzola

Falling like a rock. Only 26 but already past his prime -- the meteoric career path being demonstrated here(take note, Edleman! ).

21. Chad Duncan(96%, 7.88, ??)

Another newcomer, and this one from the British Isles. Another one not really worth noting, at least not yet. Younger than Cardone, he's got a quality serve but too much time spent on doubles and not enough on his all-court game. Pretty slow and not known for his mental prowess either. So at the top levels, he's got a powerful, accurate serve. And that's all. Not enough. He does start a veritable wave of the new generation though.

23. Damian Cortecedo(91%, 7.93, ??)

First, and possibly last, go-round for Cortecedo on the rundown here. Too much doubles, not enough athleticism, and he's already near his peak. Really the walking, breathing dictionary definition of a journeyman.

24. Hugo Cordova(95%, 8.03, +0.17)

A nice season of improvement, and up a few spots from 30th. Cordova continues to be a fascinating experiement; he has one of if not the best serves ever seen, at a very high price to the rest of his game.

25. Veini Aikio(96%, 8.03, ??)

Aikio matches up well with Cordova. He's also serve-heavy, though not to as much of an extreme. They are nearly copies of each other.

27. Lucas Kaspar(97%, 7.76, ??)

Abandoned after creation, this cast-off Kaspar is still good enough to now force his way up. He'll only go as far as his technique and talent can take him, lacking the athletic ability to be a transcendent player.

28. Stanley Edleman(98%, 7.95, +0.16)

For one week a few months back, Edleman was actually surpassed by Chiba in the rankings. That gap has now widened, but it's a temporary thing. That's particularly true with Edleman now past his physical peak. He's still got much he can do on the pro tour though, as he's reached the elite tier faster than any of his generational rivals and is the top-ranking player of his age.

29. Henri Sorel(95%, 7.70, ??)

A poor man's Cordova. Looks like the tour is going back serve-bot philosophy, at least in part. It's not a good look.

30. Tristan Allende(95%, 8.34, ??)

Allende is a horse of a different color. Technically pretty well-balanced, quite fast with decent strength and mental ability, he's got Top 10 player written all over him unlike most of the other youngsters. I expect Allende to rise above, as he's borderline-Top 10 material right now. A big year for him I would think is upcoming, and he'll be a significant foil for Chiba for at least a while.

41. Sushant Chiba(99%, 7.98, +0.29)

This comports with his positioning as one of the top handful of Challenger players in the world. He's also surpassed Edleman is theoretical ability by a hair. Call it even for now. It's time to graduate yet another Sri Lankan to the elite class. There will be two chances to do so early, with a big challenger and the Australian Open first up on the docket. Right now Chiba has just over 84% of the required points(short just over 200) to make the Top 32. The 17 players closest ahead of him are all either 29 and above, or 24 and below. 7 are in the older category, but he still needs pass other improving players to reach his next goal, which largely explains why he hasn't done so yet. Of course there is also the fact that he's too slow to deal with top serves effectively, and so he must compensate in other ways.

As can be seen, Chiba and Edleman have the abilities right now to be in the 15-20 range. They just have to work their way up through the pack.

233. Anil Mehul(58%, 6.59)

Seems I neglected to calculate him last year.

333(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(69%, 3.06)

Just starting to increase skill to the normal ratio, as the initial serve investment is now complete.
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:59 PM   #767
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Player Rankings, Q1

1. Mateo Kaspar(29, FRA) -- 17,430

Kaspar just doesn't lose on hardcourt, but it finally happened. First time in almost five years! And the first real evidence that maybe he's returning to mortality. At least partially.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(27, SRI) -- 10,750

Points-wise, the early loss in Indian Wells(Pargeter in the 4th round) and then the history-making win over Kaspar in Miami are a wash -- but I'll take that tradeoff anytime.

3. Guus Dircx(28, NLD) -- 7,995

He's had some real close ones with Dudwadkar the last couple of years, and is a fixture in the SF at any big tournament.

4. Gregory Mackenzie(27, USA) -- 5,340

The eldest of the next-gen Americans, Mackenzie is the first to crack into the Top 4. QF showings in all the big events so he's really just been consistent enough to take advantage of the opportunity.

5. Hsuang-tsung Teng(28, NZL) -- 4,765

A good ride is finally ending. Spent years at #4 but never rose higher than that. Teng was good, but he played in a tough era, an era when good wasn't good enough.

6. Dick Blake(25, USA) -- 4,590

7. Karl Kaspar(23, FRA) -- 4,540

Still coming ...

8. Stuart Pargeter(25, USA) -- 4,410

9. Cristian Castegali(25, MEX) -- 4,335

There's not a lot to say about these guys individually. Instead, look at the fact that 5-9 are separated by only 430 points in the standings. The collective competitiveness is what to see here. Those below them have a hard time in breaking into this group.

10. Matthew Panter(27, USA) -- 3,740

11. Gilberto Chinaglia(25, ITA) -- 3,480

Chinaglia is still reasonably close.

13. Hamal Sbai(25, MOR)

Quality, but hasn't made his move yet.

14. Tristan Allende(24, USA)

As predicted at the start of the year, Allende is on the move. In the three months so far he's halved his ranking(30th), making the quarters at the AO before semifinal showings in both American masters. Clay won't be very kind to him I don't think but I figure he'll finish the year strong as well, and he's already made quite the impression.

15. Serge Cardone(25, FRA)

Up a couple spots.

18. Prakash Mooljee(33, SRI)

Slipping a bit further, but helped Sri Lanka narrowly escape in group play to advance in the WTC. Tied with Italy and Spain at 2 wins apiece, we still win the group based on tiebreakers. Lost to Italy, who lost to Spain, who lost to us -- and the Italians are the unlucky ones out. Don't even advance after having defeated the group champion ... those 3-way ties always have someone feeling yucky.

19. Hugo Cordova(24, USA)

Moving up well, was 24th.

20. Veini Aikio(23, FIN)

Also +5. Another youngster starting to rise.

21. Chad Duncan(23, GBR)

28. Kenneth Brasher(23, GBR)

Just 23, Brasher is +9 this year so far. He looks to be one of the newcomers in next season's rundown. A good young pair for the Brits ...

29. Stanley Edleman(22, USA)

Treading water just above the Challenger ranks. It's tougher up here.

31. Henri Sorel(24, CAN)

Down a couple spots and just hanging on.

32. Lucas Kaspar(23, FRA)

Down from 26th, but this whole group of players is churning and constantly shifting.

37. Sushant Chiba(21, SRI)

About to turn 22. Did well enough in the challengers and got a first-round win at the AO to be seeded in the IW/Miami Masters for the first time. In both cases he won a match, lost to a higher-ranking player, and then lost points compared to the challenger victories he was competing against from last year. High rank was 32nd. Looks like he's going to bounce up and down a bit, hanging in the low-mid 30s until he sticks in the elite circle.

Should be seeded at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and RG in particularly should be an opportunity. Almost all the results in his points right now are challenger wins, or finals in a few cases. Tough to replace that point level outside of the Slams, until he sticks in the Top32 for a bit and can start playing some 250s and whatnot. Then maybe he can push up a little.

38. Uglesa Svajnovic(21, CRO)

The third wheel in this Edleman-Chiba tale is hanging right around as well ... and Prachuab is on the rise also, just three spots back. They are coming.

95. Jorgen Henrikkson(19, SWE)

Top 100 before your 20th birthday. We don't see that often Jorgen. Profiles as a meteoric, fast-burning talent, solid athleticism, pretty good mental game, weak from the back as he's focused a bit much on the serve. Only decent endurance and no trainer, so probably not an overwhelming future.

291. Anil Mehul(42, SRI)

Mehul plays doubles and singles futures and doesn't have the endurance to get through the draw in both, so he's plummeting. Of course the point is to get as many matches as he can, so that's fine. 508th and rising in doubles, and I think he'll have more longevity in that discipline as expected. Less than three years now. Tick tock.

