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Old 06-07-2019, 07:59 AM   #1051
Join Date: Jun 2018
For all the craziness during the year the end was remarkably stable. 7 of the top 8 from last year made it back (partially due to not taking slam winners). 3 of the same semi finalists and the same finalists and result.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:36 AM   #1052
Chas in Cinti
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Still following along after all this time... really enjoying this dynasty...
Email: [email protected]
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:06 PM   #1053
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
Excellent! Hope it continues being entertaining through this final (for me anyway) generation.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:07 PM   #1054
Hall Of Famer
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
I wanna echo Chas in Cinti just a little bit here.

It really has been an enjoyable ride. I tried the game briefly as I recall, abandoning it for the utter cluelessness I felt with it.

You not only largely mastered it but took the time to bring it to life in this dynasty.

"I lit another cigarette. Unless I specifically inform you to the contrary, I am always lighting another cigarette." - from a novel by Martin Amis
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:15 PM   #1055
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
I think Christy about covered the Tour Finals stuff; Hart over Molyneaux in the final for a second straight year. Molyneaux was a second player to push the #1 to a third-set tiebreak during their round robin encounter, but this time it was straight sets. Solberg was the other semifinalist, and due to a ranking bug screwing over Seamus Hughes - who is making a career out of such things it would seem - Solberg ends the year ahead of him at #4.

I have a kind of comical situation with my top players, as Sushant Chiba is just above the break at #16, 80 points up on Wentz. Ritwik Dudwadkar falls to 32nd, just barely above that cut-off. Five points separate him from Andrey Rublev of Russia, so if something happens at the end with WTC points adjustments he could go into next year having been demoted again. The others played a couple of CH3 events at the end of the year, both of them in South America. Satyagit Guha lost once in the first round of the main draw after qualifying, and once in the first qualifying round. Yuck. Doubles resulted in a close first-round loss, and a loss in the final of the first one. In total five matches - and went to a super tiebreak. These guys can do nothing easy. Nasir Chittoor lost in the QF of the first tournament, as Boltanski got revenge on him 6-4, 7-5. Unseeded American Tim Gudsell stopped him 6-3, 6-4 in the SF the next time out. I thought that was winnable; Gudsell was fresher and a much better athlete, but not nearly as good on clay. Turns out the physicality won the day on this occasion as it wasn't even that close. In any case, Chittoor has had a couple nice runs but ends the season still looking for his first challenger title.

The Quest for 8.9 Continues
Age 20 Comparison

Neither of my youngsters are teenagers anymore. They are now probably termed 'young guns' or something like that.

** Prakash Mooljee - 87 skill, 60 serve, 1 doubles
** Ritwik Dudwadkar - 87/61/0
** Sushant Chiba - 85/62/2
** Satyagit Guha - 67/53/87
** Nasir Chittoor - 85/66/0

Some interesting things here. Ritwik Dudwadkar pulled slightly ahead of Mooljee historically - but that will actually reverse itself later. I think that's due to how quickly Prakash was successful early in his career. Both of those are a bit ahead of Chiba which tracks with previous impressions. Satyagit Guha has stopped falling behind the others. He's not catching up either - he'll only be able to do that to a limited degree and only when he finished doubles in probably two years, but he was 20 serve and 8 skill trains behind Dudwadkar at age 19, and the past year kept him at exactly that deficit. Meanwhile Nasir Chittoor continues to pull slightly further ahead. He's around 3k points ahead of Dudwadkar overall I'd say, +5 serve but -2 skill. That's about a thousand points better than last year and he remains basically 1 skill train in front. The part that's really going to matter I expect is how quickly he gets out of challengers against a crowded field, and we're still a ways away from determining that.

Coming Up …

Something about Ireland extending their record of consecutive WTC titles against the Netherlands next week, followed by the Anil Cup and the usual end-of-year stuff.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-07-2019 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 06-08-2019, 12:36 PM   #1056
Join Date: Jun 2019
Hey all! I'm new to OS as to Rocking Rackets. My username is 1738 and my main world is World 3. Anyone else in World 3?
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:02 AM   #1057
Join Date: Jun 2019
I am looking at a guy with 8.7 TE (4.7 talent, 4 endurance) and 7 SS, with 3.2 Mentality and -5 aging. The only problem is he is a 17.5 year old who has never played a match and only has 2.7 skill and 1 service. Does the -5 aging make up for his lack of current skill?
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:11 AM   #1058
Join Date: Jun 2019
The stats I gave are all adjusted for age by the way.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:09 PM   #1059
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
I only play in RR1. As far as that player goes, it really depends on what your other options are. You could make a good player out of him but not a great one with that amount of time gone by.
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Old 06-09-2019, 04:06 PM   #1060
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA
You not only largely mastered it but took the time to bring it to life in this dynasty.


Also thanks for these kind words. I've said it before, but I never expected this story to become as appreciated as it has been - I'm glad others have found enjoyment in it.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:14 PM   #1061
Join Date: Jun 2019
Thank you Brian! This thread is such a fantastic read.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:07 AM   #1062
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
World Team Cup Wrap-Up

Ireland won over The Netherlands as expected, 3-2 but one of the Dutch victories was De Jong over Hughes in a 5-setter on the last day, with the issue already settled. The other was doubles. John Hart got two wins as expected, Seamus Hughes the other over Ollie Haas. Only one match was in straight sets; de Jong and Haas are a good combo and they haven't peaked yet, at least in theory. But the Irish are on another level, setting a world record with their 5th straight world championship. They are unlikely to have the longevity that Sri Lanka (8 wins in 10 years) or Spain (7 in 10) even further back in the day achieved, but they've still done something that has never been matched … and probably never will.

I'm not at all bitter. Not the least little bit. That has nothing to do with me posting this shot of our glory days gone by:

Hard to believe it was almost 20 years ago. But records were made to be broken and all that.


** Czech Republic vs. Morocco - Two Level-1 nations that didn't win a single RR match. Morocco did better at that stage, but stumbled to a 3-2 loss here and is relegated to Level 2. Veteran Jacek Andrejova beat current no. 49 Mangellat Al-Nasr in five sets on the fourth day to clinch the victory. The glory days of Sbai are long gone, and after promoting back up last year, Morocco is headed back down. They are really the better nation right now - Iglar isn't walking through that door for the Czechs either - but it was just a bad surface matchup I think.

** Germany vs. Croatia - Germany takes a close 3-2 decision, their second of the year against Croatia; first was in the level 2 semis. Second straight year that the Croats suffer a narrow playoff defeat and stay down. Meanwhile Germany has been stuck below for several years, so the second-tier champs have cause to celebrate. Third-ranked Srba Dobic
got no help, and that was pretty much the story here.

** India vs. Russia - With Brian Meikeljohn having given up the sport, India has nothing, and they were blanked 5-0 by the Russians. Behind Stachovsky (19th) and Rubley (33rd), they'll be hoping for better than the trio of 4-1 defeats suffered this year.

** Romania vs. Austria - 30th vs. 25th in the national rankings. That's awfully low for a playoff tie with promotion to the top tier on the line. What makes it particularly strange is that both nations are arguably deserving. Both have a pair of rising stars, but Austria prevailed 3-2 behind Harald Wentz and Willy Weigl despite the latter getting blanked in both his matches. Wentz and a five-set doubles win got them the victory. Romania nearly made it back-to-back promotions after boosting up from Level 3 a year ago; don't bet against them breaking through next season. For Austria, it's their first time in the top flight in more than 20 years. '55 was the last time, after the age of a real blast from the past ... Julian Hammerstein. The last several years they've been at level 2, level 3 for a while before that, even level 4 for an extended period. So this is a long-awaited resurrection of sorts.

Final National Rankings

1. Ireland - 2797
2. Italy - 2271
3. United States - 2122
4. Spain - 2079
5. The Netherlands - 2068
6. Sri Lanka - 2061
7. Czech Republic - 2018
8. Sweden - 1970
9. Argentina - 1967
10. Thailand - 1955

Ireland has the most points and highest lead I've ever seen. They could do nothing at all for two years probably and still be safe. Meanwhile we've slipped to 6th despite the QF run ... would definitely be two spots higher without that loss to Mexico. Yuck. There's work to do, to put it mildly.

WTC Preview

Sri Lanka is in group 1, and for the first time in decades is favored to lose by the rankings. #3 USA and #4 Spain oppose us, along with #15. That's is a truly murderous group. The Americans have Pargeter in doubles and Molyneaux, so they'll be tough, but the lack of a quality second singles player could hurt them. Spain has Aviles and they're never at a loss for doubles players, while Russia's team is quite similar to ours at the moment. So we could sneak out of the group or lose all three and finish dead last, depending on how the ball bounces. Surface draws will be vital. I'm pretty annoyed by this whole situation.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:43 AM   #1063
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
2nd Annual Anil Cup
Sponsored by thehitcat

John Hart and Nicolas Perez are your finalists. Shocking, I know. Result; same as last year, Hart in straights. Closer at 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4, but Hart ensures he will be well-remembered in the annals of the Anil Cup as the man who stood above the others in the early years - and that anyone crowning Perez prematurely as his successor should chill out and not write him off just yet. Seamus Hughes and Sushant Chiba were the seeded semifinalists. Intodia and Narciso provided a fairly easy trip to that stage for Chiba. He also teamed with Amrik Kasaravalli for a nice run to the doubles final, including a semifinal upset of 2-seeds Sbai/Alenichev in four sets. Naturally they got stomped there by the Irish duo. The two of them are flat exhausted. Amrik had the misfortune of going up against Hart in his first-round match, and got flattened with only six games won.

