Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Players to Watch in 2012: Alessandro Giannessi (’90)

Since turning pro, Italian Alessandro Giannessi had been having a steady, yet unspectacular rise through the rankings. Although never being close to winning a junior grand slam, he was an ITF top 40 player who went toe to toe against the best players of his generation, defeating several of them. He seemed to be relegated behind the fresher faces of Italian tennis. However, one decision changed the course of his career. He trained at the beginning of 2011 in Tandil, Argentina. This small town is known for generating guys like Juan Martin Del Potro, Juan Monaco and Mariano Zabaleta.

Because of that, he started the year in early February, with a Buenos Aires ATP QR1 loss. He then moved back to Europe and he exploded into the scene. He reached 2 futures finals within a month and never looked back. Giannessi ended up winning 2 titles in 5 final appearances, while ending up with a 56-25 record. That also led to a gigantic leap of 360 spots in the ranking that found him sitting at 135 at the end of the year.

Giannessi not only put the futures events behind, he also showed very promising results at the Challenger level, where he reached the final at Napoli and the semis at Cordenons. Moreover, the cherry on top was qualifying into his first ATP main draw at Bucharest, where he advanced to the QFs after victories over clay court specialists Albert Montanes and Frederico Gil. Throughout the year he also defeated the likes of Joao Souza, Dustin Brown, Maximo Gonzalez and Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

I expect Giannessi to make some noise during the South American clay ATPs at the beginning of the year and to play himself into the French Open. His clay court abilities will surely land him inside the top 100 before the end of the year, especially if one takes into account that he’s scheduled to train in Tandil once again in the Argentinean 2012 summer.

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