256(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(15, SRI)

Took a couple months longer than most due to endurance issues but he's on now to the JG4 level. Lost his first event at that level in the first round both singles and doubles ... but won the singles title the second time around. Kasaravalli looks to be tracking like most players have, just a little behind, all of which is fitting with his abilities.
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Old 04-11-2018, 02:50 PM   #768
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Q2 Top Player Rankings

1. Mateo Kaspar(29, FRA) -- 15,610

Kaspar has come up short in the last two Slams, losing to different players at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. It's clear now his reign of terror is beginning to fade. He's got five losses on the year already, more than he lost in the previous three combined, and it's only halfway over.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(28, SRI) -- 12,470

A first-ever Wimbledon title, in which he came back from two sets down to stun King Kaspar, is definitely going to be a highlight of this season. RG was a surprise in the other direction, as he played Chinaglia as tough as anyone before losing a four-set battle in the SFs. Overall though, Dudwadkar has actually probably been the year's top player at 54-4 overall. If he can continue to be a threat to Kaspar even on hardcourts and get another win or two, it's possible that gap might continue to close, even as both players are declining.

3. Guus Dircx(28, NLD) -- 7,090

The personification of consistency, and sort of the forgotten man in this Era of Kaspar. He's won only a single Masters, but has 66 or more wins six straight years and probably a seventh here.

4. Gilberto Chinaglia(25, ITA) -- 5,345


Just a hair above the pack for the coveted 4th spot, Chinaglia is the flavor of the month after battling past Pargeter and Dudwadkar, then easing through Kaspar in the final to win at Roland Garros. He's a clay specialist and with that has earned his moment in the sun. Should be a force on that surface for at least a couple more years.

5. Karl Kaspar(23, FRA) -- 5,190


Kaspar's quality results continue as he claws his way upwards. Semifinalist at RG, QFs at Wimbledon. I expect Karl to be 4th by the end of the year, and then we'll see if he can make any inroads against the other top players. Just a matter of time before he takes Mateo's throne I think.

6. Gregory Mackenzie(26, USA) -- 5,040

A SF appearance at Wimbledon is his highlight on the year. Mackenzie has been anywhere from 4th to 8th in this volatile grouping.

7. Dick Blake(27, USA) -- 4,920

8. Hsuang-tsung Teng(28, NZL) -- 4,525


A hard fall after being a solid #4 for years.

9. Stuart Pargeter(25, USA) -- 4,450

I'm surprised at Pargeter being down here, but he's got exacdtly 10 fewer points than he did at the start of the season ... when he was 7th. Once again it's just brutal competition.

10. Cristian Castegali(26, MEX) -- 4,020

Castegali has a lead of exactly a thousand points over the next-closest player. In other words, this Top 10 is here to stay for a while.

12. Matthew Panter(27, USA)

Looks like his days of being an important factor are done.

13. Tristan Allende(24, USA)

Pretty much just held his spot, +1 from the last rankings. Allende figures to make a strong push upwards to close the year though on the US hardcourts.

14. Kenneth Brasher(23, GBR)

Somebody tell him he's not really this good.

15. Hamal Sbai(25, MOR)

Still waiting for ... something? I'm not sure what. Thought he'd be up a bit more by now.

16. Hugo Cordova(24, USA)

17. Serge Cardone](26, FRA)

18. Veini Aikio(24, FIN)

Don't miss the forest for the trees. 6 straight in a row here on page 2, just jockeying for position much like the 4th-9th ranked guys are.

19. Prakash Mooljee(34, SRI)

Several years older than all but Besson, who is falling much more quickly. Gotta hand it to the 'geezer' here, and his new management.

21. Chad Duncan(23, GBR)

Making the Brits happy.

23. Adam Hagans(23, GBR)

Ok, really happy.

24. Lucas Kaspar(23, FRA)

Of course.

26. Esteban Cortina(26, ESP)

Such as he is, the new hope of Spain.

27. Stanley Edleman(22, USA)

+2 from the last set. Again for the Americans, it's the upcoming set where they'll make or break their seasons.

28. Henri Sorel(24, CAN)

31. Ugljesa Svajnovic(22, CRO)

Oh, hello there. The 'third wheel' from Chiba's class doesn't want to be left behind in the Challengers.

32. Sushant Chiba(22, SRI)

Just barely has his foot in the door after making the third round(expected) at both RG and Wimbledon. At the first he lost to Dudwadkar in straight sets -- a tough matchup. On the grass it was almost as tough, drawing 6th-seeded Blake and a four-set loss included ending up on the wrong side of two tiebreakers. So he's knocking on the door of being able to shoot up the rankings I feel -- but not quite there yet.

331. Anil Mehul(42, SRI)

Dang he's an old fart. Been running him for nearly three decades now. Doubles is at 347th, so it's basically equalized now for him. Endurance is no better than a decent first-year junior. He's just ... well, he's old. But still getting out there in the futures circuit.

179(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(16, SRI)

After the first-round exit in his first attempt, Kasaravalli has won three straight tier-4 juniors events. Won't be long before he starts eyeing the next level. Skill has been trained up enough to get him close to the desired ratio. The 'growing pains' stage appears to be behind him.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:28 AM   #769
britrock88
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Madison, WI
You're right that the 5-10 range is close quarters. Any advice on maximizing Pargeter's chances would be appreciated!
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:57 AM   #770
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Two things really:

** Don't start the year off in a slump. Third-round loss to Allende at the AO really hurt.

Of course there's not much you can do about that, which means it's more about:

** Don't be unlucky :P. Pargeter has just had a rough year. QF loss to Chinaglia at RG was as good as anyone played him, and then the 5th-set TB defeat against Dudwadkar at the USO, also in the quarters. Shanghai/Canada/Miami early losses ... just had some bad matches in unforunate spots and then narrow misses at opportunities to break through and gain back some of the lost ground.

Even with all that still a year away from hitting your best play, but yeah it's just been a hard-luck season. I don't see anything wrong with scheduling and my calculations show your rating at 8.37(+0.06 so far over the start of the year) so you are still training and improving. Stay the course and things will eventually starting swinging your way again. As said, it's a packed field and unfortunately you were one of those who got pushed out. I have been surprised that you weren't able to stick in the Top 8 but I don't think it's anything more than bad luck.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 04-13-2018 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:15 PM   #771
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
This brings us almost up to current time. Right now we are in the Paris Masters, or just over halfway between this set of rankings(post-USO) and the end of the year.

Top Player Rankings

1. Mateo Kaspar(FRA, 29) -- 14,710

After losing in the Canada final, Kaspar took Cincinatti off which was enough to freshen him up for a run through the USO in which he didn't lose a set. It was risky though -- if he'd lost there again he would have lost the #1 ranking. That lead ain't what it used to be. Another record he set recently is becoming the first player to win two singles Olympic gold.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(SRI, 27) -- 13,720

Despite the fatigue, Dudwadkar made the Olympic final and the same at the USO, where Pargeter and Teng both had a shot and both took him to five sets before losing. In between he got another victory over Kaspar to win in Canada, then took Cincinatti as top seed to close the gap. It's very possible, even likely now, that he'll actually ascend to #1 for at least a week -- if everything stays the same it'll happen right before the WTF when last year's points for it drop off. I never thought that would happen and it's not a sure thing, but Ritwik's done very well in taking advantage of a down year for the King.

3. Guus Dircx(NLD, 28) -- 6,480

Slowly starting to fade now.

4. Karl Kaspar(FRA, 23) -- 6,150

Another SF showing at the USO has Kaspar thinking year-end #3, and he's opened up a gap to solidify his placing.

5. Dick Blake(USA, 26) -- 5,330

6. Gilberto Chinaglia(ITA, 26) -- 5,315

Fallen off a bit after the RG triumph, but mostly others have just improved making it look worse than it is.

7. Gregory Mackenzie(27, USA) -- 4,920

8. Hsuang-tsung Teng(28, NZL) -- 4,775

Still a tightly-packed group here, with Teng 555 points short of 5th place.

9. Stuart Pargeter(26, USA) -- 4,360

Up and down, a disappointing year so far to an extent.

10. Cristian Castegali(26, MEX) -- 3,765

11. Tristan Allende(24, USA)

Still charging, and less than 400 points now from the Top 10. Allende could well make it by the end of the year.