Nasir Chittoor had a surprisingly useful week, outlasting Tommy Fitzpatrick in a modest upset - he'd lost all of their practice encounters that I remember and Fitz is definitely the better player - that went the distance in the first round, up and down the whole way. Then he had a mostly-credible defeat against Hughes in the QF, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. Satyagit Guha won a whole game in a humiliating stomp by Sbai in singles qualifying, and the pairing got flattened in doubles by Sbai/Alenichev 6-1, 6-0, 6-2. So Guha ... well, he didn't do much this week. You could definitely say that.

Coming Up ...

All of the usual start of the year spam, along with my questionable prognostications for the coming season.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-11-2019 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:53 AM   #1064
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Join Date: Feb 2007
I thought the Chittoor/Fitzpatrick first round match, the Chiba/Kasaravalli run in Doubles and the Hart/Perez final made the entire tourney worth it.
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:44 PM   #1065
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
2066 Final Rankings

1. John Hart(29, IRE) - 13,110

I was going to do a rundown of Hart's accomplishments here, but I'm going to wait on that. I don't think it's fair yet to presume his reign is over. He might have been close to losing the perch, and still could be, but it was another year in which the Irish champion didn't spend a single week below #1. He was a busy beaver, winning 100 matches with 9 losses. That's a modern record for match victories in a year and his 5th straight season at 90+. His points from the tour finals provide the difference overall.

2. Nicolas Perez(24, ARG) - 11,900

Hart and Perez are assuredly the top two players in the world, but it's becoming a question of what order they'll be in. The gap from them to the rest is rather astonishing. Last year Nicolas won both hardcourt Slams and three Masters, but it wasn't quite enough. It's actually pretty surprising he didn't play Hart more often - the two were 3-3 but it isn't unusual to see 10+ meetings when players are this dominant. They had a strange pattern of alternating 'early' losses prior to the final, with Perez doing somewhat more of that. A fine 81-14 record is still a fair bit short of what Hart achieved. For now he is still chasing, and as management has noted defending the AO title where they had an epic confrontation last year is vital to any chance of ascending in the early months this year.

3. Srba Dogic(25, CRO) - 5,425

A number of players cycled through the 'best of the rest' third position last season, but a strong finish from Dogic gave the Croatian his career-best ranking and a legitimate shot at holding this position and closing the massive gulf on the power couple over the course of this year. He's been remarkably consistent the last few seasons, 63-68 wins, but his two big finals (USO and Paris) along with the lone 500 title (China Open) all came in late summer or after. If he can maintain anything close to that level for an entire year, he'll leave the main pack in the Top 10 behind.

4. Ali Solberg (27, SWE) - 4,985

A second 60-win season still seemed to have more ups and downs for the Swede who has made a career out of being a solid obstacle, but not quite a contender.

5. Seamus Hughes (29, IRE) - 4,775

A brief stop up at #3 for Hughes who faded a hair at the end of the year, and that's all it took. The hard-luck 'other Irishman' has always been very close, but not quite there when it comes to a permanent place in the Top 4 and even the absence of Meikeljohn didn't secure it for him as Dogic merely replaced him. 65-20 was his second-best overall mark, and 5th 60-win season out of the last half-dozen. Like Hart though, he's decidedly on the back half of his career ... but still just one big run from stepping up a spot or two. And getting credit for all of his points from the accountants would really help with that, since he should still be fourth right now ...

6. Barry Molyneaux(28, USA) - 4,750

The longtime #3 and top American player, Molyneaux is starting to slip a bit. Just 57 wins after having over 70 a few years ago, and it's been a steady decline over the interim. He's had a good run, and bizarrely there are no other US players in the Top 32. The national brand in tennis hasn't looked so weak as it does now in a long time.

7. Isa Solheim(27, DEN) - 4,020

Solheim has basically been a poor man's Solberg for a while now.

8. Brian Meikeljohn(28, IND) - 3,950

We're just waiting for the rest of his points to drop off here. This is a spot to be taken by whoever is worthy.

9. Emilien Mathou(25, FRA) - 3,630

He's no Kaspar, but few players are, and Mathou is the best the French have right now. He leads the race to see who'll be the new tour finalist this year.

10. Calisto Aviles(23, ESP) - 3,620

Over half his points came from those glorious two weeks at Roland Garros, allowing Aviles on the first page while winning less than 50 matches and losing better than a third of them. He did not so much as reach the quarters in any other major event, and lost in most of them much earlier. One of this year's big questions is whether he can repeat and/or break through in other events, at least on his favored clay. Right now I don't think the odds are good; it looks like a fluke.

11. Chisulo Mpakati(23, ZIM)

Mpakati had some fine moments, esp. towards the end of the year, but is still inconsistent. A run to the Canada final was the highlight, and he's knocking on the door now.

12. Lucas Perez(24, ARG)

The 'other Perez' continues a consistent rise.

14. Il-Sung Jung(24, KOR)

Trying to answer the question of 'how good can you be playing in both disciplines' a few years before I have Guha take a crack at that issue, Jung is a big talent but also an unfocused one.

15. Ollie Haas(24, NLD)

15 players with 3k points or more. Haas remains a major threat on grass but hasn't distinguished himself anywhere else.

16. Harald Wentz(23, AUT)

Slid up to this spot at the end of the year. Bigger things are expected, and this means that ...

17. Sushant Chiba(30, SRI)

... Chiba is down another tier, at least for the moment. Meikeljohn will slide by, and he has at least a chance to surpass Rhodes who is a few hundred points ahead. If any such boost happens though it'll be temporary. Really I just want him to hang around for another year and then probably start into doubles. Should be more than good enough to retain a Top 32 spot for that long.

19. Tim de Jong(25, NLD)

A late-season slide for another one of those not-quite-there guys approaching their prime.

21. Constantino Gonzoles(26, ARG)

Had a couple moments late in the year, but still well below the next tier and I think Gonzo is about out of time.

22. Clavet Moniotte(25, FRA)

The no. 2 in France has not had near the success of Mathou, though they are basically the same age.

23. Santino Belmon(25, ITA)

After hanging around the drop point for a couple of years, Belmon made a push in the second half of last year. Can he keep it going?

24. Tobias Velilla(22, ARG)

The highest-ranking newcomer to the elite group this year, Velilla adds to an already-strong Argentine contingent.

25. Acke Kjaerstad(23, SWE)

A solid Swede, though I doubt he reaches the heights of Solberg.

30. Algot Hakanson(25, SWE)

Exactly where he was a year ago.

31. Patrick Sanchez(26, ARG)

And even more from Argentina as Sanchez pokes his nose back in.

32. Santino de Jesus(22, DEU)

Another newcomer to definitely watch, and the standard-bearer for rising Germany. We have a handful of declining players in the late 20s of the rankings, so there are places to be had for any who can seize them.

34. Amrik Kasaravalli(24, SRI)

This is now officially a first for me. With a couple players sliding by at the end, Amrik is the first player I've had promote from Challenger level and get sent back down while still on the upside of their career. He's in almost exactly the same situation he was a year ago. *sigh*

38. Helmut Edlund(22, SWE)

We have some new players to look at with new members in the club! Edlund had a 250 title last year in Los Cabos, and is only on the bottom side of the break because of a raft of losses in challenger finals. At his age, ascencion soon is likely.

41. Joao Narciso(22, BRA)

Narciso is now on the verge as well, not far from a breakthrough. That makes three Anilophiles seeking a secure spot at the elite tier in the new season. And with all of those coming up below them, we're rooting hard for them to make it - just so they get out of the way and stop taking Challenger points :P.

43. Willy Weigl(22, AUT)

Ok, make that four of them. Good grief. More packed competition.

93. Girish Shivakumar(20, SRI)

Down to the younger generation here now. Three challenger finals and a few semis, but no titles yet.

97. Shakti Vemireddy(20, SRI)

Four runner-up finishes, but also searching that first breakthrough.

124. Tommy Fitzpatrick(20, IRE)

One final and three semis at the challenger level, but who could forget that showing at the USO?

125. Mark Smith(19, GBR)

Doubling-down on his national bonus, Smith is going all-in on grass and figures to be a royal terror at Wimbledon in the future. Also owns a title at CH3 Loughborough.

130. Nasir Chittoor(20, SRI)

A couple finals and a couple semis; Chittoor has been gradually but consistently moving up while searching for that breakthrough. Just past 300th in doubles and barely qualifying for the national team in that.

192. Rakesh Kayeeda(20, SRI)

Kayeeda recently joined the challenger chase.

208. Ritwik Intodia(20, SRI)

Intodia is almost there ...

251. Helmut Hoetker(19, SUI)

And we have yet another now from the same generation.

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

Top doubles player for the nation now, and 692nd in singles where it's a slow rise.

It definitely looks like the Anilophiles are poised to rule tennis with an iron fist for at least the next decade. The chance of a #1 coming from outside our club ... well, it doesn't look good.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:31 PM   #1066
Join Date: Jun 2019
I think I possibly found a future top 5 player. How is a peak of:

4.5 Talent
3.2 Mentality
4.2 Endurance
3.3 Speed
4 Strength
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Old 06-11-2019, 06:17 PM   #1067
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
That's better than any player I've ever had, I'd definitely sign them up.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:05 PM   #1068
Brian Swartz
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: May 2006
2067 Preview

1. John Hart(87%) - 8.69, -0.04

Hart is staying afloat based on outstanding technical abilities, and didn't lose much this year.

