While most of the rest of the tennis world trembles in giddy anticipation of the new season, Brazil says, “Pshaw, beyotches – we’re already quarterfinals deep into this seasnatch.” (Warning: may be a paraphrase; my Portuguese is a bit rusty.)
That’s right – here we are on New Year’s Eve Day Eve Day and the Bradesco Prime Cup is already serving up your first QF’s of the new season. Here is today’s Order of Play:
For me, there are three marquee matches today, and none of them is Andre Ghem vs. Caio Zampieri. But it’s a BRA vs. BRA situation – and you know how that goes in the ol’ Sao Paulo. Right, bra? Regardless of my ignorant opinion, the two players have played three previous matches - all of them in 2005, mind you, when Ghem was 23 and Caio was 18. For what it’s worth, Ghem leads their head-to-head 2 to 1. Will the fourth seed be able to even up their H2H when they renew their five-years-dusty rivalry? Probably, I’d say.
You might be surpised to learn that third-seeded, 20 year-old Belarussian Uladzimir Ignatik has met fifth seeded, 25 year-old Brazilian Ricardo Hocevar one time before. But would your surprise diminish once you learned that Iggy trains in Brazil? It should. In any case, Ignatik won that previous meeting of theirs 6-3 6-3, in the second round of the Salvador Challenger in August. The once-touted (by me, anyway) Ulad has gone from a sparkling 65/25 2009 season to an abysmal output of 30/33 “last year” (hohoho). I’ll be interested to see how he goes in the new season. And today. Which, in Brazil, is the same thing.
Uladzimir Ignatik, in presumably happier times
As he been reported earlier, I am pretty darned pleased to see Gastao Elias getting good results here in the new year (shhhhh). Gastao has been training in Brazil with new coach Rodrigo Nascimento, and seems to be reaping early rewards from this arrangement. The just-turned-20-year-old Portugeezer upset top-seeded Rogerio Dutra Da Silva yesterday and looks to continue his run today against seventh seeded Italiano Thomas Fabbiano. Though the two have never met in singles, they did team up together in juniors once, making R16 in Rohampton dubs in ’06.
The final quarterfinal of the day features 6th seeded Challenger Tennis Player To Watch Tsung-Hua Yang of Taiwan against second seeded Player To Ignore Guillermo Alcaide of Spain. (Just kidding. About the ignoring, not the match.) The two have never played with or against one another, in juniors or the pros. There’s a first time for everything, they say. Today will be the first time for them. (Playing tennis against one another in the pros, that is.)