Tag Archive: Filippo Volandri

A very long List today. Since a lot of players’ seasons have already been shuttered, those who did play last week stood to gain a lot vs. those dormant others. Thus, there’s a whole lotta career highs to get to today. So let’s get to them!

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Alejandro Gonzalez COL 24 91 CTF F
Oleksandr Nedovyesov UKR 26 93 CTF SF
Bradley Klahn USA 23 97 Yokohama SF
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 121 others lost points
Facundo Bagnis ARG 23 123 Lima F
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 124 Lima QF
Peter Polansky CAN 25 140 others lost points
Victor Estrella DOM 33 143 Guayaquil QF
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 151 Yokohama SF
Guilherme Clezar BRA 20 156 CTF RR
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 178 others lost points
Sam Groth AUS 26 183 Champaign F
Tennys Sandgren USA 22 187 Champaign W
Damir Dzumhur BIH 21 189 others lost points
Pedro Sousa POR 25 199 Guayaquil F
Mohamed Safwat EGY 23 206 Egypt F32 W
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 232 others lost points
Axel Michon FRA 22 239 Egypt F32 F
Kimmer Coppejans BEL 19 254 Yokohama R2
Andrea Collarini ARG 21 257 Lima R2
Egor Gerasimov BLR 21 267 Helsinki QF
Hiroki Kondo JPN 31 275 Yokohama FQR
Adrian Sikora SVK 25 295 others lost points
Ante Pavic CRO 24 297 Helsinki R2
Janez Semrajc SLO 24 300 Croatia F14 F

So what do we make of this uber-long List?

Well, first of all, a hardy “Welcome to the Top 100!” is in order for Colombia’s Alejandro Gonzalez and American Bradley Klahn. Gonzalez, who lost to Filippo Volandri in the Challenger Tour Finals, is the sixth Colombian to ever break into the One Hundred Club.

AGon The Conqueror

AGon The Conqueror

Klahn, the three-time All-American out of Stanford, finishes his first full year on tour in superb form, going Finalist, Champion and Semifinalist in Traralgon, Yeongwol and Yokohama respectively — a run that saw him rise 26 rungs on the ATP Rankings ladder.

Behind John Isner and Sam Querrey, the Americans are now tightly bunched, with Tim Smyczek at #89, Michael Russell #92, Donald Young #96 and Klahn at #97.  Furthermore, Klahn has now assured his entry into the main draw at next year’s Australian Open, where the cutoff is ATP #105. Our pals at Footsoldiers of Tennis have the latest breakdown of who’s chasing ATPoints at the three Challenger events this week, in order to join Klahn in the main draw.

The Wrath of Klahn - photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

The Wrath of Klahn – photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

Next, we see that tennis’s Facundos are still doing just fine, although they’ll need to qualify at next year’s first Slam.  But at least they’ll be seeded. Click here if you’re still unsure about who the Fac they are.

Clearly congrats are in order for Victor Estrella, who’s the Tommy Haas of the Challenger Tour, finding success well into his thirties. A new career high at age 33 is nothing to sneeze at*.

Sweet Victory

Sweet Victor-y

Lastly, congrats to Sam Groth and Tennys Sandgren, whose bubbly Champaign Challenger success (finalist and champion, respectively) resulted in dual breakthroughs into the vaunted Top One Hundred Eighty Seven.

I Will Not Make A Tennys Pun.

I Will Not Make A Tennys Pun

Groth’s breakthrough has been a long time coming, as he’s dabbled in the 200’s for significant periods of time every year since 2008. As the now seventh-ranked Aussie, he inserts himself prominently into the wildcard discussion for the Oz Open.

Champaign Wishes And Caviar Dreams

Champaign Wishes And Caviar Dreams

Welp, there are many more stories I can tell of those in the lower reaches of this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List, but this article is already long enough, don’t you think?  If I’m inspired, I’ll write a sequel.  So check back often!***

*Unless you have a cold, in which case: sneeze away!**

**Your monitor also doubles as a sneeze guard.

***Chances are <1% that I’ll write a sequel, so use your best judgment here.

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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