14. Kenneth Brasher(23, GBR)

15. Serge Cardone(26, FRA)

16. Prakash Mooljee(34, SRI)

Made the fourth round at the USO, which he skipped last year. Mooljee refuses to totally go away.

17. Hugo Cordova(24, USA)

18. Veini Aikio(24, FIN)

19. Hamal Sbai(25, MOR)

Should still be improving, but was several spots higher. Has Sbai already seen his best days??

20. Adam Hagans(23, GBR)

21. Chad Duncan(24, GBR)

The youngsters continue to amass. Of the 11 players ranked 11-21st, 8 are still on the rise. Six, more than half, are yet to reach their 25th birthday. We'll find out over the next couple of years which of them are for real.

24. Lucas Kaspar(24, FRA)

26. Stanley Edleman(22, USA)

Two big challengers come off his points totals in the next month, but he's almost totally transitioned over. Hasn't broken through at anything bigger than a 250 -- he won Winston-Salem just before the USO. But no QF or better in any larger events.

27. Esteban Cortina(25, ESP)

30. Sushant Chiba(22, SRI)

The draws at the Slams haven't been great -- Pargeter at the USO, and also Edleman at the Winston-Salem semis, both brushed him aside easily. Third round at RG, Wimbledon, and USO. Right where he was supposed to get to, and no further. Getting through the horde of Americans with the favorable crowds they often have won't be easy. Neither will compensating for his cement feet. Partway through transitioning from challengers to the elite ranks and no breakthrough performances here yet either.

32. Leo Kaspar(23, FRA)

Gimme a break. There's no end to these guys.

38. Ugljesa Svajnovic(22, CRO)

The third wheel takes a step back, at least for the moment.

48. Mike Rhodes(20, PHI)

Top-50 at age 20. He's got a fine manager who is reloading with some new players(alablues, ranked 14th). Great power, clay specialist, mental game is poor and decent endurance. Serve is good for his age, but baseline play not so much. I'm sure we'll hear more from him in the future.

91. Jorge Henrikkson(19, SWE)

Latest in the Top-100 teenagers category. Looks like a versatile all-around player with a strong mentality. Too early to tell much more.

367. Anil Mehul(42, SRI)

307th doubles. Still slipping and plugging away.

154(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(16, SRI)

Fatigue is still an issue at the business end of full-length tournaments. Amrik is just about ready to boost up to JG3s, and has fully entered the standard training approach now.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:16 PM   #772
Brian Swartz
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Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-USO Edition

In

Ritwik Dudwadkar -- 12,610
Mateo Kaspar -- 11,460
Gilberto Chinaglia -- 5135*

Do not adjust your browsers. Dudwadkar is actually poised to perhaps steal away the #1 ranking before the younger Karl can come grasp it. That would be a heck of a thing, even if fleeting. It's a big gap to the rest of the players after these two. A REALLY big gap. Chinaglia hasn't done diddly-squat off of clay ... but if you win a Slam, you don't need to.

Probable

Karl Kaspar -- 5550
Guus Dircx -- 4940
Dick Blake -- 4570
Hsuang-tsung Teng -- 4265
Gregory Mackenzie -- 4105

Karl Kaspar is 23 years old and #3 in the Race. Just ponder that for a moment. And then tremble in fear. Dircx is also basically a sure thing, Blake with a bit of work to do but I expect him to make it. Teng on the other hand is just barely off the bubble and declining.

Contenders


Long Shots

Stuart Pargeter -- 3380
Tristan Allende -- 3360

Surprised to see Pargeter this low, but he has a couple of good 500 results that will be going away soon. It's just been inconsistent for him -- knocked out early in two Slams and two Masters, and a lot of close QF exits. It's just him and the fast-rising Allende though with any real chance of crashing the party. The invitees look to be pretty well-established.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:22 PM   #773
Brian Swartz
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The game hasn't reached the end of the year yet, but this was worth reporting in a rare screenshot post. First, the World Tour Finals qualifiers:




I'm dubbing the younger Kaspar Prince Karl, since Mateo is the King it seemed fitting. And he's looking to lock down the #3 spot ... but the big news here is that Ritwik Dudwadkar has ascended to the #1 against all odds. He lost some ground in the WTC, as France moved on to the final but he only managed a split in a 4-1 defeat against the United States in the semis. Blake beat him in a five-set epic. But then came the Paris Masters, where Ritwik had made three straight QF exits, then a SF last year. This time he made the final and nearly won, a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 loss to guess who in which he fell just short despite being slightly the better player. One would presume Kaspar will retake the top spot after the Finals, but that is suddenly an open question. It's also a very important one in terms of history ...




King Kaspar could fail to set the record for longevity in the top spot if he does not rise to the occasion here once again. Even if he does, I'm still pretty ecstatic over Dudwadkar getting to the #1 spot for however brief a time(minimum two weeks). I thought the string of Sri Lankans to hit the pinnacle of tennis was sure to be broken as I've mentioned a number of times, but at least for now it continues, and the expected Kaspar transition is interrupted. Playing spoiler against the best player to ever wield a racket is a cool thing.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:55 PM   #774
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
32. Leo Kaspar(23, FRA)

Gimme a break. There's no end to these guys.

*laughs* *sobs*
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:51 PM   #775
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It's House Kaspar's world, and we're all just living in it.
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Old 04-19-2018, 06:14 PM   #776
Brian Swartz
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You have spoken well and wisely, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
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Old 04-20-2018, 08:13 PM   #777
Brian Swartz
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In a few hours another year will be in the books. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to end-of-year stuff. For now ...

World Tour Finals

It started badly for Dudwadkar when he dropped his first round-robin match to Hsuang-tsung Teng, 6-4, 6-1. Teng hasn't been a real threat for a couple of years, but really shut him down on this day. Dudwadkar rallied to win his next two and move on to the semis, where he met King Kaspar earlier than hoped. In a match that would determine the year-end #1, Dudwadkar played well enough to win but lost thanks to failing on 11 of 12 break-point chances. Kaspar's ability to come through in the clutch makes him a champion again, a title won more between the ears than through physical ability. In the final it was King over Prince in three, an all-Kaspar matchup.

The two leading members of House Kaspar* would go on to lead France to a dominant victory over the United States in the WTC final. It's the second title in a row for the French. Last time someone other than Sri Lanka accompnlished that was 15 years ago, when the Iglar-led Czechs accomplished the feat.

*Patent Pending by Izulde


Final Country Rankings

1. Sri Lanka - 2565
2. France - 2414
3. United States - 2323
4. Spain - 2235
5. Argentina - 2177
6. Russia - 2025
7. Croatia - 1988
8. Chile - 1932
9. Italy - 1842
10. Morocco - 1825

France's back-to-back titles have brought them within striking distance. If they manage a 3-peat, and I wouldn't be against that with two of the top three players, we stand a fair chance of losing the #1 spot. After a 12-year run in which Sri Lanka was the champion at least once in any 2-year period, we have now lost in three of the past four. And with all the Kaspars coming in, things are about to get real, as they say.

Next year we'll face them early. #2 France is in Group 4 along with us, a true travesty. #9 Italy and #38 Finland fill out that draw, so making sure we get past the Italians will be vital. Chiba is fairly close to surpassing Mooljee for the second singles spot ... but isn't there yet. The sooner that happens the better.
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:31 PM   #778
Brian Swartz
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2058 Top Player Rankings

1. Mateo Kaspar(30, FRA) -- 14,910

King Kaspar lost six times last year, as many as he'd suffered in the previous four seasons combined. And still finished the year on top, claiming two Slams, three Masters, the Olympics, a second straight WTC, and the World Tour Finals. Now though the watch begins in earnest to see how long he remains there. I think he's likely to stay on top this year, but it's no longer a sure thing.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(28, SRI) -- 13,910

I didn't realize until I looked back, but Dudwadkar actually won six Masters in a row(Miami through Cincinatti). Given that he'd acquired a total of just two Shields prior to this year, that was a heck of a thing. And still it wasn't quite enough. The best chance was probably in the RG semifinals, where he was even with Chinaglia after two tiebreaks and would have had a good chance in the final had he prevailed there. But with margins this small, one can really only celebrate that he did become #1 in the world ... even for just a couple weeks. Nobody else has yet been close to interrupting Kaspar's reign of terror. 88 wins on the year, 9 more than his previous high. That's often enough to be the best.

