Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Futures: Week 27

Top seeds, one returning veteran and plenty of next-wavers enjoyed the sweet taste of success this week in the futures. Here’s the recap:

*ARMENIA F2: After falling just short last week, Croatian Toni Androic (’91) wasn’t about to let another opportunity slip by. He defeated Russian (of Armenian descent) Ervand Gasparyan in a straight sets final. With the win, Androic improves to 26-10 in 2011 and will jump to a career high spot inside the top 400 in the world. He jumped over 100 ranking spots in 2 weeks thanks to his success in Armenian territory. The champion had a combination of impressive wins, guts and luck to clinch the title, as he defeated current ITF No.1 Jiri Vesely (‘93/CZE) in 3 sets, and outlasted Stanislav Poplavskyy (’91/UKR) and Ivan Nedelko in the next 2 rounds (they both retired before the end of their matches). Ironically, Gasparyan’s run was much smoother, not dropping a set until the final, and crushing last week’s champion Dino Marcan (’91/CRO) by a score of 62 60. Gasparyan went on to defeat the brand new Russian (and former Georgian) Nikoloz Basilashvili (’92) in the semis before losing the final to Androic. The disappointing performances of the tournament came in the hands of top seeds Mikhail Vassiliev and Valery Rudnev. Both Russians were eliminated in the QFs.

*CHINESE TAIPEI F2: Just like Androic in Armenia, Hiroki Moriya (’90) wasn’t about to lose consecutive finals. That’s why the diminutive Japanese took advantage of the early elimination of top seed Tsung-Hua Yang (’91/TPE), and clinched the title by defeating unseeded Korean Jae-Sung An. Moriya is having an excellent 2011 season (improved to 30-13) and with the title he will likely surpass his previous career high and rank somewhere inside the top 360 in the world. The winner had a rough road to the title, as he endured 3 three-setters during the week. He went the distance against Christopher Rungkat (‘90/INA) and Ti Chen only to reach the final. An had a smoother run to the final, which included upsetting Yang (who himself had taken out last week’s champion Junn Mitsuhashi) easily in the semis. An had also taken out another talented next-waver in Yong-Lyu Kim (’91/KOR) in the quarter finals.

*FRANCE F12: No great surprises here as top seed Gregoire Burquier clinched the title over Dutchman Antal van der Duim in a contested 3-set final. The 26-year old has played a lot of tennis this season, but the win will guarantee him a new career high and a spot very close to the top 200. He dropped an average of 5 games per match leading to the final, including wins over French up and comers Tak Khunn Wang (’91) and Jerome Inzerillo (’90). Van der Duim, the runner-up, also made his way to the final without dropping any sets. He benefitted from the retirement of Miljan Zekic, last week’s champion, in R2 due to injury, who was on his side of the draw. In the early rounds, the French next-wavers had a very positive showing, with Michael Bois (’94), Tristan Lamasine (’93) and Maxime Chazal (’93) logging R1 wins. Hugo Nys (’91) made it a round further, advancing to the QFs, along with German Sami Renwein (’92). Finally, the surprise of the tournament was the early elimination of Aussie James Ducksworth (’92), who had been on a tear lately but lost to Nicolas Rosenzweig, who was the last direct entrant into the main draw.

*ITALY F18: Keeping up with the theme of the week, Italian Thomas Fabbiano (’89) avenged his loss in the final last week by managing to close out Frenchman Laurent Rochette 64 64 to win the title. The champion improved to 22-11 and seems to have turned his 2011 season around by winning 9 of 10 in the last 2 15k tournaments. He was only taken the distance in the semis against top seed Marco Crugnola, and showed very good form throughout the week with strong wins over Stefano Travaglia (‘91/ITA) and Pierre-Hughes Herbert (‘92/FRA). Rochette had to work a little harded to reach the final, as he had to dismiss rising Spaniard Roberto Carballes-Baena (’93) and Nikolaus Moser (’90/AUT) in 3 sets just to get a shot at Fabbiano. It was a very much needed successful week for the runner-up as he had been on the downswing over the last few months after reaching his career high ranking in late April. Among the next-wavers, Italian Eros Siringo (’91) defeated Manuel Sanchez (’91/MEX) in R1 to clinch his first ATP point.

*AUSTRIA F2: Slovakian Norbert Gombos (’90) won his first title of the season by defeating German veteran Alexander Flock in a straight sets final. Gombos was building on a SF showing the previous week and improved to 28-13 for the year. With the win he will jump to a new career high that will be over 100 spots higher than his ranking at the beginning of the season, making Gombos one of the most successful players in the futures circuit in 2011. He benefited from the withdrawal of Hungarian Adam Kellner, who was the top seed but didn’t play, clearing up the draw for the eventual champion. Gombos also had to go through Swiss veteran Michael Lammer in the semis, and he defeated him after 3 long sets. Flock had to work hard to get to the final too, since Czech starlet Roman Jebavy (’89) pushed him to the brink before losing 63 in the third set. Among the next-wavers, Jozef Kovalik (‘92/SVK) made it to the QFs, while fellow Slovaks Filip Horansky (’93) and Adrian Partl (’93), along with Czech Robert Rumler (’93) all advanced to R2.

*BELGIUM F3: Matwe Middlekoop of Netherlands took advantage of being the top seed in clinching the title, defeating surprise finalist and French starlet Julien Obry (’91) in the final. Middlekoop won his second futures title of the season and did it by turning into a Belgian-starlet slayer. Just to reach the final, the Dutchman took out the best of the best of Belgian prospects, defeating Julien Cagnina (’94), Germain Gigougnon (’89), Yannick Reuter (’91) and Arthur de Greef (’92). The last 2 took him to 3 sets, but the top seed was on a mission and fought his way to the final, where he took out another hyped youngster. Obry, a former ITF No.5 who had a very rough start of 2011, has been slowly building momentum since he won his first title in mid-May. This week, he had a couple of lucky breaks but showed his resilience by defeating Alexandre Folie (‘90/BEL) in a 3-set semi-final.

