Monday, June 13, 2011

Futures: Week 22

There are a lot of interesting wrinkles and plots in this week of intense tennis action. So here’s a recap of the most interesting events:

*CHINA F7: Local player Ze Zhang won his second title in a month’s time after defeating South Korean Jae-Sung An 64 62 in the final. The 1990 born Chinese survived a scare in the quarter finals against Dylan Kim, before cruising in straight sets in the last two rounds. Zhang, who’s 22-8 for the year, earned valuable points in his quest to return to the top 300, and it didn’t hurt that the tournament was a 15k. The unseeded An, the finalist, fought through 4 three-setters before running out of gas and surrendering in the final. There was limited success for the young guns as Di Wu (‘91/CHN) was the only prospect to advance to the QF. He was eliminated by An.

*IRAN F2: Second week of futures in this middle-eastern country, yet same finalists. Same champion too, it turns out. Italian Matteo Marrai, the No.1 seed, once again defeated Russian Ivan Nedelko to take his second consecutive crown and extend his winning streak to 10 matches. The 24 year-old Italian cruised through the tournament, winning every match in straight sets and never losing more than 5 games in any of them. Nedelko survived a few scares in the preliminary rounds before defeating No.2 seed giant Kamil Capkovic of Slovakia in the semis. Due to being a 15k tournament, the presence of younger players was limited, with the exception of Daniel Berta (’92), the underachieving Swede. The former ITF No.1 and French Open winner, wasted another golden opportunity to embellish his ranking, losing in R2 to unknown local Shahin Khaledan, who entered the week with a single ATP point.

*ITALY F13: This tournament was very exciting due to having many of the best young prospects in the world and a few wily veterans of the futures tour. Throw in the fact that it was a 15k and that the No.1 seed went out in R1 and you have the perfect recipe for entertainment. Matteo Trevisan (’89), the highly touted Italian prospect came up with the victory, defeating countryman Gianluca Naso, a much heralded player once too. Trevisan was favored by the retirement of Frenchman Laurent Rochette in R1, and then recovered from a 0-6 first set against Alessandro Gianessi (‘90/ITA) en route to the final. Naso, the No.2 seed and the favorite in the final, had a much rougher week and it’s possible that he had little left for the final. Filip Krajinovic, the uber talented Serbian young gun who was poised for a run to the top 100, was eliminated in R1, thus making it the third time in 4 weeks that he loses in his first match. Swedish Christian Lindell (’91), a finalist the week before, was eliminated in R1 too, along with ’92-born Italian prospects Alessandro Colella and Matteo Civarolo, and former ITF No.1 Tsung-Hua Yang (’91) of Taiwan.  

*NETHERLANDS F1: 24 year old Belgian Maxime Authom was the surprise winner of this 15k futures tournament, after he got past Argentinean Pablo Galdon, 62 62 in the final. The unseeded champion took the No.1 seed (Gregoire Burquier) and only lost a set, in the semis against fellow Belgian Yannick Mertens. Galdon eliminated two Belgians but couldn’t defeat a third one in Authom. To reach the final, Galdon won his SF clash against No.2 seed Fernando Romboli (‘89/BRA), a former ITF No.3 a few years back.  Because of the number of experienced players in the field, most of the younger prospects failed to produce any significant results. However, Pierre-Hughes Herbert (’92/FRA), Arthur De Greef (‘92/BEL) and Sean Berman (’93/USA/former Jr. Australian Open finalist) advanced to R2 before being eliminated.

*POLAND F4: Australian youngster James Duckworth (’92) continued his domination of the Polish futures tournaments by clinching his second crown, this time beating German Peter Torebko in a tough 3-set final.  Duckworth has now won 14 of his last 15 matches and carries a 22-7 record in 2011. The Australian has proven to be a warrior, going the distance multiple times, including his win over top seed Pavol Cervenak of Slovakia. Torebko, for his part, took out last week’s champion Marcin Gawron (’88), the local favorite, en route to the final.

*USA F13: Although full of players unknown in the rest of the world, the field of this tournament was very familiar to fans of American college tennis, especially those in California. Daniel Kosakowski (’92), one of the up and coming starts from the US defeated Steve Johnson, his compatriot and college archrival. Kosakowski attends UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) while Johnson, the top ranked player in American college tennis, played for cross-town foe USC (University of Southern California). Neither was much-heralded in the juniors, but both found their niche in college tennis, and their development obviously hasn’t taken a hit. Kosakowski took out another former college player, Antoine Benneteau of France, in the semis, while Johnson defeated former top 100 Jimmy Wang of Taiwan. American prospects Dane Webb (’92) and Devin Britton (’91) advanced to R2 before being eliminated, while fellow countrymen Ty Trombetta (’90) and Sekou Bangoura (’91) and Christian Harrison (’94) were all taken out in R1.

*ARGENTINA F6: ’91-born Kevin Konfederak obtained his first pro title after defeating fellow Argentinean Guillermo Duran (’88) in the final. The unseeded champion was a former ITF top 20 in 2009, and his talent prevailed over the experience of his rival. This was a tournament where the favorites lost early. The top 2 seeds, Juan Pablo Amado and Diego Schwartzman (’92/ARG), were eliminated in the QFs, opening up the field for the finalists, both of whom had never won a title before. Two of Argentina’s class of ’94 prospects, Mateo Martinez and Juan Cruz Estevarena were part of the field, but couldn’t do much against the top 2 seeds in R1. Peruvian Sergio Galdos (’90) was the surprise of the tournament, advancing to the QFs in a tournament usually dominated by local players.

