Monday, June 6, 2011

Futures: Week 21

After a couple of weeks off the blog is up again. It was yet another exciting week in the futures tour with a few players continuing their hot streaks and some new ones picking up steam. Here’s the summary:

*IRAN F1: This Middle-Eastern future had a rather weak field for being a 15k tournament, as it was filled with unranked local players. Only the seeded players were ranked in the top 1000, and there was only 7 of them after Barry King of Ireland withdrew before the start of play. No.1 seed Matteo Marrai of Italy took the title, defeating No.3 seeded Ivan Nedelko of Russia 63 61 in the final. The top 4 seeds made the semi-finals, with Stanislav Vovk (‘91/RUS) and Kamil Capkovic losing in the SFs. Heralded former junior No.1 Daniel Berta (’92) of Sweden made it to the QFs, but only after laboring through 6 sets against inferior opponents. He was eliminated by Vovk in straight sets, resulting in another disappointing showing.

*KOREA F3: Unlike the previous week where the young-guns dominated the field in South Korea, it was a local veteran that played the best tennis and ended up as the champion. 30-year old Kyu-Tae Im defeated young Chinese Di Wu (’91) with a double 62, thus earning valuable points from this 15k tournaments. Wu defeated up and coming South Korean Yong-Kyu Lim (’91) in the QFs and Zhe Li of China in the semis. Im defeated 4 countrymen on his way to the final. The better-known young-guns disappointed, as American Michael McClune (’89) only reached R2, while Jaan-Frederik Brunken (‘90/GER) and Suk-Young Jeong (‘93/KOR) failed to even advance that far.

*UZBEKISTAN F2: The only other 15k tournament of the week took place in Uzbekistan, and once again the top seeds made most of the noise. Veteran No.1 seed Raven Klaasen of South Africa defeated second-seeded Mikhail Vasiliev (RUS) in 3 sets to take the title. Klaasen, who had a disappointing QF loss the previous week, defeated local Murat Inoyatov and Swiss Adrien Bossell en route to the final, while Vasiliev went through fellow Russian Ervand Gasparyan and youngster Alexander Rumyantsev (’92). Several young locals achieved their first ATP points due to the weakness of the field. Among them was local Temur Ismailov, born in 1995, although he had also won his R1 match the previous week. He was eliminated in straight sets by Bossell in R2.

*BOSNIA F5: Heralded former junior Jozef Kovalik (‘92/SVK) continued his successful  incursion into the pros by winning his first future title. He defeated No.2 seed local Aldin Setkic 63 64 in the final. Kovalik advanced to the final by defeating heralded Bosnian Damir Dzumhur (’92) in the semis. Dzuhmur was carrying an 8-match winning after taking the title at home 2 weeks ago. Setkic, who had not dropped sets before the final, lost his second final in 3 weeks (lost to Dzumhur in Bosnia F3).

*BRAZIL F16: Unseeded local Fabiano De Paula (’88) won his first title every, defeating the much better-known Nicolas Santos (‘88/BRA) 75 64 in the final. De Paula was taken to 3 sets in the first 2 rounds before hitting his stride and winning in straight sets the rest of the way. With the junior-aged locals participating in Roland Garros Jr, the field was open for lesser known prospects. ’93-born Brazilian Raul Francisquiny defeated 8th seeded Argentinean Guido Andreozzi (’91) on his way to the QFs, where he lost to Daniel Silva (‘90/BRA). ’92-born Uruguayan Martin Cuevas also advanced to the quarter-finals, taking down No.2 seed Eladio Ribeiro Neto in R1. Argentinean Juan Vazquez Valenzuela (’91) earned a single point after his R1 win. The former junior No.7 is trying to resume his career after retiring early last year to pursue an acting career. He bowed out to Daniel Silva in R2.

*GUAM F1: Top seeded Korean Daniel Yoo took the title over unseeded Japanese Jun Ito (’89), without doubts the surprise of the tournament held in this island in the Pacific Ocean. Ito upset three seeded players before surrendering to Yoo in straight sets. The field had 18 unranked players, and only the seeded players were ranked in the top 1000. Better-known Japanese young guns Yasutaka Uchiyama (’92) and Hiroyasu Ehara (’91) had solid showings, with Uchiyama reaching the semis and Ehara losing in the QFs. A trio of American players was among those who, in a very opportunistic fashion, obtained their first ATP points. These were Spencer Feldman, Amrit Narasimhat and Arthur Karagezian (’92).

*INDIA F7: ’88-born Swede Patrick Rosenholm returned to India after playing a trio of futures back home, and that proved to be a smart move as he once again took the title, this time defeating local Divij Sharan 64 64 in the final. Rosenholm is now in a 10-match streak in Indian territory. The 7th seed proved how comfortable he feels there as he cruised through the tournament without dropping a set. Rosenholm defeated surprise semi-finalist Russian Vitali Reshetnikov en route to the final, while the unseeded Sharan beat fellow Indian Vijayant Malik (’90). ’95-born Indian Neeraj Elangovan obtained his second ATP point with a R1 win, before losing in R2 to another Swede, Lucas Renard (’92). Renard was the man responsible for ousting No.1 seed American Nicholas Monroe. Also, a pair of  ’93-born Indian prospects, Gurinder Singh and Mohit Jayaprakash, obtained their first ever ATP points.

