Tag Archive: Andre Begemann

Challenger Tennis Week 10 Recap

Three Week 10 challenger events came to a close on Sunday, each with its share of interesting/feelgood highlights.

First and foremost, Amer Delic made his first return to the challenger winner’s circle in almost 3 years, netting his 6th Challenger title overall when opponent Karol Beck had to retire in the warm-up before the Sarajevo Challenger final, citing a back injury.  Beck had defeated top-seed Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, fifth seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the quarters, and surprise semifinalist Mirza Basic to get the last stage, so it’s a shame that his run had to end so ingloriously.

Still, despite the anticlimactic final, it was a thrilling tournament overall – one that saw two Bosnians (Basic and Delic) reach the semis of their home tourney. And Delic’s thrilling semifinal victory over second seed Nicolas Mahut – saving three match points in a 6-4 1-6 7-6(8) win – provided enough excitement to mitigate the disappointment of a finale unrealized.  Delic’s win will likely land him back in the Top 300, after losing so much time to injury. 

Amer In Red

On a personal level, it’s great to see Amer – one of the game’s nice guys and a terrific ambassador for the sport – playing again at such a high and healthy level.  I know he reached the finals of the Champaign Challenger last year, but I wasn’t able to actually witness it.  So it was great to see (albeit on a stream of questionable quality) him playing great ball this week.

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Update on the Futures/Future

So look, people.  It’s no secret, and there’s no need to pussyfoot around it.  Let’s just get it right out there in the open: I’ve been horribly remiss in not giving you any updates from the Futures tour this week, it’s true.  But here are my excuses: 1) the Sao Paulo Challenger has completely overshadowed the Brazil F2 Futures tourney in Salvador, even though Salvador is Brazil’s capital of happiness; b) I’m moving to Florida, duh, and such things require preparation that may limit my coverage and/or output; iii) though it may take place in Brazil’s happiness capital, the $10K Brazil F2 has an extremely watered-down field and didn’t really merit coverage until this weekend.

I mean, I know my job here is to chronicle and celebrate and all, but with only 11 Top Thousand players in the Salvador field, and an 8th seeded player ranked #658 in the world, well… it’s hard to get inspired about day-to-day coverage until the weekend, I admit.  But I will now, OK? 

So, in a tournament where the top 3 seeds are the only ones in the Top 400, and the rest of the field is outside the Top 500, it should come as no surprise that the top seeds are the ones who made it to the final weekend, no?  For me, the tournament started on Saturday, as it was almost predestined that #1 Eladio Ribeiro Neto (ATP #317), #2 Andre Begemann (#348), #3 Andre Miele (#398) and #4 Thales Turini (#530) would make it through to the final four.

Three Brazilians, two Andres and one German (Begemann).  But who would win out of them?  The answer may surprise you! 

Well, the semifinals may not surprise you, as top-seeded Ribeiro continued his dominance over 4th seed Turini, 7-6(3) 7-5, for his third win in three tries in this inter-Brazilian affair.  The 21 year-old Turini has yet to win a set over his 25 year-old countryman.  But second seeded Begemann had a tougher time against the third seed Miele, eking out a close 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 win and evening their head-to-head at one apiece in this inter-Andre affair.  

But in the finals?  Surprise!  The second seed (Begemann, for those hard of memory) upset the 1st (Ribeiro-Neto, ditto), 1-6 6-4 6-4 to take the Salvador da Bahia title.  The win indicates a profound change in fortunes for the 26 year-old German, who just five months ago was at a career high #166 in the world, after reaching the semifinals at the Nottingham Challenger (l. Go Soeda) and almost making the main draw at Wimbledon.  He also partnered Dustin Brown to a dubs final at the Cairo Challenger and won the Zagreb Challenger championship teamed up with Matt Ebden.  But then, after a retirement in Round 2 of the Winnetka Challenger, the former Pepperdine standout went 1/15 for the rest of the year, his ranking plummeting almost 200 places. 

So, to say that this was a surprise result would actually be a bit of an understatement, I’d say.  Talk about turning over a new leaf in the new year! 

