Tag Archive: Flavio Cipolla

Challenger Tennis Week Five In Review

Subtitled: Seriously – How Freaking Awesome Were My Previews? (A: Very.)

I know, I know. Challenger what now? For a site with “Challenger” in the name, I’ve sure written very little about them this week. I’ve been suffering from a bad case of Futurebrain (much worse than bed head, I’m afraid), but will be back to yammering daily about the challenger circuit soon. In the meantime, will you settle for this weekly summary instead? You have no choice, really. I’m just asking to be polite.

But seriously – how freaking awesome were my previews? (please see answer, above.) Let’s take a look at what actually transpired in this past week’s three events, and match it up to what I said would happen beforehand. This will be an exercise whose worth can be computed only on a scale of my own awesomeness. Ready? Doesn’t matter:


I wrote:

“I’m pleased to see Lithuanian #2 (behind “Richard” Berankis, of course) Laurynas Grigelis has made it through qualifying…I would tell anyone who listened back then that Laury played well above his then-521 ranking. Less than 11 months later, my sentiment has been somewhat borne out as Grigelis will likely enter the Top 400 next week.”

So guess what? Turns out Grigelis made it all the way to the quarterfinals, and his ranking will be at a WATCH-worthy366 (or so) when the new rankings come out in about five minutes. You see? I’m smarter than even I thought I was! (Hard to imagine, I know, but it’s true.)

Grigelis, at right, with some other Lithuanian dude, laughing in awe re: my amazing intelligence

Then I wrote:

“A possible quarterfinal in the top section here pits Bolelli vs. fifth seed (and 2011 CT PtW) Benoit Paire… But Matthias Bachinger will probably beat them both anyway. Because that’s just the kind of thing he does.”

So what happened? Well, Bachinger did beat Paire, but couldn’t beat Bolelli because Grigelis had already done so. *feels doubly vindicated* He then beat Big Grig in the quarters for good measure, finally losing to Nicolas Mahut in the semis.

Matthias Bachinger, at left, with friend Daniel Brands, mocking you for doubting my prescience

All the seeds on the bottom half of the draw made the quarters, which is amazing because those are the only players I even mentioned in my preview. Never mind that I was short of time and mentioning the seeded entrants was the most obvious way to do the fastest preview possible. The important takeaway here is that I mentioned four players, and all four of them made the quarterfinals. Remark-a-balls. (Let the official record show those players were: Martin Klizan, Gilles Muller, Jerzy Janowicz and Olivier Rochus.)

Mahut went on to beat Muller 7-6(4) 6-4 in the final, which is fine because I mentioned him too.

All results!


I wrote about top seed Conor Niland’s dodgy lunch. Then he withdru with the flew.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I wrote about there possibly being an upset in the Marius Copil vs. three seed Alexander Kudryavtsev match. And then he went on to win the whole damn tournament (he beat fourth-seeded Andi Beck 7-6(6) 6-4)! I mean, how’s that for an upset?! Nevermind that that’s not what I predicted, specifically. Or that I bunched his upset possibility with the fates of two other combatants, neither of whom came through as I’d insinuated they might. The point here is: I’m awesome. (Remember?)

Marius Copil, the Romanian Roddick, a long time ago in a completely different tournament

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Sweet, sweet results. Unfortunately everybody is now on different rounds, which makes things a bit confusing. With only two days left to complete qualifying, there are fourteen second-round matches still to complete, mainly in the top half of the draw, while other players have already made it to the final round.

However, the first round has finally been completed (applause!) which will have come as a bit of relief to those players who started their matches on Wednesday. The biggest name to fall was fifth seed Marco Chiudinelli, who lost to the unseeded and unsung Alex Bogomolov Jr., a.k.a American Boggo.

History is silent on whether it was the rain or American Boggo’s superlative play that turned Chiudinelli to a sort of mushy pulp over the course of three sets, but American Boggo moves on to face Brazilian Thiago Alves tonight. These two have a long-standing rivalry dating back to 2002, and while Alves is 1-3 down, he completed his match on Wednesday so should surely have the advantage of being well-rested. Alves’ countryman did not fare so well; another top seed to fall was fourth seed Joao Souza, a man not at the back of the line when vowels were handed out, who lost 6-1 in the third to Flavio Cipolla.  

Hello, Mr Cips.

In remaining first-round action, Stephane Robert of France and Antonio Veic of Croatia both progressed, while my favourite pumpkin-head and official Tip For The Biggish Time, Jerzy Janowicz, took three sets to complete his first-round win over Michael Yani, but win he did. He’ll be wiping the floor with Bobby Reynolds later tonight.  

And as for the second round matches …

ChallengerTennis’ supposed Mr Consistency, John Millman, the sole Australian in action in men’s qualifying yesterday, showed off his abs and not much else in a straight-sets loss to Vincent Millot of France. Millot, the 31st seed, was looking pretty likely to me; he faces Peter Parker Polanksy in the next round after the Canadian upset tenth seed Jesse Huta Guleng 61 76(2).

Other second-round upsets included Andreas Haider-Maurer’s 36 06 loss to Frederik Nielsen of Denmark. Otherwise the seeds came through in fine style, although Nicolas Mahut took three sets to subdue Guillermo Olaso of Spain. Next up for Mahut? Seed-bageller Frederik Nielsen. Stay tuned.

Full results here.