2. Nicolas Perez(95%) - 8.66, +0.14

Two more years at least to improve, and Perez has already reached a level of technical ability that I've rarely approached and never sustained. On paper, he and Hart are now a near-even match. Neither has a draw advantage over the other as both will always have a good path to the finals, where they'd play each other. I'm still predicting Perez to take over the top spot at some point this year. He's overperformed against Hart historically, and before long he should actually surpass him by rating. But obviously it's close enough that there's no way to know for sure which player prevails.

3. Srba Dogic(92%) - 8.35, -0.03

The meteoric Dogic is younger in years but older in mileage than Perez. Whatever he's going to do in terms of closing the gap will happen in the next year to 18 months. After that he'll be sliding back down the mountain. Interestingly, the numbers say he actually got slightly worse last year. He definitely doesn't have the baseline play to hang with a lot of top players, nevermind the two ahead of him, and his athleticism can only make up for so much, so there's really no chance of him threatening the power couple at all. Getting a secure station as third is the best he can hope for and I wouldn't bet the farm on that even happening. The fact of the matter is that he's fortunate to be where he is.

4. Ali Solberg(89%) - 8.62, +0.01

At this point Solberg has to be classified as somewhat of an underachiever. Solid elite-level technique, still quite fast, but he's never put it all together. He has his moments, but can't get there consistently. It's he, not Dogic, who really has the game to threaten. Based on what we've seen though, I'm pegging him to simply grab the #3 and just chill out well back of them.

5. Seamus Hughes(86%) - 8.47, +0.01

Impressive management work to have a player of Hughes' age basically holding steady after a significant decline last time. Cement feet appear to be his achilles heel, stopping him from competing on return against top servers. His own serve is as good as anyone's, better even that Hart or Perez, and as long as that's the case he figures to stick around and be relevant. Dogic should be worried about him as well.

6. Barry Molyneaux(85%) - 8.50, -0.03

The baseline play, always a weakness, continues to fade and is no longer even competitive. On the other hand, Molyneaux is a mental demon and still quite physically powerful. He should definitely stay in the mix.

7. Isa Solheim(89%) - 8.42, -0.08

Solheim stumbled a bit last year, unlike the other veterans, and dropped a half-step behind them.

8. Brian Meikeljohn(85%) - 8.66, -0.20

I only mention Meikeljohn because it's mandatory to include all Top-10 players. You can see here what a cliff you fall off when you leave a player be at his age ... and yet he's still basically equal to Hart/Perez theoretically even with that decline. Not that it'll matter. Wave to him as he disappears.

9. Emilien Mathou(91%) - 8.45, -0.04

Pretty much a copy of Dogic, only with better footspeed, Mathou has a quality serve, inadequate all-court play, and good athleticism. And the same basic meteoric aging path. Emilien halved his 18th ranking from a year ago, and more is expected of him this year.

10. Calisto Aviles(97%) - 8.44, ??

I don't know if I've ever introduced a player for the first time who was in the Top 10. So what's the deal with Aviles here? Well, his serve is more than good enough but baseline play isn't his forte. Most notably, he's a little on the weak side but is nearly as fast as Meikeljohn was in his heyday. A classic defensive clay-courter ... except that he's focused on the serve instead because reasons. Definitely has to be considered one of the world's best on the dirt, and his career will be defined by whether he ever becomes good enough to be a force on the hardcourts. I think he'll see significant improvement there eventually, maybe this year. After looking at his abilities and youth, I've come around on Calisto a bit. Still a fluke title last year I think and he's probably somewhat overranked, but not by much.

Top 10 Analysis

Interesting that #3 Dogic is clearly the worst player in the Top 10 by rating. That shows the competitiveness and the importance of getting fortunate enough to push beyond your seeding a couple times. Doesn't hurt him to have maxed-out proficiency on the most common surface either.

'65 Avg - 8.573
'66 - 8.532
'67 - 8.526 (-0.06)

The strength of the group continues to decline, even with Meikeljohn still hanging about. There are still more fading than there are improving. The changing of the guard has started to happen, but it's far from being fully achieved.

11. Chisulo Mpakati(96%) - 8.46, +0.12

Mpakati's technique is getting closer, allowing his impressive athleticism more room to flourish against elite competition. Another meteoric talent, he has probably two years to get this done. Lots of players hoping to make a run at the Top 10 this year but he's the best-positioned, after finally making a move up from 19th last year.

12. Lucas Perez(95%) - 8.32, ??

Another newcomer, it just seems Perez has been around longer because he made his mark early - SF in Monte Carlo, final in Rome, an early home-country 250 title, etc. But at this time last year he was still playing Challengers. Big leap, and we'll see if he's ready for more. Baseline play still needs some work, but not that much - a plus serve and good power are his best assets. As a clay specialist he'll be a big threat there, but I don't think he has the game to break through on other surfaces just yet. Hard to see him moving up much this year.

14. Il-Sung Jung(95%) - 8.70, +0.10

The door is still very much open for the doubles #38 to abandon that pursuit. He could be a legit rival to Perez, but there's no signs of that happening. On paper he comes in just ahead of Hart as the best player in the world, and he's not even Top 10 yet. Up from 26th a year ago, and I honestly don't know what happens for him this season because it depends on where his mind's at. If he makes up his mind to push upwards though, he's coming. He's that good.

15. Ollie Haas(94%) - 8.49, +0.08

Attempting to be a jack of all trades, Haas succeeded only at Wimbledon, and is right where he was a year ago. Only a crowded field has kept him from reaching higher.

16. Harald Wentz(96%) - 8.50, ??

Another newcomer who feels like he's been here forever because we've been watching him. Still inconsistent, Wentz relies on his serve - which is the equal of any active player's - too much. Next couple years for an athlete of his caliber should pace him to more consistency, as should getting above the Top 16 breakpoint.

There's basically no difference in the players from 3-10 as there is 11-16. These last few should been seen basically as the 'extended first page'. I expect more struggles for the higher-ranking guys in big events as they have to deal with this kind of resistance on a consistent basis, and more chaotic results.

17. Sushant Chiba(82%) - 8.36, -0.12

Holding on to whatever I can basically, until it's time to go doubles. There really isn't much more to do than that. Technique is down to standard-elite levels of 5.0/4.0, while athleticism is a distant memory only. Mental excellence is the only major card he has to play, and in this environment that's not close to enough.

19. Tim de Jong(92%) - 8.48, +0.15

I've never seen a player drop six spots with this kind of improvement. That just about says it all - there are going to be some really good players who slip through the cracks and it looks like de Jong might be one of them. There's just room for only so many, and he's only got this one last year to improve.

21. Constantino Gonzoles(91%) - 8.52, +0.01

At his peak, better than multiple players in the Top 10, and unable to even get close. This era is just insane with the depth.

22. Clavet Moniotte(93%) - 8.25, -0.02

Strange time to be treading water at best. Moniotte desperately needs a boost to his baseline play, or this might well be known as the highest he ever pushes. Was 21st last year.

23. Santino Belmon(94%) - 8.49, +0.08

Slid up a few spots from 27th, which under the circumstances is a laudable achievement. Belmon is just looking for an opportunity like so many others, and wondering if he'll ever get one. Should still have two more years to create an opening.

24. Tobias Velilla(97%) - 8.30, ??

Say hello to our latest young flash-in-the-pan. Whatever Tobias is going to do, he needs to do it quickly. He's got one of the best serves in the world, but is unremarkable otherwhise. I wish him luck - at least for the time being, he'll need it.

25. Acke Kjaerstad(96%) - 8.38, +0.07

Not quite as much improvement as one might have hoped for, and Kjaerstad stays right where he was last year.

30. Algot Hakanson(94%) - 8.21, +0.07

Another marginal Swede who didn't move an inch in the rankings. Under-developed baseline play is the culprit in both cases.

31. Patrick Sanchez(91%) - 8.30, ??

Probably the most athletically gifted player around right now, above even Mpakati and Wentz, Sanchez here hasn't been handled the best over the course of his career. A doubles diversion didn't help, and and he's not as technically developed as you'd expect a player to be at 26. So he's relegated basically to being a pain in the butt for a couple years for anyone trying to get out of challengers.

32. Santino de Jesus(98%) - 8.08, ??

The final spot goes to this German with a decidedly not-German name. He's gone all-in on the hard-court/grass combo, not a typical path but one with a certain logic to it, foregoing any chance at decent clay results. Serve is already there, quality athleticism, good mentality, ground strokes need work per usual. Even with a fast-ticking career clock he still has time, but he's really breathing air above his pay grade right now. Wouldn't surprise me to see him slip back down to challengers.

34. Amrik Kasaravalli(95%) - 8.42, +0.24

Two years from his peak, and back into Challengers. To say he's running out of time is an understatement, and after last year finished at 37th ... this is all too familiar. On the other hand, he is still improving and really should be good enough to beat a lot of the players ahead of him - in fact he's now on paper Sri Lanka's best player. But how much of that will actually show up on the court with the brick wall arrayed above him? Need a few more of those close matches to go his way this year.

