Tag Archive: Facundo Bagnis


Seemingly everywhere you look on the Challenger Tour, there’s a Facundo awaiting your gaze.  From challenger draws to W.A.T.C.H. Lists to social media, if there’s one thing life on the second- and third-best tiers of tennis teaches you, it’s that Argentina has an abundance of Facundos.  But just how many are there? And are they a threat to tennis’s top tier?  These questions I shall answer for you, dear reader, in this field guide to Facundos past, present and Futures.

First, have a seat somewhere. Are you sitting down? Because it may just shock you off your fickle feet to learn that there are sixteen (16) (!) Facundos that either play or have played on the ATP Tour.  All from Argentina (apparently they don’t make Facundos anywhere else).

BUT DON’T PANIC: only seven of them are currently active on tour, while a couple more are kicking around the juniors.  It’s still a lot, but it’s manageable. Get your field glasses ready, because it’s time to have a look.

Facundo #1: Facundo Bagnis

W.T.Facu Bagnis

W.T.Facu Bagnis

23-year-old lefty Facundo Bagnis is (by just a little bit) the best Facundo ever to have played, with a current and career-high ranking of ATP #143. The three-time Challenger champ (Barranquilla ’11, Arad ’12 and Santiago ’13) from Rosario, Argentina has a solid 39/23 record this season after struggling last year.

Though he’s yet to break through at the ATP level in singles, he did take an ATP title in doubles (Stuttgart ATP 250 with Thomaz Bellucci) and is ranked #79, with four challenger doubles crowns.

Propects: with some continued hard work, I don’t see any reason Bagnis won’t make the Top 100 in his career, though I feel like Top 50 might be somewhat less attainable.

Facundo #2: Facundo Arguello

Though Facu #2 is currently the number two Facu, I predict that 21-year-old Facundo Arguello will hit higher heights than his first-Facu’ed countryman.  Ranked just behind Bagnis at a career high ATP #150, the aggressive, gruntacular righty was once a Top 10 junior, and he’s had virtually no trouble adjusting to the pro-tennis level.

The Spectacularly Coiffed Facundo Arguello

The Spectacularly Coiffed Facundo Arguello

The truco-playing, clay-loving competitor is 35/19 on the year, after a 41/24 campaign in 2012. Though he has yet to score a Challenger title, he has made the finals of four events, the most recent of which being Savannah, where he took out Tim Smyczek, Michael Russell and Donald Young before succumbing to Ryan Harrison in the finals.

Prospects: I’d be surprised if Arguello didn’t make the Top 50. (Full disclosure: he was also one of my 2011 Players to Watch.)

Facundo #3: Facundo Mena

The prospects might not be as bright for this Facundo, who’s currently ranked ATP #514 (career high #496) at age 21, but he’s a Facundo, dammit, and he needs to be acknowledged!  And there are plenty of late bloomers on tour, for that matter.

Mena-cing

Mena-cing

Mena is a decent 31/18 on the season, after posting finalist showings in consecutive Futures (Chile F5 and F6).  The wristy right-hander only started playing at age thirteen, and he has plenty of time to grow into (or out of) his somewhat unconventional strokes.

Prospects: partly cloudy with a 20% chance of Top 100.

Bonus Facundo: Facundo Alvo

I told you there were some wee Facundos kickin’ around the junior ranks, and so I bring to you — at no extra cost — this bonus Facundo: Facundo Alvo, a Facundo of the future!

Alvo Anywhere

Alvo Anywhere

The #4 junior in Argentina, 17-year-old Facundo Alvo beat 15-year-old American sensation Stefan Kozlov and took top-ranked Argieboy Pedro Cachin to a 5-7 third set in the Copa Milo 2013 final in February. More recently, he’s been trying his hand at the pro tour level — even notching a win against yet another Facundo (Facundo Jofre) at the Argentina F17 Futures last month.  So that’s something, no?

Also, how great is it when your Bonus Facundo has flowing, Leif Garrett locks? I love it when that happens!

Prospects: I have no idea.

Well, that wraps up this week’s field guide.  Now go forth into the world with a newfound confidence that can only come from fully knowing your Facundos!

Today I made an amazing discovery: it seems I have a website. Fancy that! So kindly allow me to make now make use this space, for I have amazing tales to tell. Namely, of the three young(ish) guns who each managed to snare their first Challenger titles this week. Two are from the class of ’89 and one is a ’90 vintage, which means: not one champion this week is over the age of 22. And all of them have quite interesting, uplifting and even mysterious back stories. Let’s meet them, shall we?

Our first first-time champ is 22-year-old Frenchman Maxime Teixeira, who made his extraordinary breakthrough at the 30,000 Euro Open Prevadies St. Brieuc Challenger,, winning 6-3 6-0 over his listless third-seeded countryman, Benoit Paire.