Results: Sao Paulo and Noumea Challengers

Match reports up later, for now the results:

Sao Paulo

[Q] Rafael Camilo defeated Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 5-7 7-6 7-5 (saved a match point in the TB!)

[1] Ricardo Mello leads [7] Federico Delbonis 6-4 5-7 *5-4 (play suspended: rain!)
[3] Gilles Muller defeated Augustin Gensse (FRA) 6-3 6-4
Vincent Millot defeated [2] Jesse Huta Galung, walkover
Vincent Millot defeated [3] Gilles Muller 7-6 2-6 6-4
Update on lack of further updates: Unfortunately, I’m not going to have the time to do a proper write-up up of these matches; I’m packing up to head down to Florida and cover the first four Futures events there.  In the meantime, caioswim has done an amazing job of covering the Sao Paulo tournament all week with his Youtube videos. Here’s a nice little chunk of the Camilo v Menendez match. It’s a good illustration of the weaponry Camilo has at his disposal, as well as the work he still needs to do to improve his consistency and fitness (note: he’s in the far court):
I have to say, I’m really starting to love this kid and his game.  And his breakout success in this event has not only been the story of the tournament (he’s now won 3 matches having saved match points), but further underlines how insane the tournament organizers were to put his epic match against Horacio Zeballos on an outside court, when the main court was available.  I’m still trying to get over that one.  Even his doubles final (he and Santiago Gonzalez are the top seeds and beat third seeds James Cerretani/Adil Shamasdin 6-4 6-7(6) 10-5 in the semis) won’t be on Court Central.  The tournament director must hate him. (kidding)
Anyway, here are the final points of the Camilo-Menendez contest:
It’s a shame we don’t have someone like caioswim in Noumea, but here are some pretty sweet pictures of Millot’s championship victory over Muller.  It was the 24-year-old Frenchman’s first Challenger Tour title (and his first final since June of 2009).  Second seeds  Freddie Nielsen and Dominik Meffert took the dubs trophy 7-6(4) 5-7 10-5 over top-seeded Flavio Cipolla and Simone Vagnozzi).
Regarding Jesse Huta Galung’s withdrawal: apparently playing the semifinals would be too much of a pain in the buttDidn’t want to take any chances with Australian Open qualifying so soon on the horizon.  Speaking of which, we’ll be providing full coverage of the qualifying tournament down under, with a very special guest author/editor on board.  Who could it be? Hint: it’s someone who writes much better then I do.  (Yes, I know: that doesn’t narrow down the field too much, haha.)

Noumea – Updated Thursday QF Results

Once again lovingly cut-and-pasted by my overtaxed typing fingers. You’re welcome!

[2] J Huta Galung (NED) b G Burquier (FRA) 64 75
[3] G Muller (LUX) b F Cipolla (ITA) 63 16 63
V Millot (FRA) b [6] J Ouanna (FRA) 36 76(0) 76(2)
A Gensse (FRA) b P Cervenak (SVK) 76(6) 64

Challenger Noumea Thursday Preview – Quarter-Finals

[Another annoying note from the editor: below please revel in the insanely popular previewing stylings of Noumea Bureau Chief and New Caledonia Tennis Aficionado Mr. Jonathan Artman. Upon completion of this year’s event, his daily Noumea previews will be collected into a compendium and released as a lovely coffee table book]
Thursday sees the quarter-finals take place in New Caledonia, and we begin to progress to the nitty-gritty stages of the Championships.

Augustin Gensse and Pavol Cervenak (the latter you may know from his doubles exploits) will face-off in the low-key quarter-final (hey, they can’t all be big games).

2nd seed Jesse Huta Galung will be the opposition for local boy Gregoire Burquier, who is a surprise name in the draw. Currently ranked at 233, his highest in his career thus far, the 26-year-old was not expected to do much this week in all honesty but has strung up a good few wins already. Galung will represent by far his toughest test yet, however. The young Dutchman ought to end the Frenchman’s glory hopes today, in straight sets. Infact, with Igor Sijsling departing early in somewhat shocking fashion, Jesse is arguably the favourite to win the 2011 Noumea title.

The all-French clash sees Josselin Ouanna pit his skills against Vincent Millot who has really earned his quarter-final spot with wins over Marc Gicquel and a confident Amir Weintraub. Ouanna has not had things easy playing the likes of Rik de Voest, who can be a challenging opponent on his day.  But the Frenchman, not renowned for having a great deal of hair at the best of times [editor’s note: LOL], has performed admirably thus far in 2011. I expect Ouanna to end his compatriot’s impressive run but Millot oughtn’t bow down easily.

Arguably the most interesting clash on Thursday will see Gilles Muller play the Italian and former Champion here in Noumea, Flavio Cipolla. Muller was expected to get at least this far but he has not progressed in the fashion that was likely of him – he dropped a set to both Danai Udomchoke and little known Clement Reix from France. Conversely, Flavio has seen off his opponents in straight sets thus far and destroyed his experienced opponent, David Guez; it must be said, however, that the Frenchman is known for his off-days now and then. Or perhaps, a bit more often than “now and then”.

I am going for an Italian victory as he seems to be blessed in this place. Muller has not convinced this week and he will have to improve markedly to defeat Cipolla. If he plays in the same manner as he has done already, Cipolla will beat him quicker than he can polish off a home-made stone-baked ciabatta.

Stone-Baked Ciabatta

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