38. Helmut Edlund(98%) - 7.77, ??

Solid all-around with doubles diversion in evidence and the lacking technique you'd expect from that, Edlund is going with the exceeding rare Clay/Indoors combo. More importantly, he's pretty much as high as I think he gets until the technical side catches up with his ranking.

41. Joao Narciso(98%) - 7.87, +0.22

Everything I just said about Edlund is basically true here as well. Good boost for him from 70th in the rankings last season, but while I'd love to say he's going to jump up and grab a Top 32 spot soon I just don't think he's quite good enough to do it yet. Depends on how many vets slip down into this tier I suppose, but it might be another year for the Brazilian.

43. Willy Weigl(99%) - 7.74, ??

Clay/Indoors again here for Weigl. Serve is getting close, he's strong with good mentality, but the baseline game is frankly anemic for a player of this level. In terms of the overall, though Narciso's distribution is more classical, Edlund/Narciso/Weigl are three peas in a pod. Gatekeepers at the elite challenger level basically, trying to forge a path above the break line but unlikely to do so just yet.

93. Girish Shivakumar(99%) - 7.41, ??

I wasn't looking at these guys last year so there's nothing to compare to. Shivakumar's game is all about power, and he's all-on on hardcourts while moving steadily up into the Top 100.

97. Shakti Vemireddy(99%) - 7.57, ??

The more athletic Vemireddy isn't quite there with Shivakumar technically, but still looks the superior player to me. He's decided to go clay, which makes some sense given his natural abilities.

124. Tommy Fitzpatrick(99%) - 7.61, +0.59

A nice gain for a player who was maxed-out physically at the start of the year. TFitz - I'm going with it barring another nickname - should start being a major threat to any challenger-level performer soon.

How about Fitz and Chits for the rivalry. No??

125. Mark Smith(100%) - 7.47, +0.71

Right there with the others, even though he's a bit younger.

130. Nasir Chittoor(99%) - 7.47, +0.84

The last big improvement year for Chittoor - things will slow down somewhat now as he only benefited from half a year of aging gains and has another year-plus before that starts reversing. This year his goal is to push up to about 8.0 and be ready by the end of it to start making his run at getting out of Challengers. The numbers say he's just surpassed Shivakumar, but still trails Fitzpatrick and Vemireddy overall. I can't argue with that.

192. Rakesh Kayeeda(99%) - 7.22, +0.80

Nothing to complain about here as Kayeeda makes his way into the Challenger tier.

208. Ritwik Intodia(99%) - 7.42, +0.74

Faster and possessing a better mental game, Intodia was the higher-ranking of the pair until this past year. I expect that this is an aberration and that state of affairs will eventually return.

251. Helmut Hoetker(101%) - 6.86, ??

I always get a kick out of how meteoric players ( 103% aging here) get to go slightly beyond their physical potential peak, aka 101%. Anyway, let's introduced Double-H here. Endurance and speed are his strengths, and he's about where he should be at for the rankings at his development level. Definitely going to join the challenger throng this year, and roughly a full year younger than the others so it makes sense that he'll be behind them in terms of the overall.

251(D). Satyagit Guha(99%) - 6.43, +0.67

More modest gains are expected here as well, esp. until doubles is maxed out. Guha is into the 'solid futures' range now, but I don't expect him to be challenger-quality for a while yet as a singles performer.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:05 PM   #1069
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Just realized this was a duplicate post, so removed unnecessary wall of text to save on browser pain.

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Old 06-11-2019, 08:07 PM   #1070
Brian Swartz
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So, Dogic is ranked #3 and according to ratings I have him at 19th-best player in the world. That just about says it all in terms of how fluid, dynamic, and ultimately chaotic I expect things to be from roughly #3 to about #40 or so in the rankings. Never have I seen things with such parity and depth that luck plays this strong of a role.
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:29 PM   #1071
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Fitz and Chits or Chits and Fitz. I like it.
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Old 06-12-2019, 10:40 AM   #1072
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Minor correction:

Perez is nearly a year younger than Dogic.

That Hart vs Perez should be a big battle this year. It will be harder for Perez to overachieve as he starts to win more matches (first world problems).
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:12 PM   #1073
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World Team Cup

We opened against Spain on hardcourt. This was probably the best possible surface for us against their typical clay-focused players. Additionally, 9th-ranked Calisto Aviles didn't play enough towards the end of last year and came in very rusty. Combine those factors and we came away with an unjustifiably easy 4-1 victory. Both Chiba & Kasaravalli got two wins each which helps them after one apiece at this stage last year. The only loss was against their strong doubles team (27th & 28th in the rankings). And even there we did better than expected. Algarin/Alvelo defeated Guha/Chittoor 7-5, 6-3, 6-1; we held our own for a set and a half, which is a set and a half longer than I expected, before it got more out of hand late in the match.

Sushant Chiba's AO warmup event was in Chennai, where he lost in the final last year. This time his only competitive match was in the QFs, where he defeated Kjaerstad 6-4, 6-4. The final was against Emilien Mathou, who wasn't quite as ready and isn't much of a HC player. He's better though at this stage of their careers, so I had Chiba as only a narrow favorite. Instead he absolutely flattened the Frenchman, handing out two breadsticks like he was still in his prime or something. It's Chiba's first tournament title of any kind in over a year, and gives him a bit of a boost.

Amrik Kasaravalli was relegated to smashing the resistance at CH1 Noumea. I almost feel like apologizing - the field at these early-season Challengers is already dense enough without him being demoted to join them. But he needed the points. There were a couple of tiebreak sets but they were easily won, and Amrik grabbed the expected winner's trophy.

Nasir Chittoor and Satyagit Guha both have been off for practice events since the WTC. And they were in a practice tournament even that week. Thanks in part to the Anil Cup, they had just enough form to avoid playing in the big challengers, where they would have had little hope of going anywhere.

Coming Up ...

The first Slam of the new year as we descend upon Australia. Memories of last season's epic final have fans wondering if Hart and Perez will stage another one, whether Dogic can continue his strong run around here and solidify his position, and what happens with the colorful mix of characters further down in the pecking order. Chiba will be hoping to avert another early loss (3rd round last year), while Kasaravalli is back into the Top 32 but probably falls right back down if he can't find a way to repeat his 4th-round finish - which will be easier said than done, requiring an upset of some kind.
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Old 06-15-2019, 05:00 AM   #1074
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Gregory Gulley of the United States …

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Old 06-18-2019, 03:26 PM   #1075
Brian Swartz
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Australian Open

The early rounds were not kind to a number of Anilophiles.

Tommy Fitzpatrick was a wild-card entry, bowing out to Dogic in three sets. He kept it close for the first one, but had little left for the rest of the match. (21)Clavet Moniotte and Willy Weigl matched up, Moniotte the expected winner in a routine three. (30)Algot Hakanson had an epic first-rounder, ultimately losing out 11-9 in the 5th to recent upset specialist Nintau Ariyanuntaka. And finally there was Sri Lanka standard-bearer (15) Sushant Chiba, rudely dismissed by American Gregory Gulley. 9-7 in the 5th there but the match was not really that close. Gulley came in as one of the highest-ranked spoilers in the draw, and ended up playing that role well.

All of that was in the first round. In the second, Joao Narcisco was unable to celebrate having made it past the initial hurdle for the second time in his career for long, running into Mathou who dropped him in a competitive four-set match; the Brazilian took the first set but couldn't keep up the pressure. Helmut Edlund did well to get that far also but became Moniotte's latest victim, while (7) Isa Solheim became the first one of the top players to fall. That was courtesy of a close three-set defeat to Mexico's Gullermo Valturri, another player in that top-spoilers category.

In the third, Hart lost a set for the first time - almost did in his previous match - but advanced past Gonzoles in four. Another tough out for the Argentine. Amrik Kasaravalli progressed smoothly to this point, and got his shot at Gulley. It ended precisely the same way as Chiba's ... the American takes it 9-7 in the 5th. And once again it shouldn't have been that close, though Amrik did better than Sushant did. Should have been basically an even match by my estimation. It was beyond annoying for me to watch both of them go out in this manner to the same freaking guy. de Jong knocked out (8) Calisto Aviles as high seeds continued to drop and the Spaniard continues to show he doesn't have the goods off clay. Argentina could also celebrate, as merely their fourth-best player Velilla stunned (3) Srba Dogic in a four-set match. So much for him continuing where he left off on hard courts. Moniotte finally met his end in a topsy-turvy five-setter against Lucas Perez, while (4) Ali Solberg bit the dust prematurely, going the distance against Balzer before faltering.

The fourth round began with half of the top eight players already history. Let the chaos reign! Only about a third of the third-round matches ended in straight sets - things were getting pretty rough out there. Gulley went down but hard, getting only a single game off of Hart. Emilien Mathou was knocked out arguably early in four sets against de Jong, while a real changing of the guard moment happened as (6) Barry Molyneaux was eliminated by Wentz, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4. L. Perez was taken down in straight sets, one tiebreak, by the better-known Perez ... who still hasn't lost a set. The rest were expected results, but Hughes got all he could handle against Mike Rhodes who took him the distance including three tiebreaks.