*BRAZIL F21: Jose Pereira (’91/BRA) got his 2011 breakthrough with this title at home after defeating countryman Tiago Lopes in straight sets in the final. Pereira, a former ITF No.4 was having a very disappointing season but logged some impressive wins en route to lifting the trophy. Pereira took out top seed Andre Miele in the QFs and was only taken the distance once, in the SFs. That happened against the surprise of the tournament, fellow Brazilian Joao-Pedro Sorgi (’93). Sorgi was taking part in his first pro tournament of the season, and won 6 straight matches (3 in the qualys) to reach the semi-finals and give the eventual champion all he could handle. Lopes, the other finalist, survived the test of Argentinean veteran Juan Pablo Villar but couldn’t get past an inspired Pereira. Among the younger players, a trio of ITF-aged Brazilians logged R1 wins, including Pedro Sakamoto (’93), Gabriel Vicentini Pereira (’94) and Gabriel Friedrich (’94). The latter earned his first ever ATP point.

*GREAT BRITAIN F10: After winning his first title of the season last week, Josh Goodall of Great Britain decided to make it 2. This week he took out top seed Daniel Evans (’90) in the final to seal the deal and improve his winning streak to 10 matches. He’s now 27-11 as he looks to get back to the days where he was a top 200 player. Unlike the previous week, Goodall didn’t drop any sets and had the honor of taking out the top 2 seeds during the week. Evans had a much harsher way to the final, which included a 3-set win over Australian up and comer Michael Look in the semis. Among the next-wavers, James Marsalek (’92/GBR) took out the 3rd seed in R1 en route to advancing to the QFs where he lost to Look. George Morgan (’92) and Mate Pavic (’93) logged R1 wins but couldn’t advance any further.

*ROMANIA 6: Axel Michon (‘90/FRA) has proven time and again that he is arguably the best player in the futures circuit. He won another title, his fourth of 2011, and improved his record to 39-9. He went through the week without dropping sets and with the win, he’ll earn enough points to reach a new career high, this time comfortably inside the top 300. He defeated unseeded local Robert Coman (’90) in the final. Coman was only one of several next-wavers to have a breakthrough week. He defeated Libor Salaba (‘92/CZE) in the semis and Thomas Le Boulch (‘92/FRA) in the QFs. Le Boulch was unranked coming into the tournament. German Peter Heller (’92) was another surprise semi-finalist, and he got there after upsetting last week’s champion Petru-Alexandru Luncanu (‘90/ROM) in 3 sets. Other next-wavers to earn valuable points during the week were Antoine Escoffier (’92/FRA), Jules Marie (‘91/FRA), Vasile-Alexandru Ghilea (‘93/ROM) and Darius Florin Bragusi (‘93/ROM), all of whom advanced to R2 before being eliminated.

*SPAIN F24: Top seed Ilya Belyaev (‘90/RUS) put his talent in display, clinching the title in the final against Italian veteran Enrico Burzi. It was his first title of the season, and he did it in style, without dropping sets and defeating several veterans including Burzi, Lopez-Jaen and Poch-Gradin. Despite an irregular season, the win will get him to closer to his ranking at the beginning of the year, meaning that he has the rest of the season to build on this performance. The tournament was veteran-laden, with Niels Desein of Belgium being the youngest semi-finalist at the age of 24. Australian Maverick Banes (’92) made it to the QFs, a very positive resulting for the young-gun. Several youngsters logged R1 wins but couldn’t get past the wily veterans in the field. Among them was Albert Alcaraz Ivorra (’95). He earned his second ATP point by defeating fellow 16-year old Ramkumar Ramanthan (IND). Others to earn points were Andres Artunedo Martinavarr (’93/ESP), Bastian Trinker (‘90/AUT) and Juan Lizariturry (’91/ESP). Finally, one last interesting wrinkle was the presence of Belgian veteran Christophe Rochus, who was eliminated in R2.

*USA F18: Gabriel Moraru, a 29-year old Romanian who finished 2010 unranked, won his first title of the season after defeating Takanyi Garanganga (‘90/ZIM) 64 62 in the final. Moraru was once in the top 250 a few years back, but did not play pro tennis between August of 2009 and April of 2011. He had decided to retire because he couldn’t break into the top 150 and lost the desire to play. However, after almost 20 months being away from the courts (he spent some time coaching), he decided to jump back in the fray. This week he showed that the talent is still there, and with the win he improved to 14-5 in 2011. He took out 3 seeds, including No.2 Denis Zivkovic of the USA, and only dropped one set (in the semis vs. Sykut). Garanganga, his runner-up, had a very good week of his own, defeating top seed Robbye Poole in a tough 3-set SF. Unlike the previous week, it wasn’t such a splendid week for the next-wavers. Tennys Sandgren (‘91/USA) advanced to the QFs but lost to Poole. However, a slew of young Americans collected valuable first round points in their quest to improve their rankings: Michael Redlicki (‘93/first ATP point), Bjorn Fratangelo (’93), Jason Tahir (’93), Evan King (’92) and Mitchell Frank (’92) all advanced to R2 before being eliminated.                                                            


  1. Rodrigo! Que pasó con esta semana? Los informes son geniales!!

  2. Disculpas!!! Ahi subi las semanas 28 y 29 :) tuve una semana complicada! saludos y gracias por el aguante!