Sunday, August 14, 2011

Futures: Week 31

Here are the highlights:

*ITALY F22: In what seemed like an All-Star draw of next-wavers, Argentinean Andres Molteni won his second futures title of the year after defeating up and coming local Alessandro Giannessi (’90) 75 64 in the final. Molteni, who won a challenger in Ecuador early this year, proved that his talent exceeds the level of competition at the futures circuit. He’s now 28-15 for the year, but the majority of his matches came at the challenger level. This week, he crushed 15-year old future star Gianluigi Quinzi (ITA) in R1 and then easily dismissed former ITF No.1 Jonathan Eysseric (‘89/FRA) in the QFs. To set up the match with Giannessi, he had to tough out a 3-setter against the tournament’s surprise, qualifier Antonio Comorto (‘89/ITA). On the other side of the draw, Giannessi defeated Sami Reinwein (’92/GER), Toni Androic (‘91/CRO) and James Ducksworth (’92/AUS) en route to the final. One other surprise during the week was Cesar Ramirez’s trip to the QFs. The ever promising 21-year old Mexican (once ITF No.3) defeated Gianluca Naso (ranked about 300 spots higher) in 3 sets in R2.

*KAZAKHSTAN F5: Indian Karan Rastogi claimed his second futures title of the year after defeating Mohamed Safwat (‘90/EGY) in the final. Rastogi, once ranked 4th in ITF, is 21-9 for the year as he tried to get back into the top 300 in the world. To reach the final, Rastogi took out Roman Jebavy (‘89/CZE) in straights in the semis. Safwat was vying for his first title of the season and despite falling short, improved to 25-12. He defeated Arata Onozawa of Japan to the reach the final. There weren’t many surprised this week as all 8 seeds advanced to the QFs. However, locals Daniiar Duldaev (’92) and Kairat Kosherov (’91) obtained their first ATP points.

*POLAND F5: Top seed Dusan Lojda (CZE) cruised through the field en route to his second futures title of the year, after defeating local Piotr Gadomski (’91) in the final. Like Molteni in Italy, Lojda left the challenger tour for a week to play against inferior competition in a points-rich 15k tournament. It showed as he didn’t lose a set all week. The 23-year old former Jr. US Open champ improved to 23-15 and will jump back into the top 200 thanks to this victory. To reach the final he defeated 5th seed Marcin Gawron, a former rival at the junior level. The unseeded Gadomski pulled a few upsets en route to the final, including a 3-setter against 2nd seed Jan Mertl.

*RUSSIA F5: Qualifier Nick Van der Meer stunned everyone as he won his first title of the season, defeating Russian Andrey Kumantsov in the final. The Dutchman, who’s barely played the last 2 years, won big in his third futures event of the year. En route to winning this points-heavy 15K + H tourney, the 26-year old upset 2nd seed Ilya Belyaev (‘90/RUS) in R1 and then Alexander Rumyantsev (’92) in the semis. Kumantsov had an upset of his own too, taking out top seed Denis Matsukevitch in the QFs. He later defeated Mikhail Fufygin (‘90/RUS) in the semis. Among the next-wavers, 16-year old Maxim Lunkin (‘94/RUS) obtained his maiden ATP point with a R1 win over Artem Ilyushin (‘91/RUS).

*SPAIN 28: Rising star Pablo Carreno-Busta (’91/ESP) won his 3rd futures title of the season, defeating Argentinean veteran Martin Alund in a much contested 3-set final. The young Spaniard took a wild card into the tournament to be the top seed and heavy favorite, considering he won his first challenger event earlier this year. His supremacy and talent were easily seen, as he dismissed very good futures-level players like Antal Van der Duim in the QFs and Roberto Carballes-Baena (‘93/ESP) in the semis, both in straight sets. It wasn’t until he met the 26-year old Alund that he found some resistance. Carreno-Busta improved to 39-11 and will reach a new career high thanks to this title. He is having yet another career year and is a very good candidate to crack the top 100 by year’s end. Alund had a less smooth week, winning 3 of his matches in 3 sets and losing his 4th one in the final. He was vying for his 6th title of the season, one in which he’s 35-6. Among the young guns, Ricardo Ojeda Lara and Oriol Roca Batalla, both ’93-born Spaniards, obtained 1 point each after R1 wins.