The second week arrived with five of the final eight coming in 10th or lower in the seedings. The power couple and Hughes were the exceptions rather than the rule. Tim de Jong was the second player to get a set off the world no. 1, but could do no better than that. Harald Wentz and Jung staged a true epic, eventually won by the Korean 7-6(1), 5-7, 4-6, 7-6(6), 12-10! We may well see more of those two standouts bashing up against each other in the future, and both definitely bettered themselves here. Ollie Haas gave Perez more a fight than anyone else, but still lost in straights, while the road ended here for (5)Seamus Hughes in a statement win by Mpakati, who stopped the Irish bridesmaid in a close four.

There was a titan against a surprise in both semifinals then. In the first match though, youth was served for sure as John Hart was stunned 6-3, 7-6(5), 7-5 by Jung. Not a shock that he lost, but in three sets it certainly was. Meanwhile Chisulo Mpakati waved good-bye in a trio of 6-3 sets against the seemingly unstoppable Perez. 14th-seeded Il-Sung Jung then took his shot at the defending AO champion. For the first time in his career, Jung seemed to be living up to his potential. And he gave it a real shot, rallying to force a 5th set after losing the first two ... but for the second year in a row Nicolas Perez claims an epic Australian crown after an 8-6 5th set. Only 7 of 27 on BPs, he should have had this one easier, four sets at most, much like the rest of the tournament. It almost slipped away ... but most importantly, it didn't. With the victory and Hart's SF loss, he creeps closer to the #1 but doesn't quite get there, while Jung and Mpakati both leap into the Top 10. Most of those who were already there didn't fare well. Hughes is up to a career-high #3 again, but well under a thousand points separates him from eighth position. I think this is the first time I've ever seen #3 with less than 5000 points.

I didn't mention my young players, because I had Chittoor/Guha practice this week. It was a close call - might have been able to qualify in doubles but it would have been tough, Chittoor would have gone directly to the first round and been a quick exit almost certainly, and there were just enough decent players to get a practice week in.

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Old 06-18-2019, 03:54 PM   #1076
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I should point out that Perez has 3 slams. Two were won 8-6 in the final set and 1 by a final set tie break.

Still Hart can't stop him getting no. 1. Someone needs to upset Perez to stop him as finals in IW and Miami will see him at no. 1. That is very possible in the current climate with a lot of spoilers far down the rankings.

Aas also got picked up and had a respectable 4th round exit.

Last edited by Christy : 06-18-2019 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:28 PM   #1077
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So fun IW factoid with the ranking weirdness that strikes in this game. Solberg and Jung are tied for 6th with 4235 points each. Game lists Jung as 6th and Solberg 7th … but the IW seedings are opposite, with Solberg 6th and Jung 7th. Thankfully that's not a breakpoint so it really doesn't matter, but I still found it amusing.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:13 PM   #1078
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The second week of the AO was the first challenger of the year for my younger players. They headed off to CH1 Heilbronn, where I unrealistically thought Nasir Chittoor might slide into the final seeded spot. Instead, he lost to the 6-seed in a close first-round match, and the week was an unmitigated disaster. Satyagit Guha didn't make it out of qualifying, and the doubles effort didn't reach the main draw either. A mistake to enter there, and we paid for it.

Then the second round of the World Team Cup, where we met up with the United States. A win here would assure us of making it through group play. I had high hopes going up against them on clay, but we came up on the short end of a 3-2 score. Doubles was no contest, and we got one win each in singles. Sushant Chiba split a pair of 5-set matches; I needed one of the guys to win over Molyneaux but it didn't happen. It's unlikely, but if we lose against Russia and Spain beats the USA in the final round, we'll be left holding the bag. More probable is a close win and just getting through.

Chiba played a couple of events after some time off, bowing out in the semis of both Delray Beach (250, Hard) and Acapulco (500, Hard). Both losses were to Mexico's Jorge Campos, who pushed upwards while Sushant just sort of hangs out in the upper teens. Amrik Kasaravalli lost to the much better indoor player Algot Hakanson at the Memphis Indoors, then accepted the fact that he's down in the challenger ranks AGAIN and stomped through the field at CH2 Casablance, flattening Anilophile Willy Weigl in the title match there. It's not his last challenger unless he makes a breakthrough sometime the next month or two. Esp. since the ranking bug showed up and didn't give him credit for it.

Chittoor/Guha went off to CH2 Dallas and had a lot more success there. Won the trophy in doubles, securing their spot for good as Sri Lanka's top pairs team, while Chittoor made his third challenger final - but still came away without the hardware in a disappointingly one-sided 6-1, 6-1 breadstick fest against Tim Gudsell. Guha was punished in qualifying once more. Scheduling for those two is still very precarious, checking the entries in all the relevant events on a week-to-week basis; I really can't plan ahead at all with how unpredictable things are. Just trying to grind whatever ranking/xp points I can find while they steadily improve.

Coming Up ...

The IW/Miami double will probably see Perez take the top spot, and more chaos below, but its far from certain. While the youngster seek out whatever opportunities they can find, Chiba & Kasaravalli seek the breakthroughs that eluded them in Australia.
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:40 AM   #1079
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Indian Wells

This one ... didn't go as planned. The battle of titans never materialized, with Harald Wentz taking his first Masters crown and leaping up to #7, defeating Chisulo Mpakati in a hotly-contested 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(4) final match. Mpakati made the final in Cincy last year, but is still searching for his first hardware in a big event.

Il-Sung Jung and Srba Dogic, both strong hardcourt players, were losing semifinalists in close matches. The finalists knocked out power couple members Perez and Hart respectively in competitive straight-set wins in the quarterfinals. Also falling there were surprises Harald Balzer who refuses to completely go away, and the increasingly impressive Argentine (22) Tobias Velilla.

One step further back you find Seamus Hughes, fourth-round upset victim against Velilla, and also my pair. Sushant Chiba had a nice, close win over 10th-seeded Haas before Perez showed him the door, while Amrik Kasaravalli had a good draw that almost went south - and should have. Aviles continued his poor performance off of clay with a loss to American Jaak Christ, but Christ with a home advantadge should have been able to beat Kasaravalli. He definitely outplayed him, but Amrik eked out a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5) win that he didn't really deserve. His fourth-round defeat came in dual tiebreaks at the hands of Jung.
It wasn't that close but there were only two BP total in the match - both converted, one by each player - so that gave him a chance.

Overall, a good showing for me and in the big picture a couple of things happened. If you were looking for a big changing of the guard moment, I think this was it. We've now got Mpakati/Jung/Wentz in the 5-8 spots, and they'll be much more likely to appear at the business end of tournaments. Their time is no longer a speculated thing in the future - it is now. Solheim is off the first page, Solberg and Molyneaux appear to be following them shortly. Meanwhile 3-5 have never won a Masters, but 6-9 have. That part though figures to change soon. And then Nicolas Perez ascends in highly anticlimactic fashion to the spot of #1 in the world at 24 and a half years of age. John Hart held the spot for almost four years. It's not a sure thing that he won't get it back briefly but I'd say the odds are not in his favor. I'll have a more full accounting of his time at the top further on down the road, but a polite round of applause would seem to be in order for the deposed champion.

Elsewhere ...

Ranked just slightly too high for doubles, Satyagit Guha had a singles-only FT3 in Mexico. A 3-set QF loss to South Africa's Brian Conrad ended that a little sooner than I wished. Guha is close to breaking through as a consistently successful futures player, but has rare opportunities at it and isn't a dominant force down there just yet. The next week, Nasir Chittoor joined him in CH2 Rabat. Chittoor made the quarters before getting his medicine soundly served by Top 50 Manuel Iruso. A doubles title that was a breeze until the final gave both of them a good reason for showing up though.
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:32 AM   #1080
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One is a fluke, two is trend, or so they say. And we've definitely got a trend here, involving one Harald Wentz who captures consecutive Masters Shields by defeating Nicolas Perez and John Hart in the final two rounds this time. He outplayed them both as well, and is making a serious statement in the early spring here. Ali Solberg decided to show up for a bit of a run, filling the other semifinal spot.

Jung, Haas, Solheim, and another appearance by Tobias Velilla who nearly got Perez in probably the best match of the tournament round out the QF field. 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-3 was the count in that all-Argentine encounter. Luminaries Hughes (to Haas), L. Perez (to Jung) and Mpakati (to Solberg) all suffered fourth-round defeats, the first two of those very close matches indeed. Srba Dogic continued a decidedly underwhelming year with a third-round match against Stachovsky. He bageled the Russian in the first set … and then dropped a close second and third to fade out. Sheesh.

As for me, Amrik Kasaravalli met Sushant Chiba in the third round for their third official meeting, tied at 1-all. Experience narrowly prevailed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, giving Chiba the chance to get straight-setted by Hart. Notable is that both players have almost identical endurance … with Chiba more than six years older. That about says it all in terms of the differences between the two. Sushant made the semis here last year and I knew that wasn't going to happen again - a solid showing by both players as they got as far as they were supposed to, but that's all.

A couple more weeks of practice for the youngsters - there was an event or two with an invitingly weak field, but they weren't fresh enough to be in a position to take advantage of it.

Coming Up ...

Hopefully tomorrow I'll take a look at what's changed over the first quarter of the year, setting the stage for the clay season. The vital group WTC match with Russia also beckons, so we'll soon see if Sri Lanka does indeed emerge from their fearsome Group of Death.
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Old 06-25-2019, 10:39 PM   #1081
Brian Swartz
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I find the ranking updates more interesting to do these days with the number of people we have in the club. Leaves something to talk about in almost every tier.

