Tag Archive: Fritz Wolmarans


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.

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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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[Editor’s note: it’s only the second day of the year, and already I’m overtaxed/lazy.  So I outsourced my Noumea preview to friend, contributor, and general tennistico Jonathan Artman aka @jonnyboy613 on the Twitter.  I hope you enjoy his art(man)icle – please leave your praise/blame in the comments.]

 

The first week of the brand spanking new 2011 tennis season begins for the Challenger players in Nouméa, a French owned island which is actually nowhere near France. This beautiful island, part of New Caledonia, is part of the Pacific Ocean territories, and is just a short boat (or cruise ride, if you will), from Australia.

Whilst this mysterious island is still owned by France, the French have gradually released power over the island in favour of New Caledonia itself. Regardless, French is still the official language; in fact, less than 1 % of its inhabitants reported that they don’t know how to speak la Française. Now you may be wondering the significance of the geography of Nouméa; it is quite a fascinating place and like no other; it appears on the map nowhere near its genuine owners and the island even has its own New Caledonia football team, a part of FIFA since 2004. Its population is relatively small, at just under an estimated 250,000. The Nouméa tennis championships are not just clouded in mystery, it possesses some genuinely amusing stories, too. In 2009, the island suffered a deluge of highly unusual rain, which quite literally forced the 2009 doubles tournament to be “Cancelled Due to Rain”.

Rather like Cancun, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular, as is rather evident by the above image. This may lend the destination to a pure holiday resort, where professionals can play a bit of tennis during the week too. Far from it – the tournament has a proud heritage and Gilles Simon, once a Top 10 player in the ATP rankings, is a double champion, having won the tournament twice consecutively back in 2005 and 2006. Florian Mayer, the German, currently ranked 37 in the World, was the champion in New Caledonia last year, and crushed his final opponent Flavio Cipolla of Italy 6-3, 6-0. The Italian himself is not a stranger to success in Nouméa; he will have fond memories of his success 3 years ago in 2008 where he fought off the improving Swiss Stephane Bohli in straight sets to clinch one of the more coveted and unusual Challenger titles.

The lack of live scoring over the years for these mystifying Championships is perhaps not surprising considering its somewhat remote and remarkable location. Thankfully however, thanks to internet communications, we have access to the players who are turning up this year, and the match-ups that they have been placed in, so let’s take a look at the key fixtures of the first round that start on a fairly modest Monday’s play:

Gilles Muller (3) v Danai Udomchoke
 
The big serving lefty who hails from Luxembourg will face off against Danai Udomchoke, one of few notable tennis professionals originating from the nation of Thailand. Muller can be proud of what he has achieved for his country’s sporting reputation; he is by far the most successful male tennis player that is affiliated with Luxembourgish origin. He turned Pro exactly 10 years ago and once upon a time, he was ranked 59 but is now outside the top 100 and sits 134 in the ATP World rankings. In 2008 Gilles enjoyed a spectacular run in the US Open where he advanced to the Quarter Finals, which was a big shock at the time. His serve being his obvious main weapon, he can be a real handful for any player on his day; he is also one of a diminishing number of players that possesses a fancy two-handed backhand.

His opponent Udomchoke will turn 30 in August of this year. He was once ranked at no. 77 in the World and his best performance at a Slam was the 3rd round of the Aussie Open back in 2007. The Thai’s most recent Title was in Busan, South Korea, where he defeated up-and-coming Slovenian Blaz Kavcic in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 just a couple years ago.

Danai endured a rather miserable 2010 and is now ranked in the 400’s so he is sure to be itching to get back on the tennis circuit for 2011 and climb back up the rankings, where no doubt he feels his ability warrants. He did appear in the Bangkok ATP event in his home country, of course, but his Wildcard only took him as far as the first round where he lost to the ever impressive Finn Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets.

It would be foolish to expect too much from Muller’s opponent today on the back of a very disappointing 2010 season. Although Muller remains outside the top 100, he had a relatively successful season last year and he continues to hold his own against some top players; he took big John Isner, the American, to 3 very tight sets before succumbing to a harsh defeat. Muller went 40-23 (W-L) over the past 12 months, a highly respectable record indeed.

The Luxembourger should take this in straight sets barring any surprises. Both men possess plenty of experience but Muller should be able to find his groove early on, and if he brings the confidence from 2010 it should be a relatively straight forward task for the 27-year-old. For Danai Udomchoke, I expect it will be a case of hard work, determination and practise to get his career right back on track.

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This just in. The final qualifying round has been played in New Caledonia, and here are the results:

F Wolmarans (RSA) b D King-Turner (NZL) 63 76(2)
A Weintraub (ISR) b L Walter (FRA) 64 63
M Yani (USA) b N Renavand (FRA) 64 64
D Meffert (GER) b J Dasnieres de Veigy (FRA) 57 75 63

In other news, I can’t think about this tournament without hearing this song in my head:

Hopefully it happens to you too, now.

Noumea Qualifying Draw Is Out!

The qualifying draw for the $75,000 Internationaux de Nouvelle-Caledonie (ooh la la) in Noumea, New Caledonia has been made, with most players in the 32 draw greeting the new year with a first round bye.  Top-seeded Knoxville Challenger semifinalist Fritz Wolmarans looks to continue the fine form that saw him finish the year 17/5.

The 24 year-old South African awaits the winner of two unranked French wildcards, Mathieu Monot and David Pateau.  Whatever you do, don’t commit those names to your memory in 2011.  Or, if you must commit just one, stick with Monot – as Mathieu’s unranked younger Monot bro Guillaume squares off against Aussie Dane Propoggia in the qualy draw’s only other first round.  This way one name will get you two players.  Don’t sleep on the Monot bros, yo!  Or, alternatively, sleep on them.  It’s up to you, and 2011 is as yet a blank canvas that is unscarred by your misdoings.  Myself?  I’m going back to bed.

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