Ok, peoples. I suppose I should forge forth with some Sao Paolo Challenger analysis as if it’s a tournament that’s going to actually, you know, happen. You know it won’t, and I know it won’t, but – like we’re a good action movie audience – let’s suspend our disbelief and just pretend for a while. Cmon, it’ll be fun!

As of right this now, the event is, of course, a shambles. Rain, rain, rain. And after that? More rain. The Bradesco Prime Cuppers have been scrambling to find indoor accommodations for their backlogged (and waterlogged) matches, but can’t find many tennis clubs that both a) will yield court time to them and 2) have regulation ATP-acceptable courts. As a result, we’re still awaiting main draw action in the middle of the week.

Two notable things have somehow been able to happen amidst all this calamity: 1) last week’s Brazil F1 winner Gastao Elias has made it through qualifying, and b) 17 year-old Tiago Fernandes has not; Fernandes lost a heartbreaker (and a tiebreaker) to Andrew Lauret 6-4 4-6 6-7(4) in the second qualifying round. (Lauret, in turn, lost to Henrique Cunha, whose name always sounds exotic and dirty to me) (which says a lot more about me than it does him, I’m afraid.)

We interrupt this preview for a Special Update: Holy crap, peoples! I suspended my disbelief for a moment, launched the livescores and the livestream, and they’re actually PLAYING in Sao Paulo right now! Tennis, even! Livescore here, and livestream here.

Federico Del Bonis up a set on Tiago Lopes (as well he should be), Guillermo Alcaide up a set but down a break to Daniele Giorgini, Giovanni Lapentti with a first set TB over Ricardo Hocevar, and Matteo Trevisan vs. Joao Souza on serve early in the livestream.

Pictorial evidence of an actual dry court in Sao Paulo

We now resume my preview:

I predict Del Bonis will take the first set over Lopes (as he should), Alcaide will start strong but then struggle, and Lapentti will take a close first set. Stay tuned for more!