Category: WATCH Lists


Sup, peeps. And jeez, what an uninspired bunch on this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List, for the most part. Almost as uninspired as the Super Bowl, from which I’ve yet to recover.

But enough about me. Let’s have a look at Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs This Week:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Bradley Klahn USA 23 80 others lost points
Jesse Huta Galung NED 28 92 others lost points
Dusan Lajovic SRB 23 101 Davis Cup – R1 L
Nick Kyrgios AUS 18 157 Davis Cup – R1 L
Matt Reid AUS 23 183 Burnie W
Tak Khunn Wang FRA 22 265 Egypt F2 SF
Juan Ignacio Londero ARG 20 268 Chitre R2
Jarmere Jenkins USA 23 278 Burnie SF
David Rice GBR 25 307 GBR F2 F
Jose Pereira BRA 23 322 Egypt F2 SF
Martin Vaisse FRA 26 324 Israel F2 F
Roberto Ortega-Olmedo ESP 22 330 others lost points
Joris de Loore BEL 20 360 others lost points
Dennis Novak AUT 20 364 others lost points
Wilson Leite BRA 22 371 others lost points
Yoshihito Nishioka JPN 18 377 others lost points
Christian Garin CHI 17 379 others lost points
Alexey Vatutin RUS 21 380 others lost points
Ivan Arenas-Gualda ESP 23 385 others lost points
Thanasi Kokkinakis AUS 17 399 Davis Cup – R1 L

Woof. What a bunch of others-points losers, by and large. Since there were only two Challengers last week — Burnie and Chitre — there were scant opportunities from which to scavenge ATPoints. And most who did well in those two tournaments didn’t gain enough to points to post a career high.

So we’ll ignore the OLPers, as ever.

Therefore, first on this week’s List are a pair of peeps who — sort of like kids on recreational soccer teams — got trophies (in the form of ranking points) just for showing up for their teams’ games. Since Davis Cup World Group participants receive 10 points win or lose, Dusan Lajovic, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis all were boosted to career high heights despite losing efforts on the world stage.

Although, it must be noted, none of said losses were anything to sneeze at. Lajovic took a set off of World No. 3 and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka before falling in four. He also won a dead rubber* against Michael Lammer.

It Ain't No Laj - Dusan Celebrates His Win Vs. Lammer

It Ain’t No Laj – Dusan Celebrates His Win Vs. Lammer

Kyrgios went down to No. 9 Richard Gasquet and No. 30 Gael Monfils, and Kokkinakis was nak’ed*** down by the capable hands of No. 39 Julian Benneteau.

The biggest winner of the week was Aussie Matt Reid, who took the title at the $50,000 Burnie Challenger. The 23-year-old has come full circle from the time less than a month ago when he said that he didn’t “know how to win anymore.”

Do You Reid Me? Matt Reid Turns It Around

Do You Reid Me? Matt Reid Turns It Around In Burnie

He entered the tourney on a six-match losing streak and proceeded to win five matches, clinch the championship and attain a personal best ranking in the process. Not a bad effort. As ever, Aceland Tennis has all the details of that match and all things Aussie.

Lastly, a special mention goes out to former University of Virginia standout Jarmere Jenkins, who showed some scorching form in Burnie, making it to the semis before he burned out vs. Hiroki Moriya. Earlier last week I was pointed to this terrific Q&A with the erstwhile ITA National Player of the Year.

The Rankings Door Is Now A Jar (photo by UVA Athletics)

The Rankings Door Is Now A Jar (photo by UVA Athletics)

In the above-linked article Jenkins says, “Being an elite athlete is all about how well you’re willing to suffer.” In his remarkable 6-2 6-7(7) 7-6(13) quarterfinal win against Matthew Barton, in which he recovered from a double fault at match point in a second set that he eventually lost, Jenkins seemed to really put those words to the test, earning an eventual career high ranking in the process.

*my second least favorite phrase in tennis, just behind “Red Foo**”

**which is my second least favorite color of Foo, just behind brown

***pronounced “knocked down”, of course. Why? What were you thinking it was?

It’s time for your favorite reason to get out of bed on Monday — that’s right: this here is this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List! And since today’s List encapsulates two whole weeks of ranking-changing goodness (due to the Australian Open fortnight, of course), there’s theoretically twice the reason to see Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs This Week*.