*ARGENTINA F10: It was the return of the prodigal son as Andrea Collarini (‘92/USA) won his first ever pro title with a straight sets win over local Patricio Heras (’89). Collarini, born in the United States but raised in Argentina since he was a child, took a USTA scholarship to train in Florida and play under the American flag. However, since making the switch, the former Jr. French Open finalist had seen his growth stopped. Compared to fellow ’92-borns like Facundo Arguello and Diego Schwartzman (both of whom are already competing at the challenger level), Collarini entered the week ranked 761. His talent can’t be denied obviously, as he cruised through the week without dropping a set. En route to the final, he dismissed top seed Sebastian Decoud, a player ranked 500 spots higher in the ranking and who was once in the top 150. Heras, the 4th seed, reached the final after upsetting Schwartzman (‘92/ARG) in a 3-set semi-final. Among the younger players, Tomas Lipovsek Puches (‘93/ARG) obtained his first ever ATP point with a R1 win.

*AUSTRIA F5: Italian Riccardo Bellotti (’91) obtained his first futures title after upsetting top seed Alexander Flock in the final. Bellotti had cruised to the final without dropping a set and managed to take care of the German veteran in the third set. The Italian is now 20-12 and will reach a new career high inside the top 700. It was a very impressive week, as he also took out the 4th (Oscar Sabate) and 2nd (Michal Konecky) seeds just to get to the final. Flock defeated Italian qualifier Marco Bella to reach the final. The surprise of the week was Frenchman Yanais Laurent (’92), an unranked qualifier who made a run to the QFs which including an upset win over 8th seed Bastian Trinker (‘90/AUT). Also, the ’93-born trio of Mate Pavic (CRO), Robin Kern (GER) and Michael Eibl (AUT) made R2 appearances after first rounds wins.

*BELGIUM F7: The 4th one was the charm for young Belgian Yannick Reuter (’91), who won his first title of the season after losing his previous 3 finals. He defeated top seed Alexandre Folie (‘90/BEL) in the final. He improved to 28-16 in 2011 and will be very close to cracking the top 500 in the next few weeks. In an all-Belgium semi-finals, Reuter defeated Gaetan De Lovinfosse (’90) while Folie took out Germain Gigougnon (’89). Despite losing in the final, Folie will rise to a new career high inside the top 400 next week. Among the next-wavers, a pair of young Frenchman earned valuable points, as both Armel Rancezot (’94) and Tristan Lamasine (’93) logged R1 wins.

*BRAZIL F25: Local Ricardo Hocevar continued this week’s streak of top seed triumphs, taking the title over unseeded Marcelo Demoliner (’89) in the final. The 26-year old former 149 in the world had a rocky road to the title, barely squeezing by teenager Thiago Moura Monteiro (‘94/BRA) in 3 sets in R1 and surviving another 3-set thriller in the QFs vs. Tiago Lopes. Hocevar then went on to defeat the surprise of the tournament, Joao Pedro Sorgi (‘93/BRA), who rode a wild card all the way to the semis, upsetting Eladio Ribeiro Neto and Caio Zampieri along the way. Demoliner had a great week too, upsetting Tiago Fernandes (‘93/BRA), Christian Lindell (‘91/SWE) and Rafael Camilo (‘90/BRA) to reach the final. Among the younger players, Raul Francisquiny (‘93/BRA) reached the second round after qualifying into the main draw, therefore obtaining his 3rd ATP point.

*ECUADOR F5: Uruguayan veteran Marcel Felder won his 4th title of the season after defeating local player Ivan Endara in the final. The 27-year old former ITF No.4 improved to 34-12 for the year as he tries to make the much awaited jump to the challenger level. To reach the final he benefited from Guido Andreozzi (’91/ARG)’s retirement due to dehydration in the QFs, and then came back from a set down against another Argentinean, 6th seed Christian Benedetti. Endara took out the 1st (Alejandro Gonzalez) and 3rd (Julio Cesar Campozano) seeds to reach the final but couldn’t hold a one set lead over Felder in the final. Among the next-wavers, Juan Ignacio Londero (‘93/ARG) and Bernardo Casares (‘94/ECU) logged R1 wins.

