Monday, August 1, 2011

Futures: Week 29

Here’s a quick review of last week’s action:

*CANADA F4: Local top seed Vasek Pospisil (’90) took the title after defeating fellow Canadian Eric Chvojka in a straight sets final. Pospisil, who didn’t drop a set all week, defeated Australian Chris Letcher to reach the final. The winner, who improved to 35-13 in 2011, will reach a new career high (inside the top 180 in the world) thanks to this title, his second one of the season. Chvojka, the 25-year old runner-up, defeated Spanish-Canadian Steven Diez (’91) in the semis. He will also reach a new career high and will now be inside the top 300. A pair of next-wavers made their way to the QFs, those being Mark Verryth (’91/AUS) and Renier Moolman (’92/RSA). However, the surprise of the tournament was 16-year old local hope Hugo Di Feo earning his first ever ATP point. He’s one of a select few number of players his age in the rankings.

*GREAT BRITAIN F11: 23-year old local Chris Eaton took the title after handling Australian starlet Benjamin Mitchell (’92) in the final. Eaton won his second tournament of the season and reached his 30th victory in 2011 (30-13). He survived consecutive scares in the QFs and SFs, with Daniel Evans (‘90/GBR) and Elie Rousset (FRA) taking him the distance. He also dismissed Brit hope Oliver Golding (’93) in R2. Mitchell, has a similarly rocky path to the final, going to 3 sets twice, including a win over top seed Joshua Milton in the semis. He improved to 22-8 in 2011. The only other next-wavers to do anything of significance were Brits Mark Richards (’93) and Lewis Burton (’92), both of whom advanced to R2 before being eliminated.

*ITALY F20: Austrian Philip Oswald shocked local top seed and red hot Alessandro Giannessi (’90) in the final to take the title. It was Oswald’s second title of the season, and a tough one to get, after being taken the distance in 3 of his 5 matches throughout the week. He took out next-wavers Yasutaka Uchiyama (‘92/JPN) and Tak Khunn Wang (‘91/FRA) in the early rounds, and had a dogfight against Walter Trusendi of Italy in the semis. Despite losing the final, Giannessi improved to 36-14 and will take the points to advance to a new career high, as he inches closer to the top 200. The tournament’s disappointment was the early elimination of Irishman James McGee, who came into the week on the heels of winning a futures tournament at home, but was ousted in R2 by Luca Vanni.

*AUSTRIA F4:  The third one was the charm for German starlet Kevin Krawietz (’92), as he finally managed to win his first title of the season. Krawietz had lost his previous 2 finals, but took out top seed Gerald Melzer (’90) in straight sets. The German only lost one set throughout the week and improved to 27-15 in 2011. With the title, he’ll also improve to a new career high ranking, inside the top 500. The surprise of the tournament was local Pascal Brunner (’90), who advanced to the semis before losing to Melzer. On the other hand, the disappointment was No.2 seed Norbert Gombos (‘90/SVK), who surprisingly lost in the QFs after winning a tournament in the same country a few weeks earlier.

*BELGIUM F5: Experience prevailed as 31-year old top seed Nicolas Devilder of France took the title over second-seeded Peter Torebko of Germany. It was the second title in that country for Devilder, who was 60 in the world back in 2008. It wasn’t an easy ride however, as next-wavers Julien Obry (’91/FRA) in the QFs and Arthur de Greef (‘92/BEL) in the semis took him to a third set. Torebko didn’t have it easy either, almost being eliminated in R1 by Gaetan De Lovinfosse (’91) of Belgium.  The only other significant next-waver to take action was local starlet Joris De Loore (’93). He advanced to R2 and took 7th seed Niels Desein to 3 sets before being eliminated. He is currently ranked 19th in ITF and has already racked up 3 ATP points.