3. Karl Kaspar(24, FRA) -- 7,000

Prince Karl made the QFs or SFs pretty much everywhere, including a bronze in the Olympics, and then made the WTF final along with helping France defend their WTC title. Now he sets his sights on closing the considerable gap keeping him from being a legitimate challenger for #1.

4. Gilberto Chinaglia(26, ITA) -- 5,675

The Roland Garros champion made it to the quarters or better just twice in the rest of the big events. He'll either need to repeat or improve drastically on those other performances. This year could go either way; his improved seeding could aid him in gaining momentum, or(probably more likely) he could crash like a rock.

5. Dick Blake(26, USA) -- 5,190

6. Guus Dircx(28, NLD) -- 5,010

The long-time #3 made his move into doubles this year. I think it was early, but it's certainly understandable. Dircx will be best known for being a key member of the 'loyal opposition', and also for his lone RG title six years ago. It's time for him to say good-bye now as he falls through the rankings, and probably not particularly slowly.

7. Hsuang-tsung Teng(29, NZL) -- 4,895

Still hanging on as a danger, as he showed Ritwik in the WTF.

8. Gregory Mackenzie(27, USA) -- 3,980

A disappointing year as Blake was essentially left alone as the US standard-bearer.

9. Tristan Allende(24, USA) -- 3,660

Closest thing the crown Prince has to a rival, and Allende will of course have the backing of favorable crowds in multiple venues. It'll be curious to see whether he can do what Blake/Mackenzie/Pargeter have failed to do, and crack the Top 4 this year.

10. Cristian Castegali(26, MEX) -- 3,600

Just hanging out basically, and appears to be just past his best tennis.

11. Stuart Pargeter(26, USA) -- 3,435

Unquestionably the biggest disappointment, though I do think mostly it was likely a hard-luck case. Regardless, if he is to be relevant and fulfill his potential it needs to happen this year. The next two should be his best ... but will they be, or has his psyche been permanently damaged?

13. Kenneth Brasher(25, GBR)

Wasn't even on the radar last year. We'll see if he can back up that impressive rise.

14. Hamal Sbai(25, MOR)

I was close to writing him off, but a late-season bounce gained him several positions. Is Sbai ready to finally make good on his skills, or is this just a blip on the screen of a terminally-ill patient?

15. Veini Aikio(24, FIN)

Mid-20s last year; Finland's latest good-but-not-great player is pushing upwards.

16. Serge Cardone(26, FRA)

Almost exactly where he was last year, and many think he's gone as far as he can go.

17. Hugo Cordova(24, USA)

A second straight year of steady progression, from 30th to 24th and now another half-dozen or so spots. Hugo's still young; can he keep it up?

20. Prakash Mooljee(34, SRI)

Still the #2 in Sri Lanka's national efforts, but that probably will finally end in a few months.

21. Adam Hagans(23, GBR)

Another new Brit.

22. Lucas Kaspar(24, FRA)

Slowly ascending.

23. Chad Duncan(24, GBR)

There were no notable English players last year, and now they are three. Probably got sick of all the fun the Kaspars were having and decided to do something about it.

24. Sushant Chiba(22, SRI)

41st last year, so this is quality if unspectacular progress. Chiba particularly showed signs that he's getting over the hump against moderately higher-ranking players at the year's end with his showing in Paris(d. Chinaglia). He'll make his WTC doubles debut this week, and with any luck it won't be long until he does the same in singles. I would imagine Sushant has now passed his juniors nemesis(all of them) for good.

25. Esteban Cortina(25, ESP)

Spain at least is not completely gone.

27. Leo Kaspar(24, FRA)

Latest to join the throng from House Kaspar.

31. Stanley Edleman(22, USA)

No longer the most-accomplished player his age, Edleman actually drops two spots from a year ago. It's far too early to even consider writing him off though -- treading water isn't that unusual when breaking into the elite class. We haven't heard the last of Stanley.

32. Chalerm Prachuab(22, THA)

Also in that same junior class, he just took a little longer to get going as a pro. Despite his relative youth, Prachuab is already considered the top Thai player ever. His career-high of 30th equals the national record, one that is certain to fall before long.

36. Mike Rhodes(20, PHI)

Normally I stop at 32nd for the most part, but this is pretty unusual; knocking on the door before his 21st birthday. We'll need to take a closer look at this phenom.

Svajnovic and Bochette, other members of the Edleman juniors class, have dropped into the mid-40s. They may well be back, but they are off the radar screen for now.

389. Anil Mehul(42, SRI)

Continues to do well enough in doubles(223rd) to hang right around the 200 mark while gradually slipping in singles. The current training evaluation is 5.38. Continuing on pace for the expected 'high' 5.4 or 'low' 5.5 ending point, hopefully the latter, with just over two years to go. After this year, I need to be cautious in making sure I don't over-shoot the mark. If I get to 45 without enough xp in the bank to become a trainer, he just retires and I lose all the effort. That would be the stuff nightmares are made of, so caution will definitely be in order.

65(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(16, SRI)

Kasaravalli stayed at the JG4 level all last year and it ended up for the best as he didn't win his final few events. Endurance is still an issue. It's looking like a weak class with only two players ranked higher that are younger than Amrik right now.

Manager: 4th, 28.2k points. This has been staying steady for a while. Hugoboy, manager of the Kaspars, is over 50k but everyone else is pretty much in contact. And I expect to more or less tread water until Mehul is made into a trainer. Then things will get more interesting.
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:42 PM   #779
Brian Swartz
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Surpassing Gorritepe
Kaspar's Coronation

The title of this section is not an accident. All debate is now over as to who is the GOAT. It's already been cataloged that he has the two best seasons in history, the longest string of Slam success, etc. Here are the relevant shortlists:

Slam Titles

1. Mateo Kaspar - 26
2. Eric Gorritepe - 23
3. Nicholas Sullivan - 17
4. Martin Prieto - 16
5. Antonin Iglar - 14
6. Oliver Haresign - 11

WTF Titles

1. Mateo Kaspar - 9
2. Eric Gorritepe - 6
3. Martin Prieto - 5
4(t). Antonin Iglar - 4
4(t). Marcelo Rios - 4

This one in particular is just ridiculous. Half-again better than anyone else. Nobody but Mateo has won the year-end event in almost a full decade. This last year he was just a few weeks younger than Gorritepe's record for the oldest to win the title there. I'm not betting against him setting that mark with a 10th crown this season.

Masters Titles

1. Mateo Kaspar - 55
2. Eric Gorritepe - 52
3(t). Antonin Iglar - 32
3(t). Nicholas Sullivan - 32
5. Martin Prieto - 30
6. Oliver Haresign - 23

This is where his legacy was dented the most this year. Of course it's still just a matter of how high his record goes. And we might just mention here that he's the first ... ever ... to win multiple Olympic singles golds. Just for some icing on the cake.

Weeks at #1

1. Eric Gorritepe - 393
2. Mateo Kaspar - 391
3. Martin Prieto - 340
4. Nicholas Sullivan - 304
5. Antonin Iglar - 247
6. Oliver Haresign - 228

This might be the best record of them all, and it's guaranteed to fall. There's no way he loses the top spot until at least after the Australian Open, at which point he'll have added a minimum of four to his mark.

Prize Money

1. Martin Prieto - $122.9M
2. Eric Gorritepe - $105M
3. Mateo Kaspar - $96.6M
4. Oliver Haresign - $82.5M
5. Marcelo Rios - $80.0M
6. Nicholas Sullivan - $78.4M
7. Antonin Iglar -- $78.3M

Soon he will become the sport's third $100 million-dollar man, long held as a cross-world standard of greatness.

What more is there to be said? Mateo stands alone at the pinnacle, the standard by which all future legends will be judged. I expect it will be decades anyone sees the like of him again.
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:34 PM   #780
Brian Swartz
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2059 Preview

1. Mateo Kaspar(83%, 8.87, -0.07)

30 years old, and still slightly better than any player I have every had was at their peak. I think he overachieved two years ago, underachieved last year, and I expect a middle ground this year with Mateo being a comfortable #1 probably the whole way.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(87%, 8.67, -0.16)

Wasn't quite as good last year as this indicates and I don't think he's fallen quite this far either, but definitely past his best tennis now. All evidence indicates we've seen his best shot, but Ritwik should still be quite good for at least another couple years.

