No, you goons – this is not a special edition for those who’ve contracted certain romance-related diseases. Rather, it’s a special Valentines Day edition of my weekly list detailing Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs (although some would call Valentines Day itself a romance-related disease. I abstain from comment on the grounds that it might incriminate me).
So what makes this Valentines Day edition so special? Nothing really. Only that’s it’s made with love and dedicated to you, dear reader. *gags on sappy sentiment* Also, I’ve added an “age” column. You’re welcome. You know the rules by now, right? Only those ranked #80-350 make my list, unless I’m feeling particularly in an inclusive mood (who knows? On Valentines Day, you may get lucky). For those Titans of the Top 80, you must confer with our friends over at Shank Tennis.
All right! Enough of this tomfoolery. Let’s get to this week’s WATCH List!
||Q’ed, R1 R’dam
||Q’ed, R2 R’dam
||QF San Jose
||Q’ed, R1 San Jose
||Q’ed, R1 Brazil
||QF Colombia F2
||Others lost points
||Others lost points
||W Cambodia F2
||R2 Spain F5
|Kenny de Schepper
Notable things to note:
The average age of this week’s WATCHers is 23 years old and 4 months. The youngest player achieving a career high today is Javier Marti at 19 and 1 month, while the oldest is former Duke University standout (two-time ITA All-American) Ludovic Walter at 28 and 1 month (warning: all age numbers are achieved by rounding off, for the most part, and are thus approximations).
Ludovic Walter quimping it up at the Quimper Challenger in France
Walter is an interesting case, having not even achieved a pro ranking until after his college days were over in 2006 at age 23. I suspect that, with college ball being an increasingly viable route for top talents and the age of the Top 100 skewing ever older, we’ll start to see many more players in the “Ludovic Walter” mold in the future.
Anyway, congrats to all who’ve achieved career highs this week. And to all the rest of you, I hope you achieve various highs of your own on this Valentines Day.
OK. So every Monday, going back a long time, I’ve enjoyed combing through the newly released ATP world rankings to see who’s achieved their new career highs, usually on the backs of a good/great performance the week before. I’ve occasionally shared this list from week to week with a few of my tennis junkie friends through emails and the like, but now that I have this site I thought it’d be nice to share it with you fine internet folk.
Unfortunately, right when I went to do this, I saw that our friends from Shank Tennis had just published a similarly themed article, complete with my snappy WATCH (Who’s Achieved Their Career High?) acronym in their title. What to do? It totally looks like I’m stealing ideas from our Shanky colleagues here, but I swear I’ve been doing this for a while and just wanted to make it public in the new year. *throws self on mercy of the jurgement court* The best I can do is hope my friends back up my assertions in the comments section, sheepishly link to the Shank Tennis article, and hope they don’t shank me. Haha, life is so absurd. (or maybe it’s just me.)
Anyway, without further ado (’cause we’ve had plenty of ado already), here is today’s list. Wait! More ado: I arbitrarily start this list at #80 in the world and go up to #350, just because that’s about the range in which most Challenger Tour players are found. If I’m leaving out a fave of yours, make yer own damn list (heh). So here, finally, is the WATCH list; this is who’s achieved their career highs this week:
Great looking week for France, eh? Five players at new career highs (not even counting Michael Llodra, who also is WATCH-worthy at #22). Most of this is attributable to the Noumea Challenger, a French-territorial event in which Millot, Burquier, Gensse, and Reix all thrived. Fabbiano and Camilo appear courtesy of standout showings at the Sao Paulo Challenger.
So that’s this week’s WATCH list done with. I plan to make it a weekly Monday feature, assuming I don’t get shanked. :-0
[another dispatch from Jon Artman, Noumea Bureau Chief]
On a busy Wednesday, giant Gilles Muller saw off Clement Reix as expected; however the match was again extended to 3 sets, which was a big surprise. The Frenchman took the first set 6-4 before the Luxembourger rallied to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Flavio Cipolla continued his reign over Noumea tennis with a 6-1, 6-0 demolition of Frenchman David Guez. I expected Cipolla to be victorious, although not in such comfortable fashion. An excellent show by the Italian.
Josselin Ouanna defeated Rik de Voest as predicted in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4. The big South African improved his play in the 2nd set but was unable to force a decider.
File Photo of Josselin Ouanna (right) with compatriot and Brisbaniac Adrian Mannarino
Exciting young talent Amir Weintraub saw his brilliant run of 8 wins halted by improving Frenchman Vincent Millot. Despite dropping the first set Millot came back to trump Weintraub with a 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory.
Jesse Huta Galung of the Netherlands continued his easy passage in to the latter stages of the tournament with a straight sets victory over Ivo Klec 6-4, 6-4.
[Editor’s note: although Jesse did tweet: “Weather extremely cramped, seldom felt so bad after a game. Tomorrow quarterfinals.” Tweetdeck translation]
[Editor’s note: For this preview, we once again leave you in the capable typing hands of Mr. Jonathan Artman, our New Caledonian Bureau Chief. Give him a holler on the Twitter @jonnyboy613 or, alternately, holler at him in the comments.]
Flavio Cipolla v David Guez
A favourite with the locals and a former Champion in the New Caledonian island, Flavio Cipolla of Italy will face off against the vastly experienced Frenchman David Guez for a place in the quarterfinals. In the last round Cipolla saw off compatriot Matteo Viola in straight sets whereas Guez dealt similar damage to his South African opponent, Fritz Wolmarans. In some ways Guez’s comfortable victory was a surprise as Wolmarans had hugely impressed at the backend of the 2010 season. Moreover, the Frenchman’s form had deteriorated rapidly as the season progressed, but his victory on Monday may be a sign that he is looking to 2011 for a fresh start and a new chapter in his indifferent tennis career.
Cipolla thrives on the courts and is clearly comfortable with the tropical weather and conditions. Apart from winning the title here a few years ago, he was also a beaten finalist last year against the German Florian Mayer, who is now well inside the top 50 of the rankings.
The Italian actually turned pro in 2003 at age 20, which is quite late for such a player; some Pros now reach that status as young as 16 or 17. Cipolla has shown signs of his burgeoning potential in the past after taking Stanislas Wawrinka to 5 sets in 2008 at Flushing Meadows.
It is somewhat difficult to decide on what to expect from David Guez due to his inconsistencies in the past so I will have to predict a Cipolla victory, especially with this impressive history at this tournament. This match could very well go the distance.
All that and a bag of Cips