Tag Archive: Gilles Muller


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:

Courmayeur

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!

Kazan

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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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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Challenger Noumea FINAL Recap

[Editor’s note: our intrepid Noumea Bureau Chief Jon Artman crawled out of the swim-up bar long enough to file this report on the final]

A week of excellent tennis has concluded here in Noumea, New Caledonia. The 2011 champion is Vincent Millot! He had a simply brilliant tournament and his results warranted the title, without a shadow of a doubt.

Millot defeated a clearly jaded Gilles Muller in 3 enthralling and tight sets. After the Frenchman sealed the first set in a tie-break, the left-handed Luxembourger romped back into the match with a 6-2 2nd set scoreline in his favour.

Despite the 3rd seed’s very best efforts, Millot once again regained the momentum to seal the match and Championship 7-6, 2-6, 6-4.

Knocking out some of the best players of the field in Noumea, Millot showed excellent promise this week and if he can recapture this form elsewhere this season, he will rocket up the rankings and really could make a name for himself.

Felicitations, Vincent!

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.)
[Yet another in a long and hallowed line of award-winning dispatches from our Noumea Bureau Chief, Mr. Jonathan Artman]
 
Local boy Augustin Gensse continued his great run with victory over Slovakian Pavol Cervenak in straight sets, 7-6(6), 6-4.

Gilles Muller continued his 3-set specialty wins with another over Flavio Cipolla, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in a real thriller. Cipolla always does well here in Noumea but had his 2011 campaign ended by the big lefty from Luxembourg.

Vincent Millot pulled out another upset from the hat, defeating compatriot Josselin Ouanna in 3 sets, 3-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(2). A really hard-fought victory to progress to the semis.

2nd seed Jesse Huta Galung marched on towards the Final with a victory over Gregoire Burquier 6-4, 7-5.

Semi-Final Preview
  
The first Semi sees the current favourite for Noumea glory this year, Jesse Huta Galung, face off against surprise package Vincent Millot. Millot has seen off two compatriots as well as Amir Weintraub, who was on an 8-match winning streak before Millot ground it down to an abrupt halt.  The young, exciting Dutchman ought to finally put pay to the Frenchman’s hopes due to his consistent play from the baseline. Millot is capable of beating the likes of Galung on his day, however, so it promises to be an intriguing clash. Expect another 3 setter involving the Frenchman but Galung to finally prevail.

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