3. Karl Kaspar(96%, 8.51, +0.12)

Only a merely-average mental game prevents him from being a real threat to the #2 spot at least. I think Prince Karl will have to spend another year of apprenticeship closing the gap before he ascends further. He should easily be able to hold off any challenge from the rest of the Top 10.

4. Gilberto Chinaglia(91%, 8.33, +0.08)

Clay expertise, big-time serve, strong mentality ... but he doesn't have the baseline play or power to consistently back it up. I honestly think he caught lightning in a bottle last year and I don't think he can do it again at RG. I usually avoid such bold predictions since you never know what can happen; but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

5. Dick Blake(88%, 8.32, -0.02)

Continuing a barely-perceptible slide, Blake is doing well staving off Father Time.

6. Guus Dircx(83%, 8.43, -0.19)

This is what switching to doubles training can do to you. Even his mental strength won't arrest this, though there's still enough ability to hang in the Top 10 most likely.

7. Hsuang-tsung Teng(84%, 8.31, -0.14)

The lure of doubles has caught Teng, also down three spots from last year, as well. His prognosis is likewise similar.

8. Gregory Mackenzie(88%, 8.31, -0.13)

Mackenzie doesn't have that excuse, and he shouldn't be declining this fast yet.

9. Tristan Allende(93%, 8.30, -0.04)

That's definitely not what I expected to see. A slight decline at his age ... yet he rocketed up here from 30th position a year ago?? One of those two things will definitely need to revert to the mean, but at this point I wouldn't expect Allende to be a threat for much more unless he is able to grow his skills.

10. Cristian Castelgali(90%, 8.27, -0.04)

8th a year ago, and he's probably near the end of his days on the first page.

11. Stuart Pargeter(92%, 8.33, +0.02)

I do have to say Pargeter should be improving somewhat more than this -- but also, that he's right there with anyone that isn't in that Top 3. Almost all of the others are declining so I still think he should spend significant time in the Top 10 this year. Any small factor could tip the scales for him in either direction.

13. Kenneth Brasher(96%, 7.80, ??)

Time to get to know the Brits. Brasher has a fine serve but is weak from the back of the court and slow. It's a mystery to me how he's risen this far this fast, but I do expect some manner of regression.

14. Hamal Sbai(93%, 8.63, +0.02)

I've never seen a player rated this high not be able to make progress. I think it's the weak serve that has cost Sbai, though it is improving. Baseline play is exceeded only by Dudwadkar, and he has the potential according to this to be the world's third-best player, ahead of Prince Karl. Hamal will need to continue his strong play at the end of the last year though -- he is quickly running out of time here.

15. Veini Aikio(94%, 8.12, +0.09)

Aikio is essentially the opposite of Sbai; he has the best serve on the tour currently, and it has brought him steady improvement.

16. Serge Cardone(91%, 8.04, +0.05)

17. Hugo Cordova(93%, 8.16, +0.13)

Cordova looks set to follow the same course as Aikio, an elite serve and a better(and quicker-improving) overall package. Not by much, but he's the one player in this range right now that seems a solid bet to make the Top 10.

20. Prakash Mooljee(73%, 7.96)

21. Adam Hagans(96%, 7.86, ??)

Hagans isn't much different from Brasher, although not as over-ranked. He also depends more on athleticism, and less on his technical abilities.

22. Lucas Kaspar(95%, 7.93, +0.17)

Limited athletic ability means Lucas will need to rely on improving his technical abilities, especially in rally situations, to continue advancing.

23. Chad Duncan(94%, 7.94, ??)

Third Brit and they are all in the same ability range. Duncan appears to be a little better technically; his serve is already quite effective. I think he could actually well end up being the best of the trio.

24. Sushant Chiba(98%, 8.26, +0.28)

I'm quite pleased with this level of improvement. At this point Chiba should reasonably expect to continue moving up. I figure he should be around 15th before long, and be on the doorstep of the Top 10 by year's end.

25. Esteban Cortina(93%, 8.18, ??)

Another newcomer. Cortina has a lot going for him, but also an abysmally-bad serve; much more inadequate than Sbai's(it's at 3.3 right now, with 4.0 the standard for top players). It'll be hard for him to produce quality results at this level so long as that continues, and he has very limited time to change his development.

27. Leo Kaspar(96%, 8.12, ??)

Leo definitely has a brighter future than Lucas in my view. He's no Mateo or even Karl, but good athleticism and mental abilities make him a near shoo-in for the Top 10 so long as he keeps developing.

31. Stanley Edleman(96%, 8.08, +0.13)

Still showing solid gains. Further evidence that last season's stall in the rankings should be considered merely an anomaly.

32. Chalerm Prachuab(97%, 8.03, ??)

Slow but a strong mental game and solid technical skills for his age. Prachuab is another meteoric player, and figures to have a very similar career path to Edleman from this point out.

36. Mike Rhodes(99%, 7.47, ??)

Rhodes is clearly not as good as his ranking would indicate, though he certainly could still be a major factor. Immensely strong and a clay expert, he's emphasized those assets and an already-quality serve into some early good results. Problem is a totally anemic baseline game that needs a ton of work. How well that works out for him will be an interesting thing to watch, but I think it will be a while before we hear anything big from him.

389. Anil Mehul(55%, 6.33, -0.26)

Even pretty-good futures players have now surpassed Mehul. His days as a champion are a long time in the rear-view mirror indeed.

65(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(76%, 4.11, +1.05)

This is somewhat below the typical improvement rate, demonstrating once again the inferior endurance issue here.


There continues to be a horde of young players coming up, while most of the Top 10 is declining. Only a couple(Karl Kaspar, Tristan Allende) are currently in place, but more will come soon.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 04-21-2018 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:03 AM   #781
Brian Swartz
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Q1 Rankings

1. Mateo Kaspar(30, FRA) - 15,310

Mateo has shown the heart of a champion in the early going this year. He's unblemished so far, but it has been far from easy. An epic AO final saw Dudwadkar push him to 8-6 in the 5th, and both hardcourt Masters went the distance as well. Indian Wells was a 6-4 triumph of Prince Karl, and Dudwadkar was back for a tiebreak in Miami. But each time the King found a way to win.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(28, SRI) - 13,350

That Australian final would have put Ritwik back in the #1 spot for several weeks had he managed to pull it off. It was close(200-194 in points) and he served well(25 aces) but it wasn't enough. He's doing more than enough to stay in the runners-up spot so far.

3. Karl Kaspar(24, FRA) - 7,800

A steady rise for the Prince, and more of the same expected. The hill to climb is a large one though. His record against Dudwadkar is 12 matches, 12 defeats -- including one in the WTC already this year and a match in Paris last season. They've been close recently, but until he starts winning those consistently he's staying right where he is.

4. Dick Blake(26, USA) - 5,600

Steady results for the already-declining phoenix; Blake was a semifinalist at both IW and Miami, taking advantage of the home crowd.

5. Gilberto Chinaglia(26, ITA) - 5,330

Soon we'll see if the Italian can repeat last year's clay-court dominance, or if he's just a one-hit wonder.

6. Hsuang-tsung Teng(29, NZL) - 4,400

After Australia he and Dircx began to focus on doubles exclusively, so it's over for Teng in terms of these rankings.

7. Cristian Castegali(26, MEX) - 3,910

A couple of quarterfinals in the big events have Castegali continuing to show himself a steady player.

8. Gregory Mackenzie(28, USA) - 3,835

Hasn't looked particularly great this year(just the one QF at Indian Wells), but so far just enough to keep him ahead of the pack.

9. Tristan Allende(25, USA) - 3,660

Hard to complain about a SF showing at AO(l. Dudwadkar); a couple of QFs on his home turf weren't spectacular, but not terrible either. Not the explosion I thought we might see, but the rise of Karl has made it tougher to break through any further. He's still a comer.

