Category: Singapore


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:

Singapore

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

Wow.

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.

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You know the drill by now: circling globe, timezones, order, blah blah…

Singapore

You know what they say: “When it Singarains, it Singapores.” And if you don’t know they say that, it’s probably ’cause I just made that up. Regardless: it rained, it poured – I hear that somewhere an old man even snored. And play is delayed another day.

Reunion Island

Should I just link to the Harri Heliovaara blog now instead of typing a whole update at this point? I’ve been stealing from it all week, and it certainly would be easier on this end. Well, let’s see what he has to say today, shall we? *opens Helioblog*

“Hohhoijaa, no one played here today…because of rain and thunderstorms continued throughout the day, almost without a break,” is how he starts (I can’t be sure, but I think he sneezed there at the very beginning). My heart was in my throat as I read this part: “…hope that none of them use Google Translate to read the blog and drag the pea nose! :-D”

“Whaaa?!” I thought. “Is he talking about me?” And before you think that’s too delusion-of-grandeural, I know for a fact I’ve sent tens of people Harri’s way from this site this week (actual number: 56 at the time of this typing). My second panicked thought was: “How does he know I do that with the pea nose?!”

But, no – it just turns out I had read ahead without any context and also that I have no reading comprehension skills. Harri spends his blog today comparing and contrasting whom he feels are the best young up-and-coming players, based on who he’s played, and it’s a fantastic read (especially since I do a lot of that myself, having played absolutely no one). But he’s worried that the players will use Google Translate and then do their pea-nose dragging. Which is totally something they would do, let’s face it. Anyway, his list is fascinating, and it’s comforting to see a lot of the same people that have made an impression on me have made one on him as well (although his evaluation of Dan Cox is way off base, haha). I won’t give away his findings, but if you’re a fan of up-and-coming players, I highly encourage you to go read the crappy Google Translation of it. And take the pea nose only if you must. Last chance.

Heilbronn

What? There was actually tennis played at the Challenger level today? How did that happen?! (Nevermind that it’s indoors.) OK, I guess I’ll write about tennis now.

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In the only order our spinning planet could bring them to you, here were today’s Challenger happenings:

Singapore

Eighth seed Andrej Martin kicked off the day’s play by kicking top seed Somdev “Millionaire” Devvarman to the curb, 6-3 6-4. The 21 year-old Slovakian has been on the ups for a while now, increasing his win percentage every year since 2008, his first full year as a pro. Last year he went 55/22, and this year he’s off to an even better 7/2 start. Currently ranked a career high #177 and headed for Monday’s WATCH List, he now stands to gain at least 10 spots on the rankings ladder for his efforts with possibilities of going much higher.

In the semis, Martin will play popular Russian Dmitry Tursunov, who avenged his ’09 Australian Open loss to Flavio Cipolla – albeit in a belated kind of way – with a 5-7 6-3 6-2 triumph. Cips came back from 0-2 to take the five-break first set, but then Tursunov took four of the five remaining breaks in the ten-break match. 1st serve winning percentage (67% to 58%) seems to have accounted for the difference in this one, going from a purely statistical perspective (which one must never do). Martin and Tursunov have yet to play one another. One assumes that will soon change.

5th-seeded, 25-year-old Czecher Lukas Rosol beat unseeded 30 year-old Uniter Michael Yani 4-6 6-4 6-2 in one of the other four quarterfinals on the day (’cause that’s how many they play, you know). Yani broke for the first set in the 10th game, but Rosol helped himself to the remaining three breaks this match had to offer. As with the Tursunov match, service effectiveness seems to be a major reason for this win. Rosol will meet 2nd seed Go Soeda, who pasted Tatsuma Ito 6-3 6-0 in the final QF, even while serving at 45% (an 80% winning pct on second serves will help where that is concerned). Soeda won their only previous meeting. Five years ago.

Reunion Island

God, I hope Harri Heliovaara watched the tennis today. *crosses fingers and opens blog*

Nope, he spent the day inside watching figure skating and reading David Baldacci instead. Can’t say I blame him. Today’s Helioblog is still insightful and funny as ever. He thinks the backlogged/waterlogged schedule of play (it rained again) will help him if Stephane Robert (one of his doubles opponents) has to play back-to-back matches. Then again, “Let’s hope, however, that he did not play any matches in a marathon, because it would be nice to get to play at all. Here, it becomes dark already after six, and the field lights not bright enough that they should not play the race matches. Match is tomorrow, a special program jointly “To Be Arranged” when players are available “, ie it can begin at any time really!”