So let’s have a look:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Matt Ebden AUS 26 61 Aus Open R2
Bradley Klahn USA 23 82 Maui W
Jesse Huta Galung NED 28 93 others lost points
Peter Gojowczyk GER 24 99 AO FQR, Heilbronn W
Dusan Lajovic SRB 23 102 Aus Open Q, R2
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 114 Bucaramanga QF
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 115 Aus Open Q, R2
Guido Andreozzi ARG 22 134 Bucaramanga QF
Peter Polansky CAN 25 135 AO QR2, Maui QF
Victor Estrella DOM 33 137 others lost points
Damir Dzumhur BIH 21 144 Aus Open Q, R3
Daniel Evans GBR 23 146 Aus Open QR2
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 151 Aus Open FQR
Blaz Rola SLO 23 152 Aus Open Q, R2
Nick Kyrgios AUS 18 162 Aus Open R2
Norbert Gombos SVK 23 189 Aus Open QR2
Kristijan Mesaros CRO 25 190 others lost points
Andrea Arnaboldi ITA 26 191 AO QR2, Heilbronn Q/QF
Steven Diez CAN 22 195 others lost points
Austin Krajicek USA 23 210 AO QR2, Maui QF
James McGee IRL 26 212 others lost points

There’s big movement afoot on this week’s List, and not just because it counts for a fourteen day span of results. It’s also due to the fact that players can earn as many ATP points for qualifying in a Slam as they can for reaching the quarterfinals of the biggest $125K Challenger events (and almost as much as they get for winning a 15K Futures event).

Additionally, reaching the second round of the main draw is worth many points as a $125K semifinal showing. If a player makes a run through qualifying into just the second round of a Slam (as Dusan Lajovic, Dominic Thiem, and Blaz Rola did), that’s roughly the chally equivalent of a $125K final.

I’m not exactly sure why (and your theories are welcome), but this week’s List is also the most geographically variegated in memory. Of the 21 players here, 17 different nationalities are represented. Only Australia, Argentina, Canada and the United States can boast repeat career high ranking offenders on this day.

Fourth on this week’s List (but first in our hearts) is the 24-year-old German Peter Gojowczyk, who bursts into the Top 100 for the first time at #99, on the strength of his Oz Open and Heilbronn Challenger showings.

#99 Gojoloons

#99 Gojoloons (photo courtesy of Florian Heer)

Gojo is having, to put it quite technically, one hell of a year.  With his run through quallies into the semis of the ATP 250 in Doha, his qualifying effort in Melbourne and his Heilbronn title, he’s amassed a 14/2 record so far in 2014. His only losses? Rafael Nadal and… Victor Hanescu. (Hmm. Well, we all know it’s been a breakthrough year for Romanians, too.)

“Tomorrow I will have a break and relax a bit. It is great to break into the top 100 for the very first time,” the German said, adding that he plans to play in the Montpellier ATP 250 if he makes it into the main draw.

Further down the List (but no further down in our hearts), we find the 23-year-old American, Austin Krajicek. Though Gojowczyk makes practically everyone short of Stan Wawrinka look bad by comparison, Austin is also having a very fine year, which began with a sweep through quallies and into the quarterfinals of the Noumea Challenger. Overall, the three-time Texas A&M All-American is 7/3 on the singles court.

But wait, there’s more: for the lefty can celebrate both a singles and doubles career high (#85) today. He and Tennys Sandgren (who’s also at a career doubles high of #115) have posted a 6/1 record so far this year, winning the Noumea Challenger and making the semis in Maui.

Sandgren and Krajicek: Serial Trophy Hoisters

Sandgren and Krajicek: Serial Trophy Hoisters

*ranked between No. 60 and No. 300, as ever.

A belated Happy New Year to all! I hope and trust that your resolutions are alive and still kicking six days deep into 2014.

The new year, of course, marks the beginning of a new challenger season, with piping-fresh chally events on the docket for the first time since the Toyota, Tyumen and Andria Challengers in November of last year.

In addition to this past week’s Sao Paulo and Noumea tourneys, some challenger-level players sought to cut their teeth and/or gain their points at the ATP 250 level in Brisbane, Chennai, or Doha. 

All of which makes for more of a robust W.A.T.C.H. List than last week’s dismal outing, in which there were few point-gaining opportunities and most guys backed into their personal bests. So let’s see Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs this week, shall we?