10. Kenneth Brasher(24, GBR) - 3,395

Continuing to play WAY above his head.

11. Stuart Pargeter(26, USA)

And this guy's still the opposite. Third round in Australia(l. Edleman in five sets). R3 in Indian Wells(l. Sorel??) and R2 in Miami(l. Svajnovic). All close defeats, but only one at most is excusable. He did win the Rotterdam 500 in between there, but that doesn't come close to compensating for this kind of epic choke-job. Pargeter is frittering away what should be one of his best seasons.

12. Hamal Sbai(26, MOR)

Gradually showing signs. He's supposed to be a quality player on clay, so let's see him demonstrate it this year and vault into the Top 10 finally.

14. Hugo Cordova(25, USA)

Over 3k points. That's rather astonishing - there have been times when you barely can find 10 guys at that level. This is as many as I've ever seen, and it was more before Dircx plummeted past. It's really tough to bash your way further up here, as multiple players have and are discovering. For Cordova, he's up another three spots in the early months, continuing his gradual ascent.

17. Veini Aikio(25, FIN)

Perhaps hitting the wall now.

18. Serge Cardone(26, FRA)

Also down a couple spots.

20. Lucas Kaspar(24, FRA)

+2.

21. Adam Hagans(23, GBR)

Holding steady, unlike his countryman Brasher who can do no wrong.

22. Sushant Chiba(22, SRI)

Not up a huge amount in terms of position(was 24th), but a four-set loss to Sbai in the Australian 3rd round was followed by making a round better at Indian Wells, then his first QF in Miami -- where he beat Svajnovic and then #8 Mackenzie in a third-set tiebreak. That could prove to be a defining, spring-board upset for Chiba. It did put him on the WTC team, where he contributed to a 4-1 win over Italy that put Sri Lanka into the knockout rounds. A loss, and we would have been sent out in group play with France the victors.

23. Leo Kaspar(23, FRA)

Still moving upo.

24. Stanley Edleman(22, USA)

Stanley leapt above Chiba for a month or so thanks to a run to the Acapulco(500) final - he's done treading water apparently and joining the upwards push.

25. Esteban Cortina(25, ESP)

26. Chalerm Prachaub(22, THA)

A couple of early-season trips to 250 semis have Prachuab the third wheel now in the Edleman class. Svajnovic, not so much -- it's all he can do to stay in the Top 50 these days.

28. Jacek Andrejova(22, CZE)

A new one here -- the Czech Republic perhaps making a return? It's almost all Challengers for young Jacek, so we'll see how well he sticks.

31. Chad Duncan(31, GBR)

Down from 23rd already. Not all of the Brits finding it easy going here .

32. Prakash Mooljee(32, SRI)

Sinking, but new management is focusing more on doubles. He's got himself back on the national team there at Chiba's expense.

34. Mike Rhodes(21, PHI)

Holding just outside, although he was up to 32nd briefly.

390. Anil Mehul(43, SRI)

Briefly made it back into the Top 100 with some good WTC doubles results. Holding in singles and now slipping to the lower futures tiers. And of course now less than two years to go for training.

105(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(16, SRI)

Down 40 spots but it's not that unusual for juniors here. So far in tier-3 he has one final and a couple of QFs to show for it. I'm also experimenting with a new training approach with him. I'm going for a 'smoother' training path - more even skill/service at the start with the gap between them gradually widening. Based on what I've seen from other players(Sbai's struggles, big servers moving up quickly) I think this will help get through the challenger ranks a little better. No change to what I'll do for players once they reach the top, it's just a question of how best to do things while they are getting there. I'm also emphasizing clay a little more as that tends to decline in top player -- gotta practice where the best are and most of the year athat's on hardcourts. So we'll see how that works out.
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Old 05-08-2018, 06:46 AM   #782
law90026
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Why age 45 to be a trainer btw?
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Old 05-08-2018, 06:55 AM   #783
Brian Swartz
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Players automatically retire at 45. If you don't make them a trainer by that time, you lose the option. You can do it earlier of course, but that limits how much they can improve their abilities and therefore the quality of training they'll provide.
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Old 05-08-2018, 10:30 AM   #784
law90026
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Ah ok was wondering what the thought process was behind that.

Separately I recall you said you create new players on week 52. Is there a reason for that?
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Old 05-08-2018, 01:06 PM   #785
Brian Swartz
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That's more personal preference -- I like to have them begin at the start of a calendar year. It would probably be a little more optimal not to do it then though. To get the most benefit from juniors you could aim to have players turn 18 just after the start of the year -- that would mean creating them between Wimbledon and the USO as most of them come in at about 14 and a half.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:00 PM   #786
Brian Swartz
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Q2 Rankings Update

It was pretty much a bizarre, topsy-turvy spring on the tennis courts this year.

1. Mateo Kaspar(FRA, 30) - 15,230

King Mateo is still the unquestioned #1. He only added one Masters(Rome), losing a tight Wimbledon final to Dudwadkar that he should have won for the second straight year(nine straight finals there, but it should be eight straight titles as well). In Madrid, his clay season got off to a rocky start as none other than Chiba bounced him in the third round. At RG, a straight-set loss to Prince Karl in the semis was a lot more palatable. Those are his only three losses of the year, and kept him in a safe lead but not nearly the dominance we've seen in the past.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(SRI, 29) - 10,850

Ritwik looked to be falling off a cliff in the clay season; third-round exits in both Masters, then a 4th-round departure at Roland Garros, straight-sets to Stuart Pargeter. Clearly Dudwadkar was no longer in the conversation of the tour's best players -- until he won the Halle(500) warmup and then trounced his way through the Wimbledon draw, coming back from two sets down against the King in the final for a second straight year. This season's scoreline was 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 8-6. Second slam this year with an 8-6 final set between these two; the first was Kaspar's triumph in Australia. In any case, Sri Lanka's current senior statesman ensured he'd be relevant for at least another year with this surge, which saw him also beat Mackenize in five in the semifinals beforehand. There's not much in Mateo's career to quibble with, but his late-career Wimbledon results are a real sore spot - and Ritwik's responsible. Enough to keep him in the top-challenger spot for now.

3. Karl Kaspar(FRA, 24) - 9,360

Karl could well be #2 by year's end or before. After semifinal exits in Rome and Madrid, he staked to claim to being arguably the best clay player on the planet with a run to claim his first Slam title at Roland Garros. Didn't lose a set until the final, which could have gone either way; 10-8 in the 5th over Pargeter who definitely needed it more. A great tournament by both players, but the heir apparent is stepping forward here. He's closed most of the gap needed to move up to #2.

4. Dick Blake(USA, 27) - 4,890

Look at the points gap here; Karl Kaspar has almost double Blake's total. It looks like it's going to be a merry-go-round for this 'best of the rest' spot until someone separates themselves from the herd.

5. Gilberto Chinaglia(ITA, 26) - 4,840

Chinaglia proved to be a one-hit wonder as the best on the dirt, but beat a couple of pesky Brits to get to the Wimbledon semis and stay in contention for the 4th spot.

6. Stuart Pargeter(USA, 26) - 4,350

Better late than never? Showed a lot more moxie on clay than I thought he possessed, inches away from winning RG and also making the final in Rome. He figures now to peak somewhere in the 3rd-5th range, depending on how things go for him the next couple of years. This is the break he needed two years ago.

7. Tristan Allende(USA, 25) -- 4,040

Easy to forget about him this time of year. It'll be a lot harder in the summer.

8. Hamal Sbai(MOR, 26) -- 3,860

Another player finally pulling his cranium out of his posterior. Final at Monte Carlo, SF at Madrid, then kind of fell flat in the Channel Slams. Overplaying was part of it, but he's taken another step here for sure.

9. Hugo Cordova(USA, 25) - 3,660

Trying to have his cake and eat it too by playing in doubles, Cordova got away with it; SF at RG, QF at Wimbledon. That's enough to vault him into WTF contention, but eventually he's going to have to choose.

10. Gregory Mackenzie(USA, 28) - 3,595

Half of this Top 10 hails from the United States.