*FINLAND F1: Veteran Finn Timo Nieminen was yet another top seed to finish the week lifting a trophy, thanks to his win over Estonian Vladimir Ivanov in the final. The 29-year old was coming on the heels of underwhelming performances as the favorite in a handful of futures tournaments, but this week he made his talent and experience count towards clinching the win. Nieminen, who reached a career high ranking of 254 over 8 years ago will be very close to that ranking thanks to his win this week. He also improved to 29-14 for the year. En route to the final, Nieminen also defeated Micke Kontinen (‘92/FIN) and Jordi Samper-Montana (‘90/ESP). Ivanov, the runner-up, logged his second consecutive final appearance, after losing to Chilean Hans Podlipnik-Castillo in the final of Lithuania F1 last week. The 24-year old will crack the top 1000 for the first time in his career next week. He proved he can win at the futures level with wins over Jan-Frederik Brunken (‘90/GER) in the QFs and Juho Paukku, the 2nd seed, in the semis. Italian Alessandro Bega (’91/ITA) was the only other youngster to reach the QFs, losing to Paukku at that stage.

*GERMANY F10: Top seed Denis Bloemke won his first title of the season after defeating last week’s champ Steven Moneke in the final. The 22-year old winner didn’t find much resistance until the final, as Moneke was the only one to take a set from him all week. Bloemke is 15-6 in limited action in 2011. He defeated 3rd seed Romain Vogeli of the Czech Republic to reach the final, while Moneke took out Richard Waite (‘90/GER) in the other SF. Among the next-wavers, ’93-born Germans Constantin Christ and Matthias Wunner, along with ’94-born Swiss Alexander Ritschard obtained ATP points due to R1 wins.

*LATVIA F1: In the week of the top seeds, Italian Claudio Grassi didn’t want to be less than many of his counterparts around the globe. The 26-year old ambidextrous won his second title of the season, defeating up and coming Frenchman Pierre-Hughes Herbert (’91) in the final. He improved to 30-18 in 2011 and will surpass his career high ranking of 325 next week thanks to this win. To reach the final he defeated 22-year old Dzmitry Zhyrmont of Belarus in 3 sets. Herbert, the runner-up, will also jump to a new career high, right on the doorstep of the top 400. He defeated local Deniss Pavlovs in the semis. Pavlovs had eliminated Chilean Hans Podlipnik-Castillo in the QFs, ending his 12-match winning streak.

*PERU F1: 22-year old Argentinean Maximiliano Estevez won his first title of the year, upsetting local favorite and rising star Duilio Beretta (’92) in 2 tie-breakers in the final. The unseeded and unexpected champion took out top seed Chilean Cristobal Saavedra-Corvalan (’90) in the semis and rode the momentum into the final. He improved to 9-10 for the year, a record that doesn’t reflect his talent level, which took him to the doorstep of the top 600 a little over a year ago. With the win he’ll be close to reaching a new career high ranking. Beretta took out the highly talented Guido Pella (‘90/ARG) in 3 sets in the other semi-final. Without doubts, the surprise of the tournament was wunder-kid Jorge Brian Panta-Herreros. The ’95-born Peruvian, currently ITF No.94, qualified into the main draw and then proceeded to upset 3rd seed Mauricio Echazu in R1 and Chilean Felipe Fritz (’93) in R2. He was eliminated in the QFs by the eventual champion.

*SERBIA F6: Croatian Dino Marcan (’91) won his second title of the season after defeating Frenchman Mathieu Rodrigues in the final. The 4th seed improved to 23-16 for the year and will jump to a new career high around 450 next week. To reach the final Marcan took out top seed Adam Kellner of Hungary in a 3-set thriller. Meanwhile, Rodrigues also took out a Hungarian, defeating Denes Lukacs. Among the next-wavers, Karim-Mohamed Mamoun (‘91/EGY) reached the QFs, while Serbians Miki Jankovic (‘94) and Pedja Krstin (’94) advanced to R2.

