Monday, April 25, 2011

Futures: Week 16

This was another interesting week in the Futures circuit. Here’s a quick recap:

*INDIA F4: 23-year old Vishnu Vardhan took his second consecutive title in his home country, defeating 31-year old veteran Korean Young-Jun Kim in a 3-set thriller, edging him 13-11 in the final set tie-breaker. Top seeds Danai Udomchoke (THA/formerly ranked 77 in the world) and Karan Rastogi were both eliminated in the semis, as the momentum of Vardhan and Kim was stronger than the ranking disparity. 29-year old Udomchoke is 25-8 on the year as he makes his way back to the big leagues from injury. 21-year old Indian Vijayant Malik advanced to the QF, earning 2 points before being dismantled by the heavily experienced Udomchoke. Former Junior No.9 Hsin-Han Lee (‘88/Taiwan) also advanced to the quarter-finals.

                                          CREDIT: Sandeep Saxena /

*CHINA F4: In another inspired showing by a veteran South Korean, Kyu-Tae Im took home the silverware after defeating the local favorite Zhe Li. After managing to close out a tight first set, Im cruised to a 76 (8) 61 victory. It was mostly a disappointing week for some of the better-known young guns in the tour. 90’-born British hopefuls Alexander Ward and Daniel Evans both went out in the first round, along with Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (’92) and Taiwanese Liang-Chi Huang  (’91). Other than Li’s final appearance, it was a bad week for Chinese prospects. 92’-born Chuhan Wang (former 24-ranked Junior) and Bowen Ouyang (former 16-ranked) were taken out in R2, along with 91-born Di Wu.

*FRANCE F7: Former Junior No.1 Jonathan Eysseric seems to be hitting his stride, as he managed to win a tough 3-setter to take the trophy at home. After a disappointing professional career compared to the lofty expectations that were thrust upon him, the diminutive Eysseric reached his career-high ranking earlier this month (257) and will surely improve that in the next few weeks. To win the title, he took out countryman Romain Jouan. This Future was filled with under-21 players, but most of them failed to advance. Guadaloupe-born Gianni Mina was eliminated in the first round again, along with Pierre-Herbert Hughes, Hugo Nys, Maxime Chazal and Michael Bois. The lone bright spot was ’93-born Tristan Lamasine earning his second ATP point after defeating unranked Yanais Laurent.


*ITALY F6: Veteran “Crazy Dani” Koellerer took the title of this 15k future without dropping a set, defeating Belgian Yannick Mertens in the final. This tournament had the presence of a slew of young guns, including current Junior No.1 Jiri Vesely (CZE, ’93) who advanced to R2 before losing to eventual semi-finalist Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez (’89). Bosnians Mirza Basic (’91, former Junior No.6) and Damir Dzumhur (’92, former Junior No.3) advanced to R2, with Basic making it one round further before losing to Mertens in the QF. Austrian Dominik Thiem (’93, current Junior No.3), using another JE, was eliminated in the first round.

*ARGENTINA F2: This tournament was literally a young-gun fest. With the only real veterans in the draw (Juan Pablo Amado, Diego Alvarez and Lionel Noviski) being eliminated by the QF, it opened up the draw for the brightest Argentinean (with a token Chilean) talent. ’92-born Facundo Arguello showed why he won’t be playing futures much longer, as he cruised to the title, only finding resistance in last-week’s champion Agustin Velotti, whom he discarded with a 16 63 63 victory. Arguello defeated Chilean Cristobal Saavedra (’90, former Junior No.20) in the SF, and Nicolas Pastor (’91) in the final. Pastor took care of Guido Pella (’90) in the other SF. ’93-born Dante Gennaro obtained his second ATP point this week after beating Juan Ignacio Amarante in R1. ’91-born Valentin Florez played his best tennis of the year, defeating Diego Alvarez and Maximiliano Estevez before losing to eventual-champion Arguello. 

                         CREDIT: Osvaldo Carballo y Víctor Alves /

*BRAZIL F10: 23-year old Nicolas Santos had his best showing of the year as he defeated fellow Brazilian and No.1 seed Eladio Ribeiro-Neto en route to winning the title. Santos is another one in a long list of Brazilians who excelled in the Juniors but could not translate such success into the pros. This title comes after 3 consecutive R1 loses, so it might signal a turnaround in his career. ’92-born Bruno Semenzato advanced to the QF, before losing to Fabiano De Paula (’88).

*TURKEY F14: Rounding up the podium of young guns this week is Slovakian Jozef Kovalik (’92) who followed up a semi-final appearance last week with a final showing this time, only to be stopped just short of the title by Spaniard (and US college-trained) Arnau Brugues. Kovalik took down struggling No.1 seed Brydan Klein, along with young-guns Yannick Reuter (Belgium) and Michal Konecny en-route to the final.

                        CREDIT: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

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