12. Kenneth Brasher(GBR, 24)

Interesting situation now with the top players from Great Britain good enough for that homecourt edge at Wimbledon to get them a round or two. Haven't run into that before in this dynasty because none of them have been strong enough players for it to matter. That's no longer the case.

13. Sushant Chiba(SRI, 23)

The defining moment for Chiba was his shocking run to take the title at the Madrid Masters. King Mateo and Prince Karl both were victimized, as was Chinaglia in the final. The one thousand points he got there is still just over a third of his total. I definitely wouldn't give the title back, but it also had some negative side effects. I wasn't planning on him going that far obviously, and it played into an early Rome loss and a third-round defeat to Prachuab in four at Roland Garros. Then at Wimbledon, third-round out again, 21st-seeded Chad Duncan in a close four. Chiba is never going to be a great player on grass with how slow he is, and combine that with the crowd edge to Duncan and it's a understandable loss. Sushant is now at his career-high ranking, knocking on the edge of the Top 10, and has yet to make it past the third round of a Slam(six straight losses at that stage). It's no real secret what he needs to do now for the next step.

14. Veini Aikio(FIN, 25)

19. Chalerm Prachuab(THA, 23)

A surprisingly strong year for him.

20. Adam Hagans(GBR, 24)

21. Chad Duncan(GBR, 24)

23. Esteban Cortina(ESP, 26)

Looking like perhaps he has peaked. Spain sure ain't what it used to be.

24. Jacek Andrejova(CZE, 23)

Big jump already from 35th last year.

26. Stanley Edleman(USA, 24)

Seems to be treading water here, but still has time.

27. Venicio Penni(ITA, 26)

Only 48th at the start of the year, Penni is making a bid to come this year's 'surprise newcomer/journeyman'.

28. Tomas Guadiana(ARG, 24)

A 4th-round showing at Wimbledon was his best in a Slam yet, and has Guadiana thinking bigger thoughts. Up from 40th.

30. Nino Tarkhan-Mouravi(GRG, 23)

Umm, who??? After hovering just outside the Top 32 last year this foreigner is moving up. He's got established management and is playing an eclectic mix of events, mostly losing early in big ones. Still, one to watch for the future.

31. Brian Meikeljohn(IND, 21)

Top 32 at age 21. That's impressive. I kept seeing this name as a qualifier in various events. Figures that those days are largely over now. He was just 74th at the start of the year. A quick survey of his abilities shows that he could be a great one. Possibly the best returner-of-serve ever, with speed topping at out ... brace yourself ... 5.4 right now. Endurance and strength are quality but not great, fairly good mental game, and a good technical balance for his age right now. Manager doesn't have a long track record, but clearly doing something right here. Quality but not great trainer(4.8). As I write this he prepares the final of another 250.

I'm solid. Watch the name Brian Meikeljohn. Great first name(*snicker*) and for us Sri Lankans, he hails from nearby India. What else is weird? Not a created player, a natural regen. Who was hired by hugoboy(the House Kaspar manager) early on, then fired two years later. Then the current manager picked him up right away, and has stuck with him for over five years now. To impressive effect I might add. He's my 'too-early' favorite for the next non-Kaspar to sit on the throne of international tennis.

32. Henri Sorel(CAN, 25)

Despite his somewhat youngish age, Sorel's basically at his peak. Clearly wasn't quite good enough.

33. Mike Rhodes(PHI, 21)

This phenom is stuck in 'not quite there yet'. But he's close.

442. Anil Mehul(SRI, 43)

Up to 132nd in doubles now that he's back on the national team for that. Generally not making it very far even in tier-3 futures.

112(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(SRI, 17)

Endurance really showing itself to be a problem; still has issues at the end of the JG3 events. Two finals and two semis in the last four though, so I think it's just the being worn out that is stopping him from winning them.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:30 PM   #787
Izulde
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What's the current worst country in the world?
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:37 PM   #788
Brian Swartz
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Interesting question. It's Malaysia, and it's not close. They have the minimum 100 points, and have had that amount for as long as the game tracks history(a few decades, so not all the way back to the beginning). At other points there have been countries tied with them for worst, but their national best is 100 points so they've literally never won a WTC tie, even at the lowest tier, in the entirety of their history. They suck every bit as much as Sri Lanka did when I began this (mis)adventure.

They're so bad, the list ranks them 88th … out of 86 nations :P. Top player in their history, by far, is Kasem Chutimant, who 'flourished' about 15 years ago and reached 153rd in singles, 205th in doubles. A low-level challenger player at his peak. Another guy decades earlier was a low-level futures performer; nobody else in the Top 1000(meaning they were amateur level at best). Another way of looking at that; my players, when they emerge from the junior level and go pro at age 18, with about four years of physical maturation and nearly a decade of skill development ahead of them, are at least as good as the third-best player Malaysia has produced. Ever.

Or as Emilio Estevez's character in The Mighty Ducks might have put it: "They REALLY suck"

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 05-21-2018 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:39 PM   #789
Izulde
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Maybe I should give this another go then and try to bring Malayasia to uh, comparative glory by their standards.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:59 PM   #790
Brian Swartz
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Q3 Rankings

1. Mateo Kaspar(FRA, 30) - 14,860

Skipped Cincinatti again because reasons, but took the Canada Masters and the USO -- the latter in yet another 5-setter over Dudwadkar. These two just keep battling it out in the twilight of their careers, with the King still winning most of them. Two more Slam titles would give him an unfathomable 30, and he's less than $1 million in winnings from passing Gorritepe for #2 on that list.

2. Ritwik Dudwadkar(SRI, 29) - 10,000

Took the gift of the Cincinatti title with three competitive matches to finish it off, then really should have won the US Open after getting crushed by Kaspar at Canada 2 & 1. In Flushing Meadows he out-aced the legend 27-16 but won just 1 of 10 BP chances. Definitely had his chances, and they've had some real wars this year in what is becoming a real rivalry.

3. Karl Kaspar(FRA, 24) -- 9,080

Prince Karl went into the US Open with a real shot at the #2 spot in the rankings, but instead regressed a bit with a QF exit to Mackenzie. He also lost 6-4, 6-4 to Dudwadkar in Cincinatti so he had his chances. Third loss on the year, 0-14 lifetime ... and yet he's still in striking distance.

4. Gilberto Chinaglia(ITA, 27) - 4,970

Made the semis in Cincinatti but otherwhise did very little over the last few months(third round at the USO). Mostly he's here because others fell enough.

5. Hamal Sbai(MOR, 26) - 4,790

A strong year continues(QF loss to M. Kaspar most recently) and he could well snag the #4 by the end of it. As could others.

6. Dick Blake(USA, 27) - 4,780

Too early to be sure, but it looks like he's reached the beginning of the end.

7. Tristan Allende(USA, 25) - 4,110

Won Winston-Salem and made the semifinals at the US Open to finish up his summer with aplomb. Notable there was a 5-set victory in the fourth round over Pargeter, a tough matchup for both players.

8. Stuart Pargeter(USA, 27) - 4,090

Early losses at the USO and Canada(3R to Prachuab?) have this year looking too much like the previous ones. He's at his peak right now it appears so it's not at all clear he's going to get another chance.

9. Hugo Cordova(USA, 25) - 3,930

Continues to gradually make his mark ... and play too many events.

10. Gregory Mackenzie(USA, 28) - 3,865

Quite possibly back in the WTF race after a fine run to the USO semis. Five Americans in a row from 6-10 here. That's a heck of a thing.

11. Veini Aikio(FIN, 25)

Canada semi was his high point, otherwhise just staying solid.

13. Sushant Chiba(SRI, 23)

Yet another third-round Slam loss, this one to Meikeljohn. Told you that guy was a menace. It was close in the last two sets, but still lost in three ... 2-1 overall now against him but this one was the biggie.

14. Kenneth Brasher(GBR, 24)

17. Chalerm Prachuab(THA, 23)

QF in Canada and the win over Pargeter bumped him up quite a bit. He's making a run at it.

19. Brian Meikeljohn(IND, 21)

Top 20 at age 21. That's not done much.