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Pablo Carreno-Busta ESP 22 61 others lost points
Alejandro Gonzalez COL 24 74 Sao Paulo F
Oleksandr Nedovyesov UKR 26 92 others lost points
Bradley Klahn USA 23 95 Brisbane QR2
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 120 Sao Paulo QF
Peter Gojowczyk GER 24 136 Doha SF
Victor Estrella DOM 33 143 others lost points
Daniel Evans GBR 23 149 Doha Q
Sam Groth AUS 26 157 Brisbane QF
Radu Albot MDA 24 161 Chennai Q
Yuki Bhambri IND 21 172 Chennai QF
Steven Diez CAN 22 196 Noumea F
Pedro Sousa POR 25 199 Sao Paulo R2
James McGee IRL 26 214 Noumea SF
Ante Pavic CRO 24 238 Noumea R2
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 19 246 Noumea R2
Toni Androic CRO 22 271 others lost points
Juan Ignacio Londero ARG 20 276 others lost points
Yasutaka Uchiyama JPN 21 280 others lost points
Adrian Sikora SVK 25 286 others lost points
Edward Corrie GBR 25 298 others lost points

I’ll be focusing on Alejandro Gonzalez and others’ Sao Paulo Challenger exploits in my Week One Review article, so for now I’d like to focus on those who found their career-high-yielding success in Noumea. 

And more specifically, on Steven Diez and James McGee, the doubles partners and friends who battled in the New Caledonian heat for three hours, both emerging from their semifinal with a personal best ranking to show for their efforts.

Though each won exactly 111 points in the match, it was Diez who eked out a 6-7(2) 7-5 6-4 victory.  The pair lost in the 2nd round of the doubles to top seeds and eventual champions Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren.

Out With The Oldmea, In With The Noumea - Diez and McGee

Out With The Oldmea, In With The Noumea – Diez and McGee

For his part, Diez has been knocking at the Top 200’s door for well over a year now, achieving his previous career high of No. 210 in mid-July of 2013 before finally breaking the door down via his run to the Noumea final, where he was bested by top-seeded Colombian Alejandro Falla 6-2 6-2.

Dogged by inconsistency in throughout most of his career, the popular Spanadian — who spent the first six years of his life in Mississagua, Canada, before moving to Spain — has found a nice run of form in 2014 and finds himself in a great position to go higher, with very few points to defend from his 3/9 start to last year’s season.

As for McGee, the affable Irishman continues the positive trajectory he’s seen from 2013, a twelve-month span in which he rose from No. 401 to a then-career-high No. 220 in the rankings. Despite his success on the court, the 26-year-old still faces the same uphill financial battle off the court that he was so candid about last summer.

McGee Whiz - James After His 4-6 6-2 6-0 QF Win over Austin Krajicek

McGee Whiz – James After His 4-6 6-2 6-0 QF Win over Austin Krajicek

On his website, he recently offered an end-of-year update that features a lot of great photos from last season’s campaign.

OK, folks. I’ll bring you this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List, but I must warn you: it’s abysmal.

Since the rankings this week are based solely upon five Futures tournaments, there are very few players achieving their career highs via on-court achievements. Thus, over half of this week’s table find themselves backing into their personal bests because adjacent players on the ATP Rankings table are a bunch of point-losers:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Germain Gigounon BEL 24 237 others lost points
Jose Checa-Calvo ESP 28 239 others lost points
Borna Coric CRO 17 303 Turkey F51 W
Alexey Vatutin RUS 21 385 others lost points
Ivan Arenas-Gualda ESP 23 389 others lost points
Tihomir Grozdanov BUL 26 394 Qatar F5 R2
Ricardo Urzua-Rivera CHI 24 414 Chile F12 SF
Tomas Lipovsek Puches ARG 20 415 Chile F12 QF
Yoshihito Nishioka JPN 18 442 Chile F12 W
Facundo Mena ARG 21 492 Brazil F21 QF
Martin Cuevas URU 21 522 others lost points
Pedro Cachin ARG 18 544 others lost points
Tim Nekic GER 21 574 others lost points
Jean-Marc Werner GER 23 576 others lost points
Mateo Nicolas Martinez ARG 19 579 others lost points
Jaime Pulgar-Garcia ESP 24 581 others lost points
Mike Urbanija SLO 24 590 others lost points
Tristan Lamasine FRA 20 600 Turkey F50 QF
Vadim Alekseenko UKR 30 609 Turkey F51 R2
Caio Silva BRA 22 615 Brazil F21 SF
Alban Meuffels NED 21 616 Turkey F50 SF

Boo.