Teixeira’s story is kind of remarkable in that there is no story. At least, there’s no back story. You see, Teixeira’s emergence on the scene has been so recent (he’s won 9 of his last 10 challenger matches, but last week was not only his first Chal. final, but it’s the first time he’s made it past the 2nd round) and so out-of-nowhere that there’s really no decent information about him anywhere on the interwebs. And believe you me, I’ve googled the crap out of this guy for hours.

Let’s look at the (lack of) evidence: for one thing, according to the ITF site, he never played a junior match. OK, then. Also, before last year, he had only played a total of 29 pro matches between 2006 and 2009. So last year, after a 7/7 2009 campaign, he goes and posts a 50/21 record (mostly at Futures level) at age 20-21, not even playing his first challenger match until October, aka 5.5 months ago.

This year, he’s not only stepped up in class to Challenger events, but he’s upped his winning percentage too. Naturally. 25/6 for the year so far, yes sir. So who the hell is this mystery man? And how did he suddenly get so good? I spent altogether too much time using my best google fu know how (and know who), and – in lieu of finding anything about his history, as I was hoping to find – I at least was able to track down this Googily-translated French article, which at least has a few good quotes from the man.

Written around this time last year after a French pro league win over close friend (apparently) Kenny de Schepper, Teixeira says, “My goals are ambitious. I would like my ranking would allow me to play qualifying at Roland Garros next year. And in three to four years, I hope to become one of the Top 100.”

Ambitious?! Try outlandish, no? For someone ranked #705 at the time, with no pedigree to speak of? Well guess what: As a result of his play the past two weeks, Teixeira should find himself inside the Top 200 when the new rankings come out tomorrow. He’s a lock to make the RG quals as he’d hoped one year ago, and suddenly the Top 100 even seems within reach.

Incidentally, if you read the comments in the article I linked above, you’ll see the high regard in which this young man seems to be placed (at least among those inclined to read an article about him, haha). Which kind of makes me want to root for someone like him, a guy who’s “maximizing” his talents (so to speak) as opposed to a guy who’s throwing them away, like Paire.

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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!

Player Age NATION New High Prev High Why?
Grigor Dimitrov 19.75 BULGARIA 84 85 Q’ed, R1 R’dam
Benoit Paire 21.75 FRANCE 120 136 Q’ed, R2 R’dam
Alexander Kudryavtsev 25.25 RUSSIA 141 147 SF Bergamo
Tim Smyczek 23.10 USA 158 168 QF San Jose
Matthias Bachinger 23.90 GERMANY 161 163 R2 Bergamo
Robert Farah 23.25 COLOMBIA 183 184 Q’ed, R1 San Jose
Jurgen Zopp 22.90 ESTONIA 198 211 SF Bergamo
Sebastian Rieschick 24.99 GERMANY 225 228 R2 Quimper
Facundo Bagnis 20.95 ARGENTINA 231 238 Q’ed, R1 Brazil
Andres Molteni 22.92 ARGENTINA 236 246 QF Colombia F2
Alexander Lobkov 20.33 RUSSIA 252 253 Others lost points
Fritz Wolmarans 24.93 S. AFRICA 254 255 Others lost points
Amir Weintraub 24.42 ISRAEL 255 259 R2 Quimper
Phillip Bester 22.35 CANADA 260 268 R2 Caloundra
Clement Reix 27.35 FRANCE 265 270 R2 Quimper
Karan Rastogi 24.35 INDIA 284 328 W Cambodia F2
Javier Marti 19.10 SPAIN 295 308 R2 Spain F5
Kenny de Schepper 23.70 FRANCE 297 370 F Quimper
Ludovic Walter 28.10 FRANCE 304 315 R2 Quimper

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.

The WATCH List – Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs?

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: 

Player NATIONALITY New High (Previous High)
Adrian Mannarino FRANCE 80 (83)
Ivan Dodig CROATIA 82 (86)
Alexandre Kudryavtsev RUSSIA 149 (156)
Milos Raonic CANADA 153 (155)
Vincent Millot FRANCE 161 (170)
Yuichi Sugita JAPAN 166 (180)
Augustin Gensse FRANCE 190 (199)
Nikola Ciric SERBIA 197 (198)
David Goffin BELGIUM 205 (228)
Gregoire Burquier FRANCE 220 (233)
Sebastian Rieschick GERMANY 232 (238)
Facundo Bagnis ARGENTINA 240 (242)
Amir Weintraub ISRAEL 270 (278)
Clement Reix FRANCE 273 (277)
Thomas Fabbiano ITALY 277 (305)
Rafael Camilo BRAZIL 306 (433)

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

[Angry author’s note: I had this article written and set to upload 7 hours ago, but then this damned blizzard we’re having blew out my cable and internet so I couldn’t post it. Now it looks like I missed Day 7 of my 12 Days of Christmas, but I didn’t miss it!  I was ready, I swear! Anyway, I’ll have another set of profiles up later today. Weather permitting, of course.]