20. Adam Hagans(GBR, 24)

24. Chad Duncan(GBR, 25)

25. Jacek Andrejova(CZE, 23)

28. Mike Rhodes(PHI, 21)

Oh, hi there. Two 21-year-olds in the elite circle. Still hasn't played anything other than Challengers/WTC since the AO in January, so let's not get too excited.

29. Stanley Edleman(USA, 23)

Still stuck it seems. Lost in three tiebreaks to Irishman John Hart in the opening round of his home Slam. That stings.

30. Henri Sorel(CAN, 25)

31. Tomas Guadiana(ARG, 24)

32. Ugljesa Svajnovic(CRO, 23)

Told you he'd be back. Beat #4 Chinaglia and Brasher as well en route to the USO quarterfinals. Heady stuff for an unseeded player. And by the way the youngsters keep on coming; next four players after him are also 25 or younger.

416. Anil Mehul(SRI, 43)

148th doubles. More importantly, a year and a half to go on his training work. Tick-tock.

125(J). Amrik Kasaravalli(SRI, 17)

Pretty well stuck here until he manages to win some tier-3 events, which hasn't happened yet. Definitely behind schedule, though it's not surprising.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:25 AM   #791
britrock88
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This year's WTF race is nuts.
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:46 AM   #792
britrock88
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There's a closely bunched set of players starting at #4 in the world and ending at about #12. Here's how the group stacks up heading into the Paris Masters, a 1000-point tournament and the last of the year before the rankings for the World Tour Finals are set.

(For reference, #3 Karl Kaspar has 9720 points, and #13 Cristian Castelgali has 2810.)

4. Gilberto Chinaglia (ITA) - 5000 (10)

After last year's first-round crash-out in Paris, he has almost nothing to lose, so he should be safe.

5. Hamal Sbai (MAR) - 4775 (90)

A title at the Japan Open 500 (H) a few weeks back, followed by a QF appearance (180) at the Shanghai Masters (H), has put Sbai in a strong position.

6. Dick Blake (USA) - 4480 (90)

Recently finished as runner-up in the China Open (300) (H) and a quarterfinalist (180) in the Shanghai Masters (H) to recapture his position as the top American.

7. Stuart Pargeter (USA) - 4405 (10)

A run to the semifinals (180) of the China Open (H) and the Shanghai Masters (H) (360) have helped Pargeter maintain an inside track to a WTF berth.

8. Tristan Allende (USA) - 4340 (180)

Has been playing catch-up throughout hard-court season; wins at 250s in Atlanta and Winston-Salem led into a SF (720) at the US Open. He's also since been the runner-up (300) at the Japan Open (H) and a semifinalist (360) at the Shanghai Masters (H). Despite all that, he is obviously the most vulnerable, with the most points to defend and positioned at #8.

9. Gregory Mackenzie (USA) - 4125 (90)

Has a couple 500 SFs (180) since his SF run (720) at the US Open. Has a strong history at Paris, with SF and QF appearances 2 and 3 years ago.

10. Hugo Cordova (USA) - 4000 (10)

Has not done much since grabbing the title at the Shenzhen 250 (H), skipping both 500 opportunities since then.

11. Veini Aikio (FIN) - 3615 (360)

Aikio has skipped Paris and has a SF finish from last year coming off the books, so he is on the outside for the WTF.

12. Sushant Chiba (SRI) - 3570 (90)

Chiba has come on strong of late, with a title at the Open de Moselle 250 (I), a QF (180) at the Shanghai Masters (H), and a runner-up finish (300) at the Swiss Indoors 500, but he will need to make hay in Paris to leap into the Top 8.

---

All in all, there may not be much movement after Paris. But this group, particularly the American-stacked #6-#10 range, is just so tightly packed!

As of this writing, everyone here has made the third round/round of 16, good for 90 points. Matchups of interest are Blake/Mackenzie, Chinaglia/Cordova, Pargeter/Chiba, Allende/Leo Kaspar (WC), and Sbai/Meiklejohn (15).
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:19 PM   #793
britrock88
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Winners are Mackenzie (in a rout), Cordova, Pargeter, Allende, and Sbai. Heading into the QFs, the standings would be:

5. Sbai - 4855
6. Pargeter - 4575
7. Blake - 4480
8. Allende - 4340
9. Mackenzie - 4215
10. Cordova - 4170

Sbai (along with Chinaglia) are locked in, and Pargeter is safe with Mackenzie and Cordova on the same half of the bracket.

QF matchups are Mateo Kaspar (1)/Mackenzie, Pargeter/Cordova, Dudwadkar (2)/Allende, and Karl Kaspar (3)/Sbai.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:22 PM   #794
britrock88
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Either Mackenzie or Cordova can oust Allende by advancing one round farther than Allende, though it would be the winner of that potential SF that would take the WTF spot (moving ahead of Blake and Pargeter in the process), supposing Allende doesn't make the final. If Allende does make the final, winner takes the last spot up for grabs.
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Old 06-04-2018, 06:18 PM   #795
Brian Swartz
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Good writeup! I'm really glad those Americans can't just pool their talents into a truly great player or two.
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:35 PM   #796
thehitcat
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Congrats to all three of us having a player in the upcoming finals. Probably old hat for you Brian but these are heady times for me.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:57 AM   #797
britrock88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by britrock88 View Post
Either Mackenzie or Cordova can oust Allende by advancing one round farther than Allende, though it would be the winner of that potential SF that would take the WTF spot (moving ahead of Blake and Pargeter in the process), supposing Allende doesn't make the final. If Allende does make the final, winner takes the last spot up for grabs.

Just to complete the thread, the tourney went scratch from there (though there were some tight three-setters). Allende made the cut; when the WTF results from last year are taken out, Chinaglia fell to 6 and Blake to 8.
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Old 06-06-2018, 11:25 AM   #798
Brian Swartz
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Blake's on his way out, the WTF is particularly important for the players the two of you coach I would think. There's a chance Prince Karl overtakes Dudwadkar for the #2 spot but that ship mostly sailed I think with the Paris SF going my way. He'd need to basically win it to make that happen. The #4 though and early advantage next year could easily go to Sbai, Pargeter, or Chinaglia, all of whom are within a single round-robin win of each other. Similar indoor proficiencies and I'd favor Sbai right now based on his serve and the fact that he'll win the tie if all of them do the same since he's got the spot right now.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:10 PM   #799
Bouchlaghem
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Created an account just for this, I've been following this dynasty for a few months and I decided to get into RR a couple of days ago! I'm not premium yet, and I was thinking of starting a dynasty with Algerian (ALG) players, but I think I'll wait until my current players are done in 6-7 months, then convert the best ones to trainers and create a couple of Algerians with some saved up credits. Are any of you in GW2 or GW12?
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:36 PM   #800
Brian Swartz
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Good to have you join the discussion! I only play in the one gameworld(RR1). I dabbled in others briefly for testing purposes but that's about it.

The World Tour Finals have been interesting so far. Blake and Allende didn't win a set, and Chinaglia only did against Allende. So those three earn the 'I'm here to collect a paycheck' award, leaving five others to contend for semifinal berths. In Group 1 Hamal Sbai runs the table, beating the only guy to win this event in almost a decade 6-4, 6-4, and a perfect 5-for-5 on break points to boot. I want some of what he's smoking. Group 2 is a three-way tie as everyone beats Blake, Pargeter beats Dudwadkar, Dudwadkar beats Karl Kaspar, and Prince Karl beats Pargeter to complete the circle. The 'Black Prince of Kaspar' is odd man out though which guarantees Dudwadkar he'll stay #2. At 29 and a half, he's pretty darned happy with that.


Semifinal matchups:


** (4) Sbai vs. (2) Dudwadkar -- Hamal's got the #4 at year-end just about wrapped up and should clinch it here. His serve should be good enough to get him through on my weakest surface, although Ritwik will be fresher which makes thing interesting.

** (5) Pargeter vs. (1) M. Kaspar -- It's a weird world when winning your round-robin ground gets you the 9-time defending champion. King Kaspar is set up better for the final couple of rounds and it's hard to see him losing this.

Looks like a Sbai-Kaspar final rematch of the group play to me. I'm not betting against the King, who is bidding here to become the oldest player ever to win this event(by almost a full year over Gorritepe).
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