*SLOVAK REPUBLIC F2: Next-waver extraordinaire Jozef Kovalik (’92/SVK) won the second title of his short career after defeating veteran Daniel Lustig of the Czech Republic. Kovalik had to work overtime throughout the week, playing 13 sets in 5 matches. He advanced to the final after top seed Kamil Capkovic retired during the third set of their semi-final match. Kovalik is 34-15 in 2011, his first full year as a pro, and will be inside the top 500 next week. Slovakians were deprived of a dream final, as 2nd seed Norbert Gombos (‘90/SVK) lost to Lustig in the other semi-final. The tournament had the presence of most of the top Eastern-European next-wavers, making it very interesting to follow. Current ITF No.1 and Jr. Australian Open winner Jiri Vesely (‘93/CZE) advanced to the QFs before losing to Gombos in straight sets. Moreover, former ITF No.1 and Jr. Wimbledon champ Marton Fucsovics also advanced to the QFs, where he lost to Lustig.

*TURKEY F23: Top seed Riccardo Ghedin won his first tournament of the year after defeating the ever promising Aussie Brydan Klein (’89) in the final. Ghedin, who has spent most of the year playing challengers, improved to 19-12 in 2011. He didn’t lose a set all week and defeated 3rd seed Rudy Coco in the semis. Klein, on the other hand, is now at 18-20 for the year and has a great amount of points to defend until the end of the year. The young Aussie, a former ITF No.4 and Jr. Australian Open champ, has been very inconsistent this year, having failed to return to the challenger level and struggling mightily at the futures. This week he notched solid victories over Alexander Ward (‘90/GBR) and Patrick Rosenholm (SWE), which should give him confidence for the upcoming tournaments.

*USA F22: No.2 seed Blake Strode won his second title of the year after defeating unseeded surprise finalist Evan King (’92/USA) in the final. The 24-year old Strode is now 24-14 in 2011. He will jump to a new career high ranking next week, as he inches closer to the top 400. To reach the final, Strode defeated fellow American Jeff Dadamo (’89) in the semis.  On the top part of the draw, King made the most out of his wild card and the early elimination of top seed Clement Reix. King faced no seeds until the final, but took out John-Patrick Smith (‘89/AUS) and unranked qualifier Mousheg Hovhannisyan (’91/USA), the surprise of the tournament. Among the young-guns, Americans Chase Buchanan (’91) and Devin Britton (’92) both reached the QFs.


  1. Collarini was surprisingly dominant in Argentina. It will be interesting to see whether he can capitalize on his momentum this week in Peru.

    King has great potential. He's an excellent athlete with a heavy forehand--topspin and pace from the left side.

  2. Yeah, I read Collarini was very solid. However he lost in R1 in Peru, surprisingly to Joaquin Monteferrario. He has a lot of potential, but it seems like the move from Argentina to Florida has set his development back a little bit. I'd like to see him go train in Europe or something.
    Regarding King, he did well in the juniors and has been steady so far in the pros. The class of '92 worldwide will go down as one of the best ever I think

  3. Te felicito Rodrigo por tus posts! Me enteré de tu blog en "ETQNV" y me puse a leer algunos que me encantan. No domino mucho el inglés pero me gustó mucho lo que escribiste sobre Delbonis. (Semifinal en Stturgart y para no ser menos perdió ante el campeón, ja). Se nota que sos un apasionado como yo de este deporte, al cual hace un mes lo sigo por completo, en todos sus niveles, porque al fin y al cabo, el futuro está ahí abajo, en la cantera. Saludos y cuando quieras revisar algún resultado de los argentinos consulta el mio!

  4. Gracias! Yo ya hace anos que lo vengo siguiendo el tenis y sobre todo los niveles mas bajos. Pasa que ahora que tengo mas tiempo y me decidi a armar un blog y a escribir un poco en twitter. Sigo todos los resultados de los argentinos, pero quiero expandir un poco y resumir todos los torneos, para tener una idea de quienes van a ser las proximas estrellas. Lo de delbonis sigue pasando, es increible, ojala se le corte esa racha. Suerte con lo tuyo tambien! Un abrazo!