Tag Archive: Milos Raonic

The WATCH List – Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs?

OK. So every Monday, going back a long time, I’ve enjoyed combing through the newly released ATP world rankings to see who’s achieved their new career highs, usually on the backs of a good/great performance the week before.  I’ve occasionally shared this list from week to week with a few of my tennis junkie friends through emails and the like, but now that I have this site I thought it’d be nice to share it with you fine internet folk.

Unfortunately, right when I went to do this, I saw that our friends from Shank Tennis had just published a similarly themed article, complete with my snappy WATCH (Who’s Achieved Their Career High?) acronym in their title.  What to do?  It totally looks like I’m stealing ideas from our Shanky colleagues here, but I swear I’ve been doing this for a while and just wanted to make it public in the new year. *throws self on mercy of the jurgement court*   The best I can do is hope my friends back up my assertions in the comments section, sheepishly link to the Shank Tennis article, and hope they don’t shank me.  Haha, life is so absurd.  (or maybe it’s just me.)

Anyway, without further ado (’cause we’ve had plenty of ado already), here is today’s list.  Wait!  More ado: I arbitrarily start this list at #80 in the world and go up to #350, just because that’s about the range in which most Challenger Tour players are found.  If I’m leaving out a fave of yours, make yer own damn list (heh).  So here, finally, is the WATCH list; this is who’s achieved their career highs this week: 

Player NATIONALITY New High (Previous High)
Adrian Mannarino FRANCE 80 (83)
Ivan Dodig CROATIA 82 (86)
Alexandre Kudryavtsev RUSSIA 149 (156)
Milos Raonic CANADA 153 (155)
Vincent Millot FRANCE 161 (170)
Yuichi Sugita JAPAN 166 (180)
Augustin Gensse FRANCE 190 (199)
Nikola Ciric SERBIA 197 (198)
David Goffin BELGIUM 205 (228)
Gregoire Burquier FRANCE 220 (233)
Sebastian Rieschick GERMANY 232 (238)
Facundo Bagnis ARGENTINA 240 (242)
Amir Weintraub ISRAEL 270 (278)
Clement Reix FRANCE 273 (277)
Thomas Fabbiano ITALY 277 (305)
Rafael Camilo BRAZIL 306 (433)

Great looking week for France, eh?  Five players at new career highs (not even counting Michael Llodra, who also is WATCH-worthy at #22).  Most of this is attributable to the Noumea Challenger, a French-territorial event in which Millot, Burquier, Gensse, and Reix all thrived.  Fabbiano and Camilo appear courtesy of standout showings at the Sao Paulo Challenger.

So that’s this week’s WATCH list done with.  I plan to make it a weekly Monday feature, assuming I don’t get shanked. :-0

Bad news, challenger fans.  I just had a look at the forecast for the two tournament locales, and the news is fairly grim.  See for yourselves:


I’ll try to find out what the contingency plans are for both events. Pretty sure they can move indoors in Sao Paulo, but as you read in Jon’s Noumea Preview, Caledonia is shrouded in more mystery than the island from LOST, and they once cancelled the dubs due to rain.  So… we’ll see about that.

In the meantime, there’s good ATP 250 qualifying action taking place.  I’ll be watching both the Raonic vs. Roger-Vasselin and Goffin vs. Soeda final qualifying rounds from Chennai, and I’ll have full reports from those matches after their completion.  In the meantime, pray to the tennis gods or the weather gods or the atheist gods… whichever gods you’re on best of terms with.  And maybe there’ll be Challenger Tennis this week.  But right now, the outlook is not so good.

ATP 250 Chennai Qualifying Draw Analysis

This qualifying draw breakdown comes with one qualifier: to help expedite this analysis, I will be assuming that all Indians save for Sanam Singh, Vishnu Vardhan and Karan Rastogi cannot quite compete at this level and will thus not be advancing to QR2. Oh, and let’s pretend the same is true for all German wildcards as well. Please note: I did not say this would be a particularly fair or accurate assumption, but it will certainly make this draw analysis a hell of a lot easier.

And now, with almost half of all potential qualifiers eliminated from consideration by my reckless and sweeping assertion, let’s see which four gents might actually have a chance to advance into the main draw, shall we?  Oh wait, am I missing something here?  Oh yes – the drawIs as follows:

SINGH, Karunuday IND vs [WC] GREMELMAYR, Andreas GER
GOFFIN, David BEL vs WAGH, Akash IND
PRASHANTH, N Vijay Sundar IND vs [7] MINAR, Ivo CZE

[2] ROGER-VASSELIN, Edouard FRA vs KHAN, Shahbaaz IND
SKUGOR, Franco CRO vs SINGH, Sanam IND
SETKIC, Aldin BIH vs [5] RAONIC, Milos CAN

[3] NILAND, Conor IRL vs VARDHAN, Vishnu IND
PAVIC, Ante CRO vs QURESHI, Aisam-Ul-Haq PAK
RASTOGI, Karan IND vs RAM, Rajeev USA
RAJA, Purav IND vs [6] KUDRYAVTSEV, Alexandre RUS

[4] KRAVCHUK, Konstantin RUS vs SHARAN, Divij IND

First Quarter: So, based on my simple yet effective formula, it’s looking like top-seed Go Soeda will face the winner between David Goffin and [7] Ivo Minar for a main draw spot here. The case for Minar being that winner: he’s ranked higher (#167). The case for Goffin being that winner: he’s one of Challenger Tennis’ 2011 Players To Watch. Advantage: Goffin. For Go’s part, he hasn’t told it on the mountain (i.e. played) against either Goffin or the non-doctor Ivo. Who advances: much as I’d like to see one of CT’s chosen folk thrive early in the year, I suspect it will be the top-seeded Soeda getting through his section. But I wouldn’t mind being wrong at all, at all.