Haha – Harri rules blogschool. What? Tennis? Sure, some of that happened too.

8th seed David Guez apparently decided he didn’t want to be there anymore, sometime between when his match against countryman Mathieu Rodrigues was suspended at 7-5 0-2 and when he came back onto the court the next day to lose 5-7 0-6 0-6. Second seed Michael Przysiezny seemed like he was heading down the same path, losing the first two games of his rain-resumed 6-2 5-all match with Belgium’s Clement Maas, but – unlike Guez – he didn’t say “No mas” (or the Polish equivalent) and recovered for a 6-2 5-7 6-1 win. Przysiezny will play Heliovaara-defeating sixth seed Yuri Schukin in the quarters. Assuming he doesn’t disappear in the middle of the night, that is. (How close is Reunion Island to Easter Island I wonder?)

Top seed Florent Serra had himself a semi-handy 6-0 7-6(6) win over Italy’s Daniele Giorgini. And the aforementioned Stephane Robert, 4th seed, was a 6-4 6-2 winner over Austria’s Martin Slanar. He’ll meet the patron saint of my Twitter homepage, Alexander Sadecky, in the quarters. Sadecky beat qualifier Mark Sibilla 6-3 6-2.

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In the grand three-day Challenger Tennis tradition, we will now update you on today’s important events in the order the circling globe presented them to us:

Singapore

Sweden’s Nick Lindahl (I’ll never tire of writing that) won a rain-delayed first round match against Canada’s Peter Polansky, only to have to retire down a 0-6 2-1 to Japan’s Tastuma Ito. True story. More details as events warrant (author’s note: this is probably the last you’ll ever read of this here – seek answers elsewhere!). Ito will meet Japanese countryman Go Soeda, the second seed, in the quarterfinals; Soeda saw off Ivo Klec 7-5 6-3, despite only getting in 49% of first serves. Soeda leads his head-to-head with Ito 3-1.

Fifth seed Lukas Rosol blew a 4-1* third set lead and three match points from 6-3* in a decisive tiebreak against Rajeev Ram before taking the match 7-5 4-6 7-6(6), tight as you like (both guys held after facing 2 break points each in the 9th and 10th games). Rosol will face 30 year-old wildcard Mike Yani, a 6-2 6-4 upset winner over third seed Paolo Lorenzi. The 29-year-old Lorenzi now has just 5 wins in his last 18 outings, dating back to last July.

Flavio Cipolla runs his 2011 record to 7/2 with a 6-0 40-15 ret. over Dusan Lojda, and will meet Dimitry Tursonov in the quarters, who won 6-3 6-2 over Indian wildcard Karan Rastogi. Cipolla won their only previous meeting, in four sets at the first round of the 2009 Australian Open.

The Mailman John Millman did not, in fact, deliver today, as he went down 4-6 3-6 to top-seeded Somdev Devvarman. Somdev Millionaire will meet eighth seed Andrej Martin in the QF’s, who won 6-4 7-5 over Matteo Viola.

Reunion Island

I have to admit: my heart was in my throat when I saw that Harri Heliovaara had lost his singles match to sixth seed Yuri Schukin, 4-6 6-4 3-6; we can’t lose our Reunion Island ambassador so soon! (Heliovaara agreed with my initial assessment in his blog: “What a nuisance!” he begins. Exactly, son.) But then I clicked the combo draw and, much to my relief, I saw that he and Mathieu Rodrigues are still alive in doubles, having advanced via walkover over (over)* 2nd seeds Philipp Oswald and Pierre-Ludovic Duclos (who apparently bailed to make the ATP Johannesburg tourney). Phew – crisis averted!