*BRAZIL F17: Yet another ’91 born Argentinean had a successful week in the tour: Guido Andreozzi won his first title of the season, defeating Brazilian Tiago Lopes in a 3-set final. Andreozzi, once a very highly rated junior who later stopped playing tennis for a year, put his talent in display, dispatching the top seed Eladio Ribeiro Neto in the semis. Lopes survived a 3-set thriller in the QFs against Juan Vazquez Valenzuela, a ’91-born highly-touted Argentinean who came back from retirement. Brazilians made up most of the field, but Eduardo Dischinger (’92) was the only young gun to make any noise, downing the No.2 seed Danilo Ferraz before losing in the QFs. Pedro Sakamoto (’93/BRA), who earned his first ATP point in Spain a few weeks back, earned another point with a R1 win over qualifier Ivan Garcia-Castro.

*INDIA F8: Another young-gun shone at home as Karunday Singh (’90) won the title over fellow Indian Vijayant Malik (’90), 64 62 in the final. Singh had a complicated path to the final, including multiple 3-setters and a clash against the top seed and India’s best prospect in a decade, the diminutive Yuki Bhambri (’92), who retired when he was down a set in the QFs. Bhambri has had a very disappointing pro career, as he hasn’t been able to get out of the futures and into the challengers. On the other hand, Malik had to go through Swedish Patrick Rosenholm (’88), last week’s winner and very successful in Indian territory. 15-year old Ronit Singh Bishit (’96) qualified into the main draw but lost to ’93-born Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash (IND), who earned his first ATP point.

*INDONESIA F3: One can’t help but feel that all players not named Christopher Runkgat play only for second place at the Indonesian futures. The ’90-born local hope won his 3rd consecutive tournament, this time defeating a different Japanese, Kento Takeuchi, in the final. He now boasts a 15-match winning streak. Runkgat, a former ITF top 20 in 2009, was only forced to work a little extra by another heralded Asian prospect, Liang-Chi Huang (‘91/TPE) in the SFs. However, not even Huang could take him to a third set. The tiny Indonesian will now crack the top 500 for the first time in his career. Takeuchi, for his part, benefited from the early elimination of No.2 seeded giant Australian Mark Verryth and of German Richard Becker, a finalist 2 weeks ago. The surprises of the tournament were Nuttanon Kadchapanan (‘93/THA) and Kelsey Stevenson (‘90/CAN) who used a few lucky breaks to advance to the QFs.

*JAPAN F5: On a week dominated by the young-guns, local Hiroyasu Ehara (‘91/JAP) decided he wasn’t going to be the exception. He defeated ’89-born fellow Japanese Jun Mitsuhashi, 76 36 76 in a closely contested final. The champion, who will rise to a career high ranking next week, had to work overtime in his last 4 matches, only cruising in straight sets in the opening round. The other two big-named prospects coming of Japan, Shuichi Sekiguchi (’91) and Yasutaka Uchiyama (’92) had acceptable showings, losing in R2 and the SFs respectively. Hsin-Han Lee of Taiwan was the only non-Japanese in the QFs. The former ITF No.9 was eliminated by the eventual champion.

*MEXICO F6: Starting with Mexico F3, Moldavian Roman Borvanov had managed to win one more match than the previous week in every tournament. That’s why, after losing in the final last week, it made sense that he took it one step further and clinched the title. He defeated Uruguayan Marcel Felder in a tough 3-set final. Borvanov survived a scare in R1, and then had to defeat local Daniel Garza in the semis, a tough task considering Garza’s impressive play at home. Felder, on the other hand, took care of young Salvadorian giant Marcelo Arevalo in the semis. Arevalo, who plays college tennis in the United States, is a former ITF top 10. Unranked Mexican Daniel Fernandez (’92) pulled a pair of upsets to make it to the QFs, where he joined countryman Manuel Sanchez (’91). Both were eliminated in that round.

*ROMANIA F3: Top seed Gerard Granollers-Pujol continued his excellent performance in 2011 by taking another futures title, his third one this year. He defeated Petru-Alexandru Luncanu (’89) in the final by a score of 64 64. Granollers-Pujol seems to be following in the footsteps of his brother Marcel, and looks set to upgrade to the challenger tour. Luncanu, a former ITF No.3 in 2008, is having a very productive season took, improving his overall record to 21-8 after reaching his second final in three weeks. He is a player to keep an eye on, as this could be the beginning of him fulfilling his extensive potential. Beyond Luncanu, the rest of Romania’s young prospects were present, and showed moderate success. ’90-born Robert Coman advanced to the SFs, before losing to Luncanu. ’93-born Teodor Nicolae Marin made it to the QFs, while fellow unranked Stefan Vinti (’94) obtained his first ever ATP point.



  1. Where's 'erroneous' reaction check box?

  2. I'll tally a point for that too. May I ask you for contrusctive criticism? I'll gladly admit to any mistakes and correct them. The goal is to inform and to be accurate and to express an opinion based on trends, scores, etc. Obviously I didn't attend any of those tournaments. Where did I screw up? Thanks for commenting

  3. OK, I guess you misunderstood as you obviously didn't catch the suggestion to improve the accuracy of the future posts.

    Your blog is very informative and a nice read and I hope you will keep it rolling on.

  4. Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. I go off the ATP and ITF sites, so unless my eyes fail me I won't say X beat Y if it didn't happen. Please point out any mistakes you catch (not as proof that you're right and I'm not, but as a way of helping me achieve that accuracy that we both seek). If you know others that are into the subject please send them my way! There's not that many of us...

  5. Not that many of us, I agree, but the ones that are into it will appreciate your weekly recaps. I know I do as I always find some interesting facts I wasn't aware of.
    As for the mistakes, they're related to players' year of birth (e.g. Herbert is '91, not '92, Huang is '92 not '91, Mantilla is '93 not '94 (all from week 23 recap) and in week 22 those I noticed were the same (Liang and Herbert).