Q2 Rankings Update

1. Nicolas Perez(24, ARG) - 12,040

What do you do when you've reached the mountaintop? Win everything in sight, strengthen your grip, and stay as long as you can. After winning Rome, winning Madrid, and reaching the RG final last year, staying on top is not as foregone conclusion. Perez will need another strong clay performance.

2. John Hart(29, IRE) - 11,160

Roland Garros could well give Hart another chance at being top dog. Whether he manages it or not is another issue, but a 4th-round exit there last year after quality showings coming in is a big part of why he's trailing. If he's going to make a fight of it, now's the time.

3. Harald Wentz(23, AUT) - 5,355

A month ago Wentz was 11th. Then he stormed his way through IW and Miami, announcing himself as the best hardcourt player around and top challenger to Perez. He could well be exactly that for the next two years, though he'll definitely have competition. I don't think Wentz will be the latest in the carousel of players to grab the third spot - he's probably here to stay. No slouch on clay himself, the young Austrian will now bid to enhance his position and start closing the gap to Hart. #3 is the best any Austrian has done, and the last time it happened the tour was in its infancy.

4. Seamus Hughes(29, IRE) - 4,970

Hughes doesn't have a single result befitting a Top 4 player this year, and I think he's starting to really feel his age against the increasingly stiff competition. He's not the only one, and he's weathered it better than most, but he's still slipping.

5. Srba Dogic(25, CRO) - 4,795

Dogic could get back up to 4th, but my money says he keeps on sliding. Too many other good players in strong positions now.

6. Chisulo Mpakati(23, ZAF) - 4,575

An early loss in Miami is the only thing really marring a strong start to the year. Mpakati could be the best bet to snag that fourth position soon.

7. Barry Molyneaux(29, USA) - 4,500

Molyneaux exited in the round of 16 in all three big events so far. That's the measure of where he is, captain of a slowly sinking ship.

8. Il-Sung Jung(24, KOR) - 4,370

Ironically, Jung is losing early enough in doubles lately to keep his singles ascencion on track. We'll see how long that lasts for him.

9. Calisto Aviles(23, ESP) - 4,155

It's time to see if last year's historic run to the top of the clay world was a fluke or a sign of things to come. It'll be a hefty fall if the Spaniard fails to repeat in RG ... but he lost early in Rome and didn't even play Madrid, so there are opportunities as well.

10. Ali Solberg(27, SWE) - 3,905

An anemic start to the year was revived with a SF showing in Miami, but with younger and better players blocking the way now it's hard to see Solberg getting back much of his former glory. He's not the old, just past his peak, but that's all it takes for the young guns to take charge when they are this good.

Half of the Top 10 is under age 25. I'm quite sure that's a first. The Age of Perez should last for some years - and he'll have company that he's going to get very familiar with. Too familiar perhaps in some cases.

11. Ollie Haas(25, NLD)

A respectable start to the year for Haas despite falling a couple spots. Only IW was a disappointment.

12. Emilien Mathou(26, FRA)

Another guy who is right where he should be after a trio of 4th-round showings.

13. Isa Solheim(27, DEN)

Poster child for 'darn these young guys are good'. Like Solberg etc., the game has just passed him by a year or two before it normally happens for a player of his quality pedigree.

15. Lucas Perez(24, ARG)

A whole bunch of nothing so far and lost his first match in IW. Lucas is one of those guys who needs to make it big on the dirt, and he's got a couple of deep masters runs to defend now.

16. Tim de Jong(26, NLD)

Looked good in Australia, but hasn't since.

18. Sushant Chiba(30, SRI)

Best old guy still playing. Still sliding, but didn't do much on the clay last year so should hold in the upper teens for now.

20. Tobias Velilla(22, ARG)

Up a few spots since the start of the year, Velilla has proven more dangerous than I predicted. Looks like he has no intention of waiting his turn.

22. Clavet Moniotte(25, FRA)

Still looking for that breakthrough in the big eventes, and clay is Moniotte's best surface. Of course there's still lots of competition.

24. Acke Kjaerstad(24, SWE)

Doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing, no better and no worse.

26. Santino Belmon(26, ITA)

Skipping IW wasn't the best idea in the world, even if he detests hard courts.

27. Algot Hakanson(25, SWE)

Still loading up on 250s, Hakanson was knocked out in the first round of the AO, did ok in Miami, and skipped IW. We'll be nice and say he's still working on being a consistent force. Up a few spots from the start of the year, but not back to his career high.

32. Andrey Rublev(24, RUS)

Looked solid in both of the recent Masters. Rublev is a jack of all trades so he could do a little something on clay ... or not.

34. Amrik Kasaravalli(24, SRI)

Making himself at home in this rut he's in, which is looking more and more like a trench. But hey, he's still a clay guy, so now's the time. Right? Please??

36. Joao Narcisco(23, BRA)

Time for the Brazilian to try and make the jump. Good job getting here ... and good luck getting out the challenger ranks. You're gonna need it.

42. Helmut Edlund(22, SWE)

Lots of challenger final losses this year. Edlund is down a few spots but that's not particularly material as he's still not ready yet. In good position for when he is though, but could definitely stand to not play himself to death.

44. Willy Weigl(22, AUT)

Same exact problem assessment here.

94. Mark Smith(20, GBR)

The best of our big generation is neither Chits nor Fitz at the moment. Two challenger wins already. Both in front of home crowds, but still. When you've just turned 20, that's not bad.

96. Tommy Fitzpatrick(20, IRE)

Broke through with the title at CH2 Bergamo a couple months ago. Overall, a consistent QF/SF performer as he works his way up.

97. Shakti Vemireddy(20, SRI)

Vemireddy has stalled out. It happens to almost everyone at some point.

101. Girish Shivakumar(20, SRI)

He's actually going backwards. It's been a few months since he made a real splash in any tournament, and he's looking up at the career-best of 90th.

116. Nasir Chittoor(20, SRI)

The sense of the crowded field grows more acute. It's hard this time of year to find a tournament ripe for Nasir to make a serious run. Patience is essential, but also hard to find. The big futures wins are starting to fall off, and he might find himself going backwards before forwards here. 175th in doubles as progress there does continue and helps.

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

706th in singles so maybe he still flounders there, but Guha is still pushing his way consistently up the doubles rundown. He may well be ready to graduate before Chittoor is in singles, which would be hilarious.

187. Rakesh Kayeeda(20, SRI)

194. Ritwik Intodia(20, SRI)

Making their way deliberately towards the logjam above, this pairing will definitely have something to say in the upcoming Challenger Wars.

212. Helmut Hoetker(19, SUI)

Three losses in FT1 finals this year. Hoetker is close, and will soon make the jump regardless.

860. Lubos Rucklov(18, CZE)

Runner-up at the junior Wimbledon last year, Rucklov now joins the chase. One win and a final to show for his futures efforts so far - a solid start. Decided to bypass amateurs altogther it appears.

1945. Chang-hui Cheng(18, TPE)

Not quite so accomplished as a junior, Cheng is also taking longer to get going as a pro. Made the final of his most recent amateur though, so he appears to be on his way now.

725(D). Gajimir Logovic(25, MAL)

Taken on a couple months ago by one of our newer members, Logovic is a 'starter veteran' who has been set to work playing amateur singles events to get some points. He's only 2016th on that side of things, so getting to the point where he can play both sides of tournaments in the same tier is a wise plan.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 06-25-2019 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 06-27-2019, 04:45 AM   #1082
Brian Swartz
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A little something I noticed that is both sad and amusing.

Kasaravalli is playing another challenger this week, which will replace the Bucharest result from last year but otherwhise won't help him much. He's in the very weird position that I've never seen before where he's eligible to play challengers, but they don't do him any good because he's got good points in those last few slots - he just needs to replace the crap results from the big events with better ones. And the only way to do that is to make it further in them, so …. yeah. I wish he would stop circling the airfield and land that darned airplane.
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Old 06-27-2019, 05:11 AM   #1083
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He is eligible to skip some of smaller masters and Monte Carlo going away should help him.

Wentz should at least be weaker on clay than hard courts so hopefully that charge can be slowed down. Though Aviles is such a spoiler and does not have a good seed. An early match vs him could cost Perez a lot of points. A lot to lose for Perez but the potential to gain a bit with a poor result in Monte Carlo last year and a potential French Open.

The Summer swing points could be tougher to defend if Wentz picks up where he left off again.
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Old 06-28-2019, 02:05 AM   #1084
Brian Swartz
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Well Monte Carlo isn't going away, but it still will help him a bit . I could have played it that way, but I just don't see the utility in it. Move up a bit with challenger results … but then you can't play them anymore and ultimately to make any significant progress it's all going to be about getting some upsets somewhere, whether it's the big events or 250s/500s, he's just got to beat higher-ranked players and there's no real way around that.
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:56 AM   #1085
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Think it’s for the ranking actually. Higher chance of seeding in 250/500s and in the grand slams. Rather than bashing your head against a wall if the player isn’t quite there yet for whatever reason?
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Old 06-28-2019, 10:34 AM   #1086
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Right but that doesn't really work in his situation. He's already getting seeded in the Grand Slams. He could add one more 500 event at some point instead of MC and get a few spots higher in the rankings but that's not going to move the needle. Still would need to upset higher players in 250s/500s/whatever he plays. It's a situation I've never encountered before where for over a year now he's been smashing any challenger while yawning the whole time, but he can't break through in the higher events.
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Old 06-28-2019, 10:41 AM   #1087
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Aviles shows he is ready to defend in RG. Annoying as it will make it tough to defend Rome/Madrid. He did outplay Perez though. Could we end up in a situation with specialists winning everything and the top players just being the most consistent? I reckon the sheer mass of games in the next few weeks to slow Aviles down at least but Perez faces a similar issue.

