My neglect of the Brazil F37 Futures this week has been borderline criminal, and for this I profusely apologize. As compensation and atonement, I have made sure the title of this article is a tennis-related acronym (LOB U!). Or does that just make it worse?

Either way, a 10K event was played in Guarulhos, Brazil – a suburb of Sao Paulo but also a city in its own right. The top-seed was Facundo Bagnis, but he pulled out before the event, no doubt exhausted from his F36 victory in Aracatuba the week before.

So that left 22 year-old 315th-ranked  Daniel Silva of Brazil to carry the top-seed torch, but the left-hander was singed in the semis by a man 364 days his junior, former doubles partner Fernando Romboli (also of Brazil). It was Romboli’s second win over his compatriot in seven tries at the pro level (and first in four meetings this year).

It may surprise you, perhaps, that the erstwhile doubles pair has faced off so many times already, despite the relative youth of the combatants. But such is the case for a lot of players on the Brazilian Futures circuit.  To start with, Brazil has played host to 37 Futures events so far this year – besides Spain (40 weeks), it’s the country host with the most (and USA gets the bronze with 31). Heck, they’re even playing one this week (and they’re the only place in the world that is).

And, as has been documented elsewhere, the life of a player outside the Top 200 is such that they can’t exactly continent hop to another circuit/event whenever the need arises. Travel within the continent also yields limited returns in South America, as there tend to be fewer tourney-rich countries in the immediate vicinity. A player on the Spanish Futures tour can always grab a train ticket and hit up one of the events in Italy (which has 30), France (20), Germany (18), or chunnel their way into one of Great Britain’s 17 competitions. For a Brazilian player, the next-best, nearest option would be Argentina (not so near), as they have 22. After that, the pickings get slimmer: Chile has nine, Venezuela has six, etc.

My point here is: until such time as a Brazilian player achieves fiscal independence – whether by sponsorship, funding, or individual results (often a symbiotic combination) – they have to play each other a whole lot, OK?  Anyway, that was one hell of a digression. We now return you to our regularly scheduled tournament…

So there we were, with the 21 year-old Romboli in the final. But who would he play? An excellent question – I’m so glad you asked. The other semifinal featured, unsurprisingly (assuming you read the previous three paragraphs), two more Brazilians. (Considering only 6 out of the 32 players in the draw were not, in fact, Brazilian (and only one made it to the quarterfinals: 6-seeded journeyman (literally!) Juan-Pablo Villar of Argentina), the surprise level diminishes ever further.)

Where was I? Oh yes: the other semifinal pitted 5th seed Leonardo Kirche vs. 7th seed Thales Turini. And the 25 year-old Kirche prevailed despite dropping a tough first set, 6-7 (4) 6-4 6-2. All of which is extremely academic, because Romboli blitzed Kirche 6-1 6-0 in the final. Not sure what was up with that.

So that’s my duties to Brazil F37 done, then. Stay tuned as Brazil F38 unfolds all this week, with largely the same cast of characters. *bows unironically*

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