Oh, Reunion Island – Never Change

I love Harri’s summation of the Duclos-Oswald decision, by the way: “I think it is pretty stupid in general to participate in the contest, if it is more difficult to play out… so I do not understand at all why they came here.” For an ambassador, he sure doesn’t pull any punches, does he? Anyway, we’ve got him in the draw until Saturday, people! Also worth noting: Helio’s efforts this week, combined with his winning the Great Britain F2 Futures last week in Sheffield, means that not only will he make next week’s WATCH List, but he’ll be very close to overtaking Henri Kontinen and Timo Nieminen for Finland’s coveted #2 position behind perennial torch-bearer Jarkko Nieminen.

Apparently, it was an even muggier day today on The Island than it was yesterday. But then a rain came, delaying play for an hour or so but also bringing some small relief – a decent trade-off, in my book. The trade-off might not be worth it in the books of David Guez, Mathieu Rodrigues, Michael Przysiezny and Clement Maas, though, as they had their matches suspended due to said rain, to be resumed on Friday. Guez led Rodrigues 7-5 0-2 and Przysiezny was up 6-2 5-5 on Maas.

Andreas Haider-Maurer could not be saved by the Reunion rain, however. The Austrian tried to play through a fever and a back problem but had to retire up 7-6 0-3. Poor guy is grounded by his illness now and can’t fly to Johannesburg (where he’d be into his second direct ATP main draw ever).

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In the temporal order that best matches up with the Earth’s rotation (thus ensuring you read the most timely information first – don’t say I don’t take anything less than exquisite care of you, dear readers!):

Singapore

Remember how I said Rajeev Ram was a winnable match on hard courts for 2011 Challenger Tennis Player To Watch Tsung-Hua Yang? Well, you shouldn’t. With crap tips like that one, you shouldn’t be committing any of my drivel to your precious memory. Ram won 6-7(7) 6-3 6-0. Two consecutive breaks to start the match, then Ram up a soon-relinquished break in the first, and the 19 year-old took the tiebreak on his third set point. On serve until 3-2 in the second, and then Ram won 9 of the last 10 games, with 75 percent of return points won in the third set (even with Yang serving 50 percent). Not too sure what happened there. But good win for the Raj, who’ll meet 5th seeded Lukas Rosol in the 2nd round, himself a 7-6(6) 7-6(5) winner over Rik de Voest.

Impatient wildcard Michael Yani finally got on the court to administer a 6-1 7-6(4) first round dismantling of nouveau Zealander Artem Sitak. Second seeded Go Soeda saved a set point in the first before defeating the inquisitive Freddie Nielsen 7-6(7) 6-3, while third seed Paolo Lorenzi didn’t even bother saving the set point he faced in the second set, winning the match in three instead, 6-4 3-6 6-3. Different strokes…

Seventh seed Thiago Alves was rudely double-sticked by Tatsuma Ito (I bet they were thunder sticks, too) while Swiss qualifier Michael Lammer forewent the second “m” in his surname to lose a third set 1-6 to Ivo Klec. And not only did he lose the third set, but also the match! Shocking, I know, but totally true.

Reunion Island

Brought to you today by our kind and graciously-blogging host, Harri Heliovaara, who is to Reunion Island what Mr. Rourke was to Fantasy Island (if Mr. Rourke blogged, that is – which he very well may have, on Fantasy Island) (Vincent Millot, of course, is playing the role of Tattoo all week):

“If today’s match should be described in one word, it would be the heat,” writes Harri (yo, Double H, that’s two words, buddy! No worries – I blame Google Translate. As you were saying…), “According to locals, this was the hottest summer day, and the match was, moreover, even the hottest days of the time between one and three.” On such a summer’s day, Helio defeated Canada’s Pierre-Ludovic Duclos, 3-6 6-1 6-1. He’ll face sixth seed Yuri Schukin in the next round, whom he describes thusly (according to the mischievous GT): “Schukin is at its best from the rear, and his basic compliance are secure and smooth.” You know, I’ve heard that about him! (Schukin beat Alexander Peya 7-5 6-0, by the way). Other results on the day:

Daniele Giorgini d Niels Desein 7-5 6-4, Andreas Haider Maurer d Fritz Wolmarans 7-6(4) 7-6(14) (FOURTEEN!), Augustin Gensse continues his WATCH Listworthy play and beat Philipp Oswald 2 & 2, while [5] Edouard Roger-Vasselin put the kibosh on the fabbulousity that is Thomas Fabbiano 6-7(1) 6-3 6-1.

A Very Harri Reunion

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