Probably the most daunting challenge I encountered when assembling this year’s Watch list was figuring out which of the Argentinians to include. Or – more to the point – which ones not to include. So many Argies, so little time; how do I choose just one? (One was my arbitrary limit, based on absolutely nothing at all.)

It’s hard to limit it to just ten, for that matter. I know it’s a Captain Obvious kind of thing to say, but it’s just staggering how many quality clay court grinders are churned out by Argentina’s player-producing machinery. Federico Del Bonis, Facundo Bagnis, Guido Pella, Facundo Arguello, Diego Schwartzman, Marco Trungelliti, Nicolas Pastor, Agustin Velotti, Renzo Olivo, and on and on. Every single one of them under 21 years of age and heading for the Top 200 (if they’re not there already).

And they’ve all beaten up on one another at some point, so it’s nearly impossible to pick out the Alpha Argie among them, for the most part (surprising fact, though: it’s Marco Trungelliti who has by far the best W/L record vs. the others from the above-listed group – an impressive 11/2. This fact becomes less surprising when you realize he’s also the oldest in that group, sometimes by over two years, and has spent a good deal of time puttin’ a whoopin’ on the young ‘uns. Let’s check back in on those H2H’s a few years down the road and see how that record’s held up, eh?)

You know what would be absolutely amazing? I’ll tell you: if there were a Tennis Australia-style, livestreamed wildcard playoff for Argentina’s nueva legion, competing in a round robin tournament (not the single elimination draw TA did this year) for a spot in the French Open. I would pay good money to see that happen.

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, the Delbo would get into the French main draw directly via ranking (it could happen) (plus we gotta make some Delbo room in my hypothetical scenario) and you threw the other 8 into a two-group round-robin tourney. Who do you think would be the eventual WC winner? Answer me that, Argiephiles!

Anyway, back to the problem at hand. Which to choose? Heck, it’s difficult to limit myself to just one Facundo – never mind one Argie. (And on that count, I’m tempted to pick Facundo Mena just ’cause he has a ridiculously wristy forehand like mine, but he’s not even in the Top Thousand yet, so that will have to wait.)

It would also be tempting to just be lazy and pick one of the highest ranked among them – Del Bonis, at #160 and Bagnis (#242) lead the way in that category – but closer inspection reveals that the three players who began the year ranked the highest among the young guns (Guido Pella being the third) (and all three lefties, by the way) arguably struggled more than anyone this year.

Sure, Delbo won the Rome-2 Challenger, and was a finalist at Napoli and Rimini (Italy must be full of tailors, as it really suited him), but he just went 34/27 on the year and only picked up an additional 35 ranking spots. Certainly not the kind of breakout year I was expecting from him.

Federico Del Bonis

Pella’s year was borderline disastrous, as he dropped over 100 places in the rankings on the heels of a 26/22 year.

 

Guido Pella

Of the three, Bagnis was the most successful, but that’s damning with faint praise, to be honest.  Thanks to a season-ending win at the Brazil F36 Futures, Bagnis ended his season on a high note, and his 5 straight wins to take the title pushed his 2010 W/L record to a far more decent-looking 37/29. But apart from a run to the finals at the Bytom Challenger, during which he scored victories against Martin Klizan, Marius Copil and Matthias Bachinger before succumbing to Pere Riba, even Facu didn’t really do as much as I had anticipated from him.

Facundo Bagnis

I have to say, I was kind of fascinated by Marco Trungelliti’s year; he’s really come on strong, and out of relative obscurity. The almost-21-year-old “veteran” of this crew had no junior success to speak of (his ranking high was #630), but he finished this year at a brisk 16/5 pace, which certainly caught my attention. That said, his 35/18 season only amounted to a gain of 45 spots in the rankings, up to #429 from #474. I remain unconvinced, but I’ll be keeping my eye on him for sure.

So that left me with five from which to pick: Arguello, Schwartzman, Velotti, Olivo, and Pastor – all of them under 20 years old, the youngest of the young guns. Olivo, at 18 years old (and 9 months), gained the second-most ranking ground this year, racing up to #618 from a starting point of #1,125. A former #8 junior (and by “former”, I mean April of this year), he won the Bolivia F4 futures in addition to his QF Boys showings at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. But he’s still a year or so off, I think, from my being able to tout him as a Player to Watch.

Renzo Olivo and El Mago Guillermo Coria

Pastor – who’s coached by Javier Nalbandian, brother of a certain someone you might have heard of (hint: his name rhymes with “Shmavid”) – and Schwartzman have very similar resumes, both for this year and for their careers. The 18 year olds largely eschewed the junior tourneys and have focused on the pros; both made the finals of three Futures events this year and gained a lot of ground in 2010. But, as with Olivo, I feel they’re just a bit too raw for me to feel comfortable putting my 2011 PTW betting chips on their names.

Diego Schwartzman

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