Hopefully he adds to his total anyway. My next goal for Perez is to overtake Alastra in the legends rankings. Alastra had 6 slams, 1 end of year and 8 masters. Perez is currently on 3 slams and 4 masters so it seems doable if the next generation don't mess it up too much for him.

Hart is definitely struggling against farther time now. Wimbledon will be a big test for him.
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Old 06-29-2019, 05:40 AM   #1088
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Originally Posted by Brian Swartz View Post
Right but that doesn't really work in his situation. He's already getting seeded in the Grand Slams. He could add one more 500 event at some point instead of MC and get a few spots higher in the rankings but that's not going to move the needle. Still would need to upset higher players in 250s/500s/whatever he plays. It's a situation I've never encountered before where for over a year now he's been smashing any challenger while yawning the whole time, but he can't break through in the higher events.

Sorry maybe I’m misunderstanding but he didn’t end the year in the TOP 30? If so he has the option not to play the Masters events and instead go for other tournaments. I can’t recall the calendar offhand but it does potentially allow him to replace many of those events with potentially much more points in order to entrench himself properly in the TOP 30.

Ultimately he would need to beat better players of course but it’s just not playing tournaments where he isn’t going to be seeded and runs the risk of an early exit. Think he presents a different challenge for you compared to your previous players.
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Old 06-29-2019, 06:06 AM   #1089
Brian Swartz
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He does have the option of skipping them, and if he doesn't play all the masters he doesn't risk the early exit. But at his ranking, the only other thing he can do is play a practice tournament against players he's going to beat easily and therefore get lousy experience from. Since there aren't any 250s/500s in Masters weeks there aren't any other options. XP isn't that much worse even if he loses in the first round given the lack of a quality practice option, and if you don't play you don't give yourself the chance to cause an upset and benefit.

You're right that he's different from my other players for sure, I'm just saying there is no useful alternative.
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Old 06-29-2019, 06:18 AM   #1090
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Just as a random point. Aviles just played Perez twice in practice on clay and won a total of 8 games...

Let's see if we can actually repeat that result in a competition.
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Old 06-29-2019, 12:33 PM   #1091
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Originally Posted by Christy View Post
Just as a random point. Aviles just played Perez twice in practice on clay and won a total of 8 games...

Let's see if we can actually repeat that result in a competition.

Sorry this just brings this epic rant to mind

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Old 07-01-2019, 09:32 AM   #1092
Join Date: Jun 2018
I like the image. It turns out Aviles should have been worried about practice. In his home masters he got an awful beat down from Rhodes. Hart does not seem to be a contender on clay anymore and Mpataki ascends to the top 4. Could well be him, Wentz and Perez as top 3 by the years end.

Molyneaux seems to be starting doubles training which is having an impressively terrible effect on his singles campaign.

Also the legends page is full of spoilers. Went to see if a win would improve Perez' position. It won't but it had him listed as winning 5 masters in spite of his 5th final not being played yet (it was the appropriate day though, just before the match started.

Maybe Argentinian journalists were a bit hasty in dismissing Mpataki's chances in the final.

Last edited by Christy : 07-01-2019 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 07-05-2019, 01:14 PM   #1093
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Good run to the 4th round for Kasaravalli. Replacing his result from Australia a little belatedly.

Perez wins a slam without needing 5 sets. 5 out of the last 6 slam finals and he has won 4 of them. He has been doing well. Wentz gets to the final with Mpataki and Haas continuing their good seasons.

They have solidified their place near the top of the game.
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Old 07-08-2019, 12:33 AM   #1094
Brian Swartz
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I've been reading what Christy has to say, but otherwhise slacking on my own updates. Probably will include more of that stuff in the post-Wimbledon reports. I should congratulate Mark Smith and Algot Hakanson, both of whom beat my higher-ranking, lame-on-grass players in 250 events this week.

This is not encouraging heading to the AELTC.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:52 AM   #1095
Brian Swartz
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Just as everybody - by which I mean nobody - predicted, John Hart not only repeated as Wimbledon champion, he did so without losing a set. Fourth title for him there and first time he's managed to defend. As usual, there was a surprise, with (14) Tim de Jong being the final opponent. de Jong ended the push of #1 Nicolas Perez in the semis, stopping the Argentine at least for now from claiming all four Slams at the same time. On the other side, Emilien Mathou was perhaps the toughest opponent Hart faced the whole fortnight; 7-6(2), 7-5, 7-6(4) in that semi. This despite needing a 10-8 5th set for the Frenchman to get out of the third round. .

Third-ranked Wentz had a second straight 4th-round exit here - though he went the distance against de Jong - while Mpakati and Haas departed in the quarterfinals. Ollie Haas, a finalist last year, was a big hurdle for Perez to get by and he looked strong at that point before the Dutch surprise was sprung. Ali Solberg and, surprisingly enough, Calisto Aviles were the other two among the final eight.

There were some low seeds who made nice runs as well. American Gregory Gulley and Russian Andrey Rublev, 30th and 31st respectively, both made the round of 16. Gulley got there in a 5-set epic struggle over Hughes, Rublev in a win over Molyneaux that was almost as long. Il-Sung Jung, always unpredictable, came in 8th but was knocked out by (20) Tobias Velilla, 11-9 in a 3rd-round decider.

My guys went according to plan, which was third round for both. Sushant Chiba's loss to Hart doesn't look too terrible in retrospect, while Amrik Kasaravalli made it one round further than last year before a four-set defeat against Lucas Perez. You just can't get away from the Argentinians. Amrik won the first set, but the turning point seemed to be an epic tiebreak in the second, ultimately lost 12-10. After that, it wasn't nearly as close.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:56 PM   #1096
Brian Swartz
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Q2 Rankings Update

1. Nicolas Perez (24, ARG) - 13,470

The SF defeat at Wimbledon was just Perez's fourth loss of the year, and he has a pretty comfortable perch at the top of the sport. Shouldn't be too tough for him to get over it.

2. John Hart (29, IRE) - 10,610

Clear 7th place now on the all-time Slams list for Hart - his 9 titles move him out of a tie with multiple players, including my best Mehul & Mooljee. Just one more reason to hate the Irish forever (jk).

3. Harald Wentz (24, AUT) - 6,520

We should learn a lot about Wentz this summer. If he can keep up the strong hardcourt play he showed earlier in the year, Perez may have a bona fide rival.

4. Chisulo Mpakati(23, ZIM) - 5,945

The last time I saw three under-25 players in the Top 4 was ... yeah, I'm pretty sure that was never.

5. Srba Dogic(25, CRO) - 4,900

6. Ali Solberg(27, SWE) - 4,710

7. Ollie Haas(25, NLD) - 4,530

8. Il-Sung Jung(25, KOR) - 4,460

The 'second four' here shifts around pretty much after every big event. All of them are fairly inconsistent these days, and none appear to be good enough to regularly challenge those above. I suppose one of them will have to replace Hart eventually ... probably Jung through sheer raw ability.

9. Tim de Jong(26, NLD) - 4,095

In the Top 10 for the first time with the Wimby final. I'd largely given up waiting for him to make his move, and now we'll see if it is sustainable.

10. Barry Molyneaux (29, USA) - 3,820

Regularly bowing out early, I figure this is the last we'll see of him.

11. Emilien Mathou (26, FRA)

Next up, it would seem.

12. Seamus Hughes (29, IRE)

Take a bow, Mr. Hughes. You had a good long run as a very solid first-pager. All good things come to an end.

13. Calisto Aviles (23, ESP)

Wimbledon was the first quality off-clay result for the tour's most extreme 1TP. If he can reproduce that once in a while, a big if, bouncing back up is very possible. On the other hand, pretty much nothing that happened on clay after Monte Carlo was up to expectations.

14. Lucas Perez (24, ARG)

Just not consistent enough yet.

17. Tobias Velilla (23, ARG)

The (other) Argentinians are coming ...

18. Clavet Moniotte(26, FRA)

Close to breaking in to the next tier is the French #2, and there are a couple of aged gentleman ahead of him (Solheim/Rhodes/Hughes) so it shouldn't be long.

20. Sushant Chiba(31, SRI)

The gradual slide continues, but due to events with my younger players I'm not nearly ready for him to go doubles yet.

21. Acke Kjaerstad (24, SWE)

Surprised to see him up a few spots. Nothing spectacular, just SF runs at the Acapulco and Queen's Club 500s.

22. Constantino Gonzoles (26, ARG)

Almost 27 and just starting his slide. Gonzoles is way too good a player to have never even cracked the Top 20 (21st for the career high). A sign of the times.

24. Fabio Cagide (21, ESP)

Quarterfinalist at Roland Garros, he played his last challenger I think just last week. Now we'll see what he does in the big leagues.

25. Santino Belmon (25, ITA)

Though it didn't do him much of anything in the rankings, Belmon nearly knocked off #1 Perez early in the Wimbledon draw. Reality shows him down two spots this year.

