Tag Archive: Freddie Nielsen


So.  Hello.  I’m pretty sure it’s not me you’re looking for either.  And I know I’m supposed to be driving to Florida right now, but the Northeast is getting slammed with snow – bamboozled by blizzard, we are! – so I’m (Tom) delayed for one more day. Which means, despite my procuring of the finest guest-hosting talents (and they are doing a spectacular job), you are stuck with me for one more day. I don’t know what to do with myself, other than sully my site with more of my words. Therefore, I proudly present to you my Australian Open men’s qualifying day one wrap-up – cabin fever edition:

I was able to wake up in the middle of the night and watch the livestream of the John Millman v Sebastian Rieschick match as well as the Greg Jones v Olivier Patience contest. Then I fell asleep again (sorry Gooch!) Turns out that Greg and the Mailman were the only Aussies to come good out of the twelve who played yesterday.

That’s right, two wins out of twelve. Maverick Banes, Matt Reid, Chris Guccione, Sean Berman, Sam Groth, James Duckworth, Ben Mitchell, Luke Saville, James Lemke, and Brydan Klein all lost. Ouch. All Ozzed up, and no place to go. In fairness, Mitchell’s effort (some of which I saw) was superb, taking top seeded Blaz Kavcic to 4-6 in the third set. And Saville lost to a red hot Nicola Mahut. 

Benny Mitchell – Will He Escape From Full Screen Mode?

So I’m especially glad to have seen the rare instances of Aussome success in all their glory. And they were glorious indeed. If ever a match could be called “classic John Millman”, this match vs. Rieschick was the one. The Mailman seemed dogged by the conditions early, and easily distracted by “fans” with highly questionable etiquette. His shots were landing short in the court, and his opponent was taking those short balls and teeing off, making more than he missed.

Thus, the amiable Queenslander found himself down a set and a break, with the burly German serving for the match, when he was granted a rain-delay reprieve. After an hour or so break, Milkman came out raring to go, a noticeable spring in his step that was absent pre-precip. Maybe he enjoyed some caffeine during his break. I offer this as evidence for my hypothesis:

Meanwhile, Rieschick was nowhere to be found, and ambled out onto the court a good five minutes or so after John did. When play resumed, Mailman overcame match point, shoddy line calls, and dodgy inter-game spectator migrations to break twice and take the second set 7-5. Rieschick also could no longer find the court – that helped, too.

The third set opened with three straight breaks, Sebastian settled a bit more into his game after an extended walkabout during the previous frame’s conclusion.

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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!)
 
Noumea
  
Semifinals
 
[3] Gilles Muller defeated Augustin Gensse (FRA) 6-3 6-4
Vincent Millot defeated [2] Jesse Huta Galung, walkover
 
Final
 
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 Tuesdea Preview

A very sparse OOP in Noumea for Tuesday (unless you count doubles, which I totally don’t) (kidding!) (about the doubles, not the spareness).  If I had the kind of forecast they have, I’d be making people play multiple rounds today.  I guess that’s why I’m not a tournament director – which I’m sure is for the better, as it would likely result in player mutiny and violent overthrow. All for the best.  Anyway, here’s a look at Tuesday’s matches, which are the only remaining first rounds to be played:

Igor Sijsling vs. Augustin Gensse: a first ever meeting between the top-seeded Dutchman and the 27 year-old Frenchie.  Sijsling ended the year on one of the better tears on tour, winning the Eckental Challenger then reaching the finals in Aachen before Dustin Brown halted his 9-match winning streak.  This will be his first pro match since that run in late November.  Gensse, meanwhile, had an amazing 72/21 season that saw him claim SEVEN Futures titles and reach the semis of the Palermo Challenger, pushing his ranking up from #578 into the Top 200.  So I would be very densse were I to write off his chances.  Will be an interesting one, for sure.

Igor Sijsling Dutching it up with pal Thiemo de Bakker

Freddie Nielsen vs. Kevin Kim: First meeting for these guys as well.  Two challenger tour veterans whose seasons (and possibly careers) took different trajectories at the end of last year. 2010 saw the 32 year-old Kim lose his final six matches of the year on the way to a 29/37 campaign.  The 27 year-old Dane, meanwhile, ended the year with a run to the finals of Loughborough (where he lost to the then-torrid Matthias Bachinger) and a 46/26 record.  All trends point to Nielsen getting through this one.

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Merry Christmas and happy holidaze, everyone! The hectic Yuletide Party Season has cut down my Challenger Tennis 12 Days of Christmas profiles to one-per-day instead of two. But I think you’ll all agree that I’m sufficiently long-winded in this one, and that you’ll not be  left wanting when you’ve finished today’s feast. So let’s stuff ourselves with today’s ponderous profile, shall we?

Confession: I think I’ve seen nearly twenty Henri Kontinen matches in my lifetime. And I can’t say enough about this guy’s game (although I will attempt to). For my money (and I have very little), Henri is a surefire Top 50 player; and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he were Top 5 two or three years down the road.  But it’s not just me saying that; some Top 50 pros, like Michael Berrer and Jarkko Nieminen, have gone on record saying Henri is a future Top 20 player.  And they have a lot more money than I do.

Though Michael Llodra has certainly done his part this year to ward off any non-believers, those who still think serve and volley tennis is dead and buried would do well to see Henri Kontinen play. Armed with a huge serve and a feel at the net that recalls, dare I say, Stefan Edberg (I dare say it!), Henri has a style of play rarely seen in the ATP today. With his one-handed backhand, his always-looking-to-attack attitude and the touch at net when he gets there, it’s actually quite difficult not to make the lazy Edberg association as you see the blond-haired flying Finn careening about the court. And though Kontinen isn’t necessarily a pure serve and volleyer – he picks his spots, depending on surface obviously, but plays a lot of S&V on grass – he has an all-court game in which he’s itching to get to net at the first opportunity that his flat and penetrating groundstrokes can provide him. Having to see so many players using “hit and retreat” tactics and forgoing short ball invitations to net all season long makes watching Henri’s game style such a refreshing change of pace.

OK – enough of me spinning my introductory wheels; let’s get down to the resume, here. Henri, aka HenKon, Henkka, Kone, The Kontinental Soldier, The Jark Shadow, Henk, etc., is a former Junior #4 and French Open boys’ doubles champ (with Christopher “Rug Rat” Rungkat) who perhaps most famously was the 2008 Wimbledon Boys Singles runner-up to Grigor Dimitrov.

Henri began 2009 ranked #1,818 and finnished it at #288, accomplishing his meteoric rankings ascent even while overcoming a wrist injury that kept him out for 3 months. After starting his 2009 campaign in March, he was able to post a 41-19 record in his first almost-full year on the men’s tour. Consequently, Henri gained the most ranking spots among all ATP pros in 2009. To top it all off, he was also a Davis Cup hero, winning not one but two live fifth rubbers.

So everything looking up, right? Wrong.

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