Today is the day I should be, you know, wrapping up my accounts of all these tournaments, since Sunday is the last day of week four in the tennis world. But a couple of tournaments are refusing to cooperate. Or, possibly, Mother Nature is refusing to cooperate. Either way, it’s making me grumpy, as Week Five has already begun in some places (thanks a lot, Tasmania), and I haven’t even done the preview yet. It’ll be more like a midview by the time I get to it. Anyway, here’s today’s haps:


So the rain held off enough for the semifinals to be played, but not the semis and the finals, as was originally scheduled. In said SF’s, unseeded Dimitry Tursunov, ardent defender of Grigor Dimitrov on the Twitter (Grisha was banned for ch/ump-pushing, don’tcha know?), beat 8 seed Andrej Martin 6-3 6-4, in a match about which I can tell you absolutely nothing else. Ditto for five seed Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic beating second seed Go Soeda of Japan 6-4 7-6(2). It happened. That’s all I know. There’s no livescore record or stats or game history or nuthin’, mang. Even Tursy’s being surprisingly tight-fingered about it all.

With regard to the finals (whenever they are), Rosol and Tursunov have never met – haven’t even glanced one another’s way in the locker room, I’m irresponsibly guessing. Moving on…

Reunion Island


I’ve joked about it, I’ve laughed about it, but honestly: what an unmitigated disaster this tournament has been. Note to future tournament directors: if you plan for your tournament to be a disaster, at least make it a mitigated one.

Bad news, kiddos, and I think it’s only right that I let our unofficial player/ambassador Harri Heliovaara break it to you:

“Bye bye! This morning’s news was unheard of. Rain continues to pour, and weather forecasts promising any relief, so the Reunion this year’s challenger is here on CANCELLED! I have never seen such a solution, but on the other hand does not seem to be happening here in any other option, because the island’s sole sisäkentällekin apparently it’s raining inside!” (I have it on good authority that “sisäkentällekin” is Heliovaaran for “indoor facility”)

A note on the tournament’s Facebook page from Thibaud Serre says (translated): “Stopping at the tournament quarter-final stage, there is no winner. The eight quarter-finalists € 875 each pocket and 15 ATP points.”

OK. I have questions, though: why just give quarterfinal points when some who’ve been held hostage on your island were bound for greater bounties? Where is all the money that you’re not paying out for semis and a champion/finalist going? Are you keeping it? Why not just pool the remaining points/funds amongst the remaining player/hostages? Is it because there are too many pools on Reunion Island as it is? And finally, but most of all: why build an indoor tennis facility in the first place if it can’t keep out rain? Or is there a key piece of information I’m missing here?

The combo draw does say “NO FURTHER PLAY WAS POSSIBLE DUE TO HEAVY RAIN/FLOODING” So… I dunno. I guess I’ll feel a right shit if it turns out I’m snarking on them and they’re having a Queensland type of disaster on their hands (God forbid). But my sources indicate this is more of an organizational shoddiness as opposed to a widespread catastrophe. Let’s hope that’s all it is.

One thing I’m not questioning: if I were this woman…

…I’d be constantly looking over my shoulder like a lottery winner from the show LOST, or someone who got off the plane in Final Destination, awaiting the next calamity to strike.


Finally, a proper Sunday final. Jeez. The globe had to spin by two challenger stops before it could give me some semblance of order. So, without further ado, your 2011 Heilbronn Challenger champion is… the surprising Bastian Knittel, a 7-6(4) 7-6(5) winner over everyone’s favorite punching bag, sixth-seeded Daniel Brands.

Why “surprising”? Well, the unseeded 27 year-old had only made one Challenger final in his life before, last year at Blunmenau. Also, he beat two seeds (including top-seeded Andrey Golubev), a Beck (ranked well below his level due to back injury) and a Bozo (who’d been playing decent ball). Plus, it’s not like he just won any old challenger title. Heilbronn, an 85,000 Euro prizemoneyed production, is one of the bigger ones out there.

So well done, Basti. His win will skyrocket him past his previous career high ranking of #208 into somewhere in the 165 range (be sure to keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow’s WATCH List for his and others’ career highs).


I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you. Pity the emoticons are disabled in this here classy and professional establishment, otherwise I’d throw in a shocked smiley (oxymoron alert) to properly illustrate my level of shockage. “Why all the shockitude, dude?” I’m sure you didn’t ask. Here’s why:

Fernando Romboli lost. I said it would never happen again, but I checked multiple sources and apparently I was wrong about that. Because fifth-seeded Eric Prodon of France has done the unthinkable and halted the unseeded qualifier’s supposed-to-be-forever win streak at just six matches, 6-3 4-6 6-1.

Well done to the 29 year-old champ, I guess. But even more well done to Romboli, really, who will be WATCH Listing tomorrow like there’s no tomorrow. Er, that didn’t come out right. Anyway, he’ll be at a career high ranking, for sure. Somewhere in the Top 250, I think.


18 year-old Ryan Harrison picks up his first career Challenger title, 6-4 3-6 6-4 at the expense of unseeded Alex Kuznetsov. The Hawaii tournament’s sixth seed picked up wins over top seed Michael Russell and third seed Ryan Sweeting along the way, and will now be ranked inside the Top 140 (again, check back here soon for final figures). Harrison’s previous best challenger showing had been a finalist’s effort in the Tiburon Challenger, where he was beaten 1 & 1 by Tobias Kamke.