David Goffin

Second Quarter: I’m gonna call my first reckless upset of the season here, and tout Sanam Singh as the guy who emerges from the top half of this quarter. The UVA vet is no slouch at the professional level, though he’s played most of his ball in college thus far. Plus, Skugor had a less-than-convincing end of 2010 (losing his final five matches) and Roger-Vasselin ain’t exactly a hero on hard courts. So I say Singh pleases the locals and slides past Vasselin into the final qualifying round, where he’ll meet… Milos Raonic, of course. The Canadian with the cannonball serve has had time to rest his shoulder and he’s got very high aspirations for this year. I can’t see Aldin Setkic or Evgeny Kirillov really troubling him. Nor Singh, for that matter. Who advances: Raonic.

The Raonic Man – with Carsten Ball

Third Quarter: Well, even though Vishnu Vardan is someone I can’t offhandedly eliminate before my draw analysis gets underway, I can eliminate him now at the hands of Conor Niland. The top-ranked Irishman finished last year too well to be wholly bothered by the third-ranked Indian. Though he may be partially bothered by him. There’s definitely room for some partial botheration. I like Conor to come through over Ante Pavic or Aisam Qureshi as well.

I think Karan Rastogi might go a bit further toward making an impact on Rajeev Ram‘s game deeper into the third quarter, but I expect Ram to come good, even though he didn’t give the Entouraj much to cheer about last year (if anything). And that leads us to an interesting QR2, because Alexander Kudryavtsev – despite impressing in his run to the semis of the Bratislava Challenger semis late last year – has an 0-2 head-to-head against Raj, with both losses coming on hard courts and one coming last year in Chennai. Things look as favorable as they could for the American to find his way into the FQR against Niland. But that’s as far as I expect him to go, assuming he gets that far. It’s Niland who advances out of this section, I think.

Fourth Quarter: I think the one player with the most to be pleased with in all of the Chennai qualifying draw is 4th seed Konstantin Kravchuk. Besides the other seed in his section, Yuichi Sugita, the highest ranked player is outside the Top 500, and Kravchuk won his only previous meeting with Sugita. So look for the 25 year-old Russian to join Soeda, Raonic and Niland in kickstarting their 2011 campaigns with an ATP main draw appearance.

Christmas Presence – Futures Edition

If there’s one thing I hope you’ve learned from this highly educational site by now, it’s this: there is no off-season! Professional tennis is a year-long festival, although the late-December circuit is the province of those ranked outside the Top 300 for sure. The highest-ranked player remaining in action on this particular day is 315th-ranked Daniel Silva at the Brazil F37 Futures. But all of the still-active players in this week’s three tourneys stand to make some extra cash for presents at the Futures.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at what’s shaping up to be a fascinating Cuba F1 Futures event. To start with, the ITF page lists this as the Cuba F1 Fugures, so right from the get-go you know this tourney has something unique to offer. Perhaps everyone is playing in a fugue state and will finish the week wondering where the hell they’ve been. Or maybe everyone there is just fugly. Either way, the point is: typos can tell us so much. Everyone thinks typos are bad and all, but if there’s one thing in my life that I will never be, it’s typo negative.

Anyway, let’s have a look at the fugly folk who’ve made the semifinals in Havana this week. It’s an interesting, international mix: an American, a Guatemalan, a Latvian and a Venezuelan. The American, Christopher Racz, has an intriguing past he’d do well to recall as he fugues his way into the future.

In 2005, Chris made the semis of the Kentucky International Junior Tennis Derby and then won the Canadian ITF Grade 4 Event, destroying a 15 year-old Milos Raonic 6-1 6-4 along the way. He also had a tightly contested three-setter with Thiemo de Bakker at the Canadian Open Junior Tennis Championships, in which he just came out on the losing end. In doubles, believe it or don’t, Mr. Racz actually teamed up with Challenger Tennis fave Ricardo Urzua-Rivera, the Chile F9 semifinalist whom I profiled yesterday. He also played a couple of events with the fantastically-named Attila Bucko, who is now one of my tennis heroes based on name alone. After juniors, Christopher attended the University of Tennessee, coming into his freshman season as one of the Top Ten seniors in the Class of 2006 according to tennisrecruiting.net. As a Vol, he had some moderate success before turning pro.

