Tag Archive: Jesse Witten


Friday’s Tamarac USA F2 Quarterfinal Report

OK. So. For the USA F2 Tamarac quarterfinals, I’ll be doing my match reports a bit differently. Instead of my usual 7,912-word treatise on who hit what shot on which point and the expression on their faces when they hit them, I’ll be giving you more of a big picture sense of how things unfolded on the day. You know, a sense of the larger drama and the overall context within which today’s tennis was framed (and sometimes even stringed). The devil is in the details, after all, and I’ve heard that distance can add perspective.

All of which is another way of saying: I spent most of the day socializing my fool head off, and blithely ignored most of the day’s details. But I regret nothing! The socializing, it was good.

Some snapshots from today’s play, which we’ll say is indicative of the larger whole:

Phillip Simmonds USA d David Souto VEN 7-6(3) 6-3: The 18-year-old Venezuelan is a big, lefty beast, more growling than grunting with every viciously topspun shot.

Beast Mode: Engaged

Unfortunately for me, my 2011 Player To Watch prospect exhibits behavior this match that is fairly beastly as well. Serving at 2-3 15-30, he ambles in to retrieve a poor Simmonds drop shot but dumps the ball into the middle of the net once he gets there. Then, for good measure, he throws his racquet into the middle of the net as well. He gets a code violation for racquet abuse, after which he mockingly intones “Warning, warning.” Simmonds closes out the break a few points later with a forehand crosscourt volley.

After the match, Souto self-destructs even more, slamming water bottles and coolers and chairs, saying “Warning, Warning, Warning” all the while and sounding like that annoying robot from Lost In Space. Perhaps the chair umpire’s name was Will Robinson too, as he gave Souto a wide buffer/berth as he warily left the court. “Danger, Will Robinson!”

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Update on the Futures/Future

So look, people.  It’s no secret, and there’s no need to pussyfoot around it.  Let’s just get it right out there in the open: I’ve been horribly remiss in not giving you any updates from the Futures tour this week, it’s true.  But here are my excuses: 1) the Sao Paulo Challenger has completely overshadowed the Brazil F2 Futures tourney in Salvador, even though Salvador is Brazil’s capital of happiness; b) I’m moving to Florida, duh, and such things require preparation that may limit my coverage and/or output; iii) though it may take place in Brazil’s happiness capital, the $10K Brazil F2 has an extremely watered-down field and didn’t really merit coverage until this weekend.

I mean, I know my job here is to chronicle and celebrate and all, but with only 11 Top Thousand players in the Salvador field, and an 8th seeded player ranked #658 in the world, well… it’s hard to get inspired about day-to-day coverage until the weekend, I admit.  But I will now, OK? 

So, in a tournament where the top 3 seeds are the only ones in the Top 400, and the rest of the field is outside the Top 500, it should come as no surprise that the top seeds are the ones who made it to the final weekend, no?  For me, the tournament started on Saturday, as it was almost predestined that #1 Eladio Ribeiro Neto (ATP #317), #2 Andre Begemann (#348), #3 Andre Miele (#398) and #4 Thales Turini (#530) would make it through to the final four.

Three Brazilians, two Andres and one German (Begemann).  But who would win out of them?  The answer may surprise you! 

Well, the semifinals may not surprise you, as top-seeded Ribeiro continued his dominance over 4th seed Turini, 7-6(3) 7-5, for his third win in three tries in this inter-Brazilian affair.  The 21 year-old Turini has yet to win a set over his 25 year-old countryman.  But second seeded Begemann had a tougher time against the third seed Miele, eking out a close 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 win and evening their head-to-head at one apiece in this inter-Andre affair.  

But in the finals?  Surprise!  The second seed (Begemann, for those hard of memory) upset the 1st (Ribeiro-Neto, ditto), 1-6 6-4 6-4 to take the Salvador da Bahia title.  The win indicates a profound change in fortunes for the 26 year-old German, who just five months ago was at a career high #166 in the world, after reaching the semifinals at the Nottingham Challenger (l. Go Soeda) and almost making the main draw at Wimbledon.  He also partnered Dustin Brown to a dubs final at the Cairo Challenger and won the Zagreb Challenger championship teamed up with Matt Ebden.  But then, after a retirement in Round 2 of the Winnetka Challenger, the former Pepperdine standout went 1/15 for the rest of the year, his ranking plummeting almost 200 places. 

So, to say that this was a surprise result would actually be a bit of an understatement, I’d say.  Talk about turning over a new leaf in the new year! 

The Begemann Gets Paid

Meanwhile, in Plantation, Florida, the $10K USA F1 Futures are underway with a lot of interesting stories already (and the main draw hasn’t even begun).  Not the least of which is the return of Wayne Odesnik, the self-proclaimed “American Nadal” (he’s a lefty, he likes clay, just go with it), from a slashed-in-half two-year drug suspension, his penalty reduced due to the ongoing “Substantial Assistance” he’s been providing to the ITF (Code Name: Whistleblower).  I’m not big on moralizing/judging, so I’ll steer clear of L’affaire Odesnik for now, and will just note that it’s happening.

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