The Begemann Gets Paid

Meanwhile, in Plantation, Florida, the $10K USA F1 Futures are underway with a lot of interesting stories already (and the main draw hasn’t even begun).  Not the least of which is the return of Wayne Odesnik, the self-proclaimed “American Nadal” (he’s a lefty, he likes clay, just go with it), from a slashed-in-half two-year drug suspension, his penalty reduced due to the ongoing “Substantial Assistance” he’s been providing to the ITF (Code Name: Whistleblower).  I’m not big on moralizing/judging, so I’ll steer clear of L’affaire Odesnik for now, and will just note that it’s happening.

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Brazil F1 Futures Preview – Time To Step Up

You might think that next year’s tennis season actually starts, you know, next year. And that wouldn’t be an entirely foolish notion on your part (just slightly foolish). But once again, Brazilians are way ahead of the tennis curve, and thus are starting their next year this week – today, in fact! Yes, the appropriately named Brazil F1 Futures, which concludes on New Year’s Day, is doing the honor of ushering us into 2011, and making sure there is no week in the calendar year without a professional tennis event. Thank you, Brazil!

Now, you might also think that this tournament is gonna be just the same as the Brazil F37 and F38 and all the Brazilian tournaments I’ve been boringly blabbing about on this site. But once again you’d be wrong Wrong WRONG! You see, this here event is a $15K tournament (with hospitality, mind you), which means that all first round winners pick up a whopping $123.75 in extra spending cash, instead of the measly $72.50 one picks up for winning their first round in a 10K event. That’s an additional $51.25 on offer to first-round victors, people! I did the math! (so it’s probably wrong)

The 15K-ness of the Brazil F1 experience means that there are more points to be won here as well. Which, in turn, means that actual Top 225 players are coming out of their holiday slumbers and/or vomit-inducing training rigors to once again compete: #158 Rogerio Dutra Da Silva, #200 Guillermo Alcaide, #223 Uladzimir Ignatik and #225 Ciao Zampieri have all dusted off their racquets and will begin competitive ball-swatting again in no time!

Brazil F1 Top Seed Rogerio Dutra da Silva

And, unlike the Brazil F37 and 38, the piles of points and cash on the table mean that now it’s not just the Brazilians signing up to take the spoils. Uh uh – people are traveling to get in on this sweet, sweet action. Dutra Da Silva and Zampieri are Brazilian, sure. But Alcaide is Spanish and Ignatik made the trip from Belarus, bless his swingin’ little heart. Plus the projected 5-7 seeds are from Thailand (Tsung-Hua Yang), Italy (Thomas Fabbiano), and Germany (Andre Begemann).

Tsung-Hua Yang of Taiwan

So spare a thought for this week’s F37 and F38 champion, Fernando Romboli, won’t you? The guy finishes a 50-win season and ends 2010 with a ten match winning streak, and where does he find himself in the New Year’s tournament? Unseeded, that’s where. Survey says: ouch.

You know how they say the transition from juniors to pros is tough? And the transition from Futures to Challengers, and then from Challengers to the ATP? Well, they’re all right when they say that, but let this little example show that even a change from a measly 10K to a 15K represents a significant step up, sometimes. That being said, if the talent is there, it should prevail in any context. But it can be difficult even going up a level within the tourney tiers because suddenly you might get a bad draw or two and be playing top-seeded players in your next few tournaments. Something to think about (and I trust that you will).

Anyway – there are two Challengers (Noumea and Sao Paolo) starting next week, and believe me I’m excited about those. But in the meantime, I’ll be almost as excited to follow the events at the Bradesco Prime Club this week in Sao Paolo. The F1 will be the formula I use to continue warding off any tennistical withdrawal symptoms I have in the interim.

Oh, and one last interesting (to me) bit of trivia for this week: Romboli turns 22 on January 4th, 2011. The cutoff for my “Players To Watch” series, age-wise, is 22 years-old. And the series is scheduled to end six days from now, when the F1 is deep in the week. Might a late Romboli run in Sao Paolo translate into Player To Watchdom? Stay tuned and see!

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