Currently ranked #942 in the world, Chris came into Cuba with 6 wins and 27 losses on the year. So in this one event alone, he’s increased his 2010 win total by 50%. And he picked a helluva time to hit a hot streak, as a win today would net the 22 year-old an extra $420 of holiday anti-scrooge scratch. He plays third-seeded Christopher Diaz-Figueroa today, against whom he has a 1-1 head-to-head record. May the best Christopher win, I say!

The other semifinal features Latvian 5th seed Deniss Pavlovs (does that name ring a bell?) against 7th seeded Venezuelan Roman Recarte. (I hope some readers process that last sentence to mean there’s a player named “Recarte” (one name, a la Kaka) who’s a Venezuelan Roman.)

Now, you may think that Ernests Gulbis is the first Latvian pro tennis player of note. To which I say, “Pah!” in disdain (or, at the very least, “Pavlovs!”). Deniss is 27 years old, so was almost a teen when Ernie was in diapers (little known fact I just made up: Ernie wasn’t potty-trained until a very late age). Pavlovs, perhaps drafting off of diaper dandy Ernie’s success, reached a career high of #263 in the world last July, but has slipped back to #652 for reasons I don’t even pretend to know and am too tired to investigate. I’ll ask him the next time I see him, OK?

Deniss had a monster year in 2008, going 63/29 and making the finals of 5 Futures events (and losing all five of them) before finallybreaking through and winning the Nicaragua F1 in November. He followed that up with a mysteriously awful 5/26 year in 2009 and came into Cuba 14/18 this year. A win in the semis would get him back to .500 for the season! This will be his first meeting with the Venezuelan Roman Recarte.

And that’s about all I have to say about the fugly fuguey folk who are doing well and/or generally do-gooding in Cuba. But I’ll be sure to keep you abreast of the latest developments.

The Past In The Futures

One of the pleasures of the alleged “off-season” (a scandalous misnomer) is that we are provided ample opportunity to learn about new players and places. After all, when you’re a rabid professional tennis fan, and there are only a few ITF tournaments happening around the globe, what else is there for you to do? (Work with me, here.) (And that involves: not answering my rhetorical question, and just merrily reading on.)

Cases in point:

Ricardo Urzua-Rivera, Chile F9 Futures Quarterfinalist: The 21 year-old from Rancagua, Chile, (about 90 km south of Santiago), is a former Top Ten-ranked junior in the world, the erstwhile champion of the Banana Bowl (not quite the Orange Bowl, but close), and once juniordubs partners with Challenger Tennis faves Milos Raonic and Harri Heliovaara, that intrepid Finnish blogger.

Today, he is an unseeded 940th-ranked combatant in Concepcion, squaring off against an almost-as-equally-unheralded Guido Andreozzi of Argentina. To the winner goes the spoils: 190 bucks and 3 ATP ranking points. It’s a hard-knock life sometimes, and success in the juniors is only alchemized into future fortunes a fraction of the time.

I wish Ricardo the best today, and I also hope he continues to indulge in his personal interest of “Football Ping pong”, if only because it conjures up mental images of someone playing table tennis using the oblong pigskin ball of American Football, bouncing all higgledy-piggledy and every which way. You thought pro tennis was difficult? That’s nothing compared to football ping pong. (Look, I told you to work with me; and if the frequent lack of commas in ITF profiles leaves me to indulge in desperate acts of comedy then so be it.)

Guillermo Rivera-Aranguiz, Top Seed and Chile F9 Futures Quarterfinalist*: The 21 year-old’s penchant for “Cycling Singing” has already been well-documented here. But did you know: he was once the stalwart juniordubs sidekick of one Ricardo Urzua-Rivera? I know! Small world, innit? Together they played 25 tourneys in all, in South America, Central America, North America and Europe, enjoying great success, outdueling the dual Ryans – Harrison and Lipman – in the Grade 1 Kentucky International Finals and losing a close three-set battle to Rhyne Williams and Ricardas Berankis in the finals of the 2007 Yucatan World Cup in their final match together as juniors. (Incidentally, Urzua-Rivera must have nightmares to this day about the wee Lithuanian, against whom he was 0-4 in singles and in doubles.)

Today, the fifth-ranked Chilean opts to pair up with the much-higher-ranked Cristobal Saavedra-Corvalan instead (he’s the 2nd seed in the Chile F9. I know! Small world again!). Beginning in February of 2009, Rivera-Aranguiz ditched Urzua-Rivera and since then has played 18 tournaments with his now-7th-ranked Chilean counterpart. They played the F9 together as well, losing in the quarterfinals and thus having to split their $180 bounty between them.

There’s an untold saga, here. A tale of separate levels of success for two 21 year-old friends who’ve traveled the world together, quarreled and laughed, won and lost, come together and fallen apart. But you won’t find it in Nic Brown’s Doubles, nor will you find it here. For I do not know the facts: I can merely create my own imagined narrative sown from a wild imagination and a brain that’s watched The Motorcycle Diaries too many times. (Yes, I know that was Argentina. You said you would work with me.)

*6 Chileans made the quarterfinals of the Chile F9, bettering the total of 4 last week at the Chile F8 in the club across town.

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