27. Algot Hakanson (25, SWE)

Hanging in there.

28. Amrik Kasaravalli (25, SRI)

Nearly back to his peak points from last year, which happened at about the same time, and one spot in the rankings below said peak. About to lose his one good 250 result though. The danger of falling back is never far away, and as the clock ticks on his career there's nothing for Amrik to do but keep on grinding and hoping. Rome QF and RG 4th round are definitely the highlights so far.

29. Gregory Gulley (26, USA)

Gulley we'll probably get into in more detail if he sticks, but he's got Jung Disease - can't decide between disciplines. 35th in doubles, so he's pretty good in both.

30. Joao Narciso (23, BRA)

Narciso definitely proved me wrong, getting into the Top 32 and then reaching the 3rd round at both RG and Wimbledon to solidify it a bit. It's rather annoying as, being a couple years younger, he lacks the technical skills of Kasaravalli yet hangs out right in the same range. At the same time, he deserves a round of applause for promoting sooner than I thought he could do it.

31. Andrey Rublev (24, RUS)

Your typical mixed-results tweener.

Too many to showcase, but there are a LOT of 20-21 year olds in the Top 100. Some of them are Anilophiles to be profiled here, but some are not. Beware.

33. Helmut Edlund (22, SWE)

Knocking on the door ... but two of his top three results - third being the title at CH+ Braunschweig just recently - are about to go away. It looks like more challenger training for the Swede despite the ranking number.

46. Willy Weigl (22, AUT)

Weigl has slipped, partly because he got a little too big for his britches. Back-to-back QF losses at 250 events and a first-round exit at Roland Garros, but he got back on track recently with the trophy at CH1 Turin. He's still very much a top Challenger peformer. Esp. on clay.

69. Mark Smith (20, GBR)

Forget about Fitz & Chitz for now. Smith is making a name for himself and taking a back seat to nobody. He recently took advantadge of his home turf to reach the SF at Queens Club (500) and QF at Eastbourne (250).

82. Tommy Fitzpatrick (21, IRE)

Tried his hand at RG and Wimbledon, exiting in the first round of each. Uneven challenger results as well, and hasn't gone deep in any for a few months now. Looks like maybe Fitz has hit the wall a bit.

84. Shakti Vemireddy (20, SRI)

Recently made the final in back-to-back challengers (Milan & Marburg a month ago), but lost both chances. Vemireddy is ever-more-clearly the best of the not-Anilophile Sri Lankan young guns, but doesn't have a trainer and that's not helping.

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

Nevermind the part where he's 739th in singles, Guha is moving up the doubles rankings. Though more slowly now as challenger wins don't help as much these days. Had another FT3 shot but lost in the quarters again, qualified in one of the challengers but lost in the first round. A first-round doubles exit at the Dublin CH3 was embarassing, but it's the only one in the last few months that hasn't ended with the title. Even got a final super TB win over Kayeeda/Intodia.

94(D). Nasir Chittoor (20, SRI)

Tagging along on Guha's coattails isn't exactly how I planned this year to go, but it's what is happening. Chittoor has no reason to crow about Fitz hitting the wall, because he's hit a lower one, and harder. Singles practice events have turned to crap because he's better than most at his ranking (121st), but can't break through to reach a higher level. Five Challenger finals now, the last one at Winnetka CH3 where he faced Gudsell again and it was competitive ... but the crowd was too much to overcome. No titles yet. If it wasn't for the doubles partnership he'd be well and truly screwed. As it is, that's keeping him afloat until he can find a path upward, but his progression has definitely been hurt a bit.

108. Girish Shivakumar (20, SRI)

Nothing in the last three months here. It looks like Shivakumar might have been abandoned .

169. Ritwik Intodia (20, SRI)

Final at CH2 Nantes a couple months ago, SF at Winnetka more recently (l. Chittoor). Starting to get some good challenger consistency.

188. Helmut Hoetker (19, SUI)

Just burst onto the Challenger scene with a fourth futures title, this one in Canada.

213. Rakesh Kayeeda (20, SRI)

First-round defeats in his last two challengers have Kayeeda lagging behind a bit, but I'm sure that's temporary.

411. Lubos Rucklov (19, CZE)

Three futures titles in as many months have this teenager on a decidedly upward trajectory.

1181. Chiang-hui Cheng (18, TPE)

Got his first amateur title a couple months ago, QF at a homegrown futures.

2427. Mike Corey (18, USA)

Going straight to futures hasn't worked out too well here with a couple of early losses even with home-crowd advantage. Corey is still an amateur, and a badly over-played one. Good perfomer at that level though, ranking 5th currently.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:41 AM   #1097
Brian Swartz
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Join Date: May 2006
Race to the World Tour Finals
Post-Wimbledon edition


Nicolas Perez - 8,720
John Hart - 5,840

Just the power couple here for now, claiming the first two spots. There's no question - at least right now - who is #1 and who is #2.


Harald Wentz - 5620
Chisulo Mpakati - 4630
Ollie Haas - 4150
Tim de Jong - 3570
Calisto Aviles - 3045

Wentz could well snag the runner-up spot by year's end as has been previously speculated, and Mpakati's Masters results are really weird - all early losses except the three in which he made the final. Make up your mind, dude. The Dutch Duo of Haas and de Jong look set to make their debuts as well. If all that happens we'd have a record four newcomers - typically there's one, maybe two.

Aviles could make it a 5th, but he's a massive question mark.


Il-Sung Jung - 2760
Ali Solberg - 2580

Jung hass done jack squat since the AO, and Solberg has been up and down. This last spot is begging for more competition at the moment, but my money's on Jung to grab the 8th selection and make it a truly stupid six new finalists below the Perez/Hart combo.

Long Shots

Lucas Perez - 2270
Srba Dogic - 2050
Mike Rhodes - 2030
Emilien Mathou - 2050
Seamus Hughes - 1980

Multiple players here are headed for free-fall; 10th-ranked Molyneaux doesn't even have enough this year to be listed. Others, such as Mathou, appear headed upwards. Perez could certainly do it if he can put it all together, but he's another highly inconsistent performer so I'm selling on his possibilities right now.

The most surprisingly thing is how short this list is. There's a whole raft of players in the 1500-1700 range, of a variety of shapes and sizes. Declining veterans, never-quite-got-there journeymen like Gonzoles and Moniotte, aspiring stars like Velilla and Kjaerstad who haven't achieved nearly enough just yet ...

It looks to me like with the big move upward that the current and future generation of stars made over the past year, we're now waiting for a second movement to happen. Lots of switching around and sorting around to go in the teens and low 20s. The 12-32 range currently has eight players at 28 or above, and Molyneaux set to join them soon as a 9th. As the sun sets on all of those careers, a clearer picture of the new 'on-deck' scenario will emerge - to be frustrated by the youth and talent of the present power structure for the most part.

Last edited by Brian Swartz : 07-11-2019 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:22 AM   #1098
Join Date: Jun 2018
Wimbledon was a competition of ups and downs. Going to 5 sets in spite of not giving up a single bp opportunity was annoying but probably just gave me more xp.

Then Haas had a nightmare of a match when he was likely favourite going 0-9 on bps was lucky and it was repaid vs De Jong. Neither game deserved to be over in the minimum.

Fair play to Hart. I thought Wimbledon would be were any claim he had to the number 1 spot would have faded but he has kept it going. He was a decent chunk behind Wentz going in for the year but he caught up. Will be interesting if he can keep it going.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:44 AM   #1099
Join Date: Jun 2018
Congrats to Kasaravalli for his first pro competition win inGstaad!

As the 5th seed he took out 3 of the top 4 himself.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:33 PM   #1100
Join Date: Jun 2018
Back from the dead, actually restarted playing on RR12 about 2 months ago and picked up two young guys. Been voting on the websites as well every day (~1100 credits now) and thinking of just saving up some credits until my players reach 27-28, which is when I'll likely turn them to trainers and finally start my dynasty thing.

Just came here to say that Lilian Bangue (FRA, 21y11wk, 7.45) just won his first Challenger title and is climbing up in the top 160, hoping he can win some major tournaments next year as well. He's a clay-indoor specialist (40-39) which matches very well with French courts and the 4.4 home advantage can give him a legitimate boost in the long-run I believe. Hoping to turn him in a good elite player even if he doesn't win grand slams, his TESS is around 14.7 anyways (though 8.1 TE). Also, 96% aging factor has to make him a decent competitor and give him a slight edge once again, but no high hopes.

The other one is my protégé Raul Ruano (ESP, 19y23wk, 6.77) who's still getting the Futures wins at home at the moment and focusing on maxing out that skill as soon as possible. He's still quality at sitting at 244th, a solid teenager, but this early in his career it's all about stats. Ranking'll come later, he's got time to work on that side of his game! 101% aging factor though, he's peaked physically already but still not declining. TESS of 15.4 (TE 8.5) and his rating is not that bad this early in his career, I think he can reach 7.0 comfortably by his twentieth birthday, 7.5 by his 21st should not be a stretch since service will upgrade fairly quickly once his skills is maxed out. Want him to be a consistent winner at Madrid by the end of his career and maybe get some nice runs in Roland Garros (60% clay specialist) but we'll see, who knows!

Just wanted to share, sorry if I'm hijacking the thread and if there's a better place where I could share this!
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