*ESTONIA F2: Chilean Hans Podlipnik-Castillo avenged his loss in the final of last week’s Estonia F1 tournament by taking the title with a straight sets win over young gun Jozef Kovalik (’92/SVK). The week must have felt like an Ironman-event for the 23-year old South American, as he had to win four 3-setters. He eliminated three players from Belarus before taking on Axel Michon (‘90/FRA) in the semis. Michon has been one of the top 5 players in the futures circuit this year and was the odds on favorite as the top seed, but couldn’t get past a guy who was on a mission. He improved to 24-9 in 2011 as he attempts to get back to the top 400 where he once was. Kovalik, the runner-up, played 9 sets in his last 3 matches but ran out of gas at the worst moment after being up a set in the final. The young Slovakian is having an amazing first full season as a pro, improving his record to 29-15. The points earned here will once again launch him into a new career high ranking. Among the youngest next-wavers, Russian Konstantin Gherlak (’94) earned his first ATP point with a R1 win over Yahor Yatsyk of Belarus.

*SERBIA F4: 28-year old veteran Goran Tosic of Montenegro won his first title of the year after defeating France’s Gleb Sakharov. Tosic, the No.2 seed, was having a very subpar season but snapped out of it during this tournament close to home. He dropped no sets throughout the week and Serbian youngster Danilo Petrovic (’92) in straights to reach the final. The opposite of Tosic was top seed Nicola Cacic (‘90/SRB) who was having a very positive 2011 season but was eliminated in the QFs by Arsenije Zlatanovic, also of Serbia. The only other young-gun to make a significant run was Croatian Josip Mesin (’91), who reached the QFs before being eliminated by Sakharov.

*SPAIN F26: It’s safe to say that this week’s champion came out of nowhere. Marc Giner (‘91/ESP) benefitted from the retirement of top seed Ilya Belyaev (’90) in R1 to go on a devilish run that ended with him lifting the trophy. Giner did not drop a set all week, including a 64 61 win over Carlos Calderon Rodriguez in the final. Even with the 5 wins he still has a negative 2011 record (17-18), making his run even more perplexing. He even defeated the red hot Matt Reid (’90) in the semis by a score of 63 61 after only being able to steal 2 games from him exactly a week before. Hyped next-wavers Ricardo Rodriguez (‘93/VEN) and Taro Daniel (‘93/JPN) had very solid weeks, both advancing to the QFs. Also in the QFs were Aussie Maverick Banes (’92) and Spaniard Rafael-Mazon Hernandez (’90). Another ’93-born, Samuel Ribeiro Navarrete (ESP), earned his maiden ATP point this week.

*TURKEY F21: 21-year old Austrian Michael Linzer showed his level of comfort playing in Turkish territory, winning his 10th consecutive match and earning his second title in two weeks. He defeated French starlet Jerome Inzerillo (’90) in straight sets to clinch his third title of the season and his fourth in Turkey dating back to the end of 2010. The 2nd seed improved to 30-11 and will see his ranking jump very close to 400 once the points for both of these championships are taken into account. Linzer was only taken the distance once, and that was in his SF clash against Aussie Dane Propoggia (’90). The Turkish futures events are always a preferred destination for next-wavers, and this week wasn’t going to be the exception. Italian Edoardo Eremin (’93), building on an unexpected run to the final the week before, reached the SFs before being ousted by Inzerillo. To reach the semis he took out fellow Italian (of bigger fame) Alessandro Colella (’92) in the QFs. Frenchman Francois-Arthur Vibert (’90) also reached the QFs, where he was eliminated by the eventual champion.

*USA F20: Unseeded wild card Tennys Sandgren (’91/USA) gave himself a belated 20th birthday gift after unexpectedly taking the title over Rudolf Siwi of the Czech Republic. It was obviously the first professional for Sandgren, who was a No.9 ITF in 2009. The young American, who plays college tennis at the University of Tennessee, defeated Jeff Dadamo in the semis. Dadamo himself had won his first pro title after coming through the college ranks a few weeks back. As it has been the case over the last few months, these tournaments in the US are filled with players who are currently on summer break from their college teams, or guys who have recently graduated and are back full time on the tour. This is also the case with Siwy, who graduated in 2009 from Fresno State University. The same can be said for John Peers, a 23-year old Australian who graduated from Baylor University and won his first title in Venezuela earlier this year. Peers reached the SFs, where he lost to Siwi. Among the younger guys, Americans Dennis Novikov (’93) and Ty Trombetta (’90) reached the QFs, while Raymond Sarmiento (’92/first ATP point), Evan King (’92), Austin Krajicek (’90), Jordan Cox (’92) and Sekou Bangoura (’91) all reached the second round before being eliminated.

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