*INDONESIA F2: No.3 seed and local favorite Christopher Runkgat (’90) stayed on a roll as he won his second consecutive title at home, this time defeating Japanese Arata Onozawa (’88) in the final. He now has a 10-match winning streak. Runkgat took care of top seeded Aussie giant Mark Verryth (’91) in the semis before winning the final in two tie-breakers. Onozawa defeated fellow Japanese Kento Takeuchi. Most of the heralded Asian prospects disappointed, as Bowen Ouyang and Chuhan Wang (both ‘92/CHN), Liang-Chi Huang (‘91/TPE) and Jeson Patrombon (’93/PHI) all failed to make the QFs. The surprises of the tournament were German Richard Becker (’91) and unranked Thai Warit Sornbutnark (’93) who did manage to make the QFs.

*ISRAEL F6: Local Amir Weintraub is arguably the hottest man in the futures circuit, as he took his third consecutive title in home soil, extending his winning streak to 15 matches. After beating British David Rice the past 2 weeks, Weintraub took care of Italian Federico Gaio (’92) this time around. The young and talented Gaio is also having a great run in his first full year as a pro, sporting a 21-9 record. However, all he could do was take 6 games away from the No.1 seed, who defeated him 64 62. It is worth mentioning that Weintraub had only lost a combined 6 games in the 4 matches leading to the final. Joshua Jones (’89) and Oliver Hudson (’93), a pair of unknown Brits, sneaked into the QFs along with Italian Emanuele Molina (’91). More impressive yet was a group of extremely young Israeli earning ATP points at a very early age. Igor Smilansky (’95) won yet another R1 match, and so did Daniel Skripnik (’93) and the extremely precocious Tal Goldengoren (’96). Goldengoren is one of the few players his age in the ATP rankings.

*ITALY F12: After training most of last year in Argentina and performing very well throughout South America, Stefano Travaglia (’91) finally came home, and he did it in style. In a battle of ’91-born rising starts, Travaglia defeated Swedish-Brazilian Christian Lindell 62 62 in the final. Travaglia also conquered fellow young guns Filip Krajinovic (’92/SRB) and Marco Cecchinatto (‘92/ITA) en route to taking his first title at home. On the other semi-final, Lindell took care of Lithuanian youngster Laurynas Grigelis (’91). It was a very productive week for the next wave of tennis starts, as all four semi-finalists were born in 1991 or later.

*MEXICO F5: The Mexican futures are known for their lack of Young prospects, and this tournament proved no different, as local Miguel Gallardo Valles defeated No.1 seeded Moldavian Roman Borvanov in a battle of 29-year olds. Last week’s finalists both fell in the semis this time around, as Gallardo Valles defeated Uruguayan Marcel Felder and Borvanov defeated ’90-born Guatemalan Christopher Diaz-Figueroa. The only other youngster who posted a significant showing was Marvin Barker (‘91/NZL) who advanced to the QFs before losing to Borvanov.

*POLAND F3: Local No.3 seed Marcin Gawron (’88) continued the trend of back to back champions, as he took the title at home for the second consecutive week. This time around he defeated Dutchman Boy Westerhoff 64 62 in the final. Gawron did not drop sets throughout the week and is now on a 10-match winning streak. The surprise of the tournament was young Brit Jack Carpenter (’92), who advanced to the QFs with impressive straight sets wins over Maciej Smola and 6th seeded Gregorz Panfil before losing to the eventual champion. It was his best showing of the year for Carpenter, who is having a very disappointing first full season as a pro.

*ROMANIA F2: Qualifier local Victor Ionita benefited from the retirement of Italian Thomas Fabbiano (’89) in the final to take the title. Ionita, who was in the top 200 back in 2005, survived a trio of 3-setters in the early rounds en route to the final. Fabbiano, on his part, overcame last week’s champion Petru-Alexandru Luncanu (‘89/ROM) and the tournament’s top seed Gerard Granollers-Pujol before running out of gas in the final. Unranked ’89-born German Stephen Hoiss was the surprise of the tournament, as he rode a favorable draw into the QFs, where he lost in straight sets to the eventual champion.

*SPAIN F18: No.1 seed Arnau Brugues-Davi (ESP) proved that he is virtually unbeatable in the futures this year, claiming his 7th title of the season after defeating unseeded Irish James McGee. Brugues-Davi has won titles in France, Turkey, USA and now Spain. He has lost only once, to ’92-born rising German Kevin Krawietz in Croatia in late February. McGee gave the Spaniard all he could handle before surrendering in the third set tie-breaker. Unranked Javier Pulgar-Garcia (’89/ESP) was the surprise of the tournament, as he defeated a streaking Tak Khunn Wang (‘91/FRA) to reach the QFs. He was slotted to play McGee but was forced to walk over due to injury.

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