Leading the charge of those who actually did things on court is the boundlessly active Borna Coric, who won the year’s final pro event in Turkey. This must’ve come as quite a relief to Borna’s practice partner of last week, Rafael Nadal, as a Coric loss the week after would’ve reflected quite poorly on him, no doubt*.

By now, you know all about the 17-year-old Croatian sensation, and I’m really only mentioning him so I can include this picture:

Hot Lava - The Lion Cub In A Tiger Suit

Hot Lava – The Lion Cub In A Tiger Suit

The US Open Boys champ finishes 2013 with five Futures titles and a decent 39/12 record on the pro tour.

Next up on our hit parade is Ricardo Urzua-Rivera, whose semi-final showing at the Chile F12 Futures finds the former ITF Junior Top Tenner at No. 414 in this week’s rankings.  The injury-plagued 24-year-old finishes a successful 66/25 year in which he played as many matches (91) as he had in the previous 2.5 seasons combined.

As a result, he’s up about 600 ranking rungs, after beginning the year outside the Top 1000.

His and Urz

His and Urz

And, since I’m completely uninspired, that’s gonna wrap up this year’s W.A.T.C.H. Lists. Next week/year will feature actual on-court achievements from this week’s/next year’s two Challenger events in Noumea and Sao Paulo. Or something. How exciting!

So be safe, everyone, and let’s do this again in 2014!

*can’t seem to find the sarcasm font here.

This far into the season, it’s time to dig deep — not just for the players, but for me as well, as this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List plumbs the depths of the rankings all the way down to #720 in the rankings.

As has been documented in previous Lists, as tournaments dwindle toward the end of the year, fewer guys are playing, which limits the potential career high ranking opportunities. In this week’s case, it’s limited to the following folk:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Mohamed Safwat EGY 23 198 others lost points
Roberto Ortega-Olmedo ESP 22 331 Qatar F4 SF
Wilson Leite BRA 22 371 Brazil F20 QF
Ivan Arenas-Guarda ESP 23 392 others lost points
Michael Shabaz USA 26 394 Qatar F4 F
Tihomir Grozdanov BUL 26 399 Qatar F4 W
Oliver Golding GBR 20 406 Qatar F4 SF
Erik Crepaldi ITA 23 416 Turkey F49 SF
Karunuday Singh IND 23 488 Cambodia F3 SF
Yoshihito Nishioka JPN 18 503 Chile F11 W
Mateo Nicolas Martinez ARG 19 581 others lost points
Jaime Pulgar-Garcia ESP 24 583 others lost points
Frederico Ferreira Silva POR 18 603 Turkey F49 R2
Eduardo Agustin Torre ARG 19 674 Chile F11 SF
Markos Kalovelonis GRE 19 689 others lost points
Marko Tepavac SRB 19 716 others lost points
Andrea Basso ITA 20 717 others lost points
Carlos Boluda-Purkiss ESP 20 718 Qatar F4 R2
Herkko Pollanen FIN 19 719 Turkey F49 R2
Adrian Partl SVK 20 720 others lost points

Before I zero in on some of these heroes, I come bearing the following bulletins:

1) If you’re someone who has backed into a personal best ranking by others losing points? Well then sorry, I won’t be doing a pro-file on you this (or any) week. *sniffs snobbishly*

Also:

2) If you made the final four at the Qatar F4? Well then congrats, ’cause you’ve got a career high ranking!

One of those Qatar Final Fourers is none other than former University of Virginia standout Michael Shabaz, who’s been bedeviled by illness and injury since making a professional splash as a finalist of the 2010 Charlottesville Challenger (as well as a popular participant of the 2010 USTA Australian Open Wildcard Playoffs). 

The two-time NCAA champ (and 2005 Wimbledon Boys doubles titlist) was only able to play fourteen pro matches in 2011 and twenty-six matches in 2012 before finding this current run of health and form at the end of 2013, in what amounts to his first full professional season.

The only downside to all this good news is that he’ll have to update his website sometime soon.

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