Tag Archive: Pierre-Hugues Herbert


This week’s W.A.T.C.H. List is pretty damn diversified, with players earning their points from ATP 500s and 250s all the way down to 10K Futures level. Something for everyone. My kind of List.

Interested? Well, then. Look below to see Who’s Achieved Their Career Highs this week:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Bradley Klahn USA 23 66 others lost points
Jiri Vesely CZE 20 77 ATP 250 Memphis R2
Aleksandr Nedovyesov KAZ 27 92 Kolkata SF
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 99 ATP 500 Rotterdam Q/R16
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 134 Quimper W
Yuki Bhambri IND 21 143 Kolkata R2
Blaz Rola SLO 23 152 others lost points
Hiroki Moriya JPN 23 166 others lost points
Marton Fucsovics HUN 22 173 Bergamo QF
Andrea Arnaboldi ITA 26 180 Bergamo SF
Albano Olivetti FRA 22 194 Quimper QF
Lorenzo Giustino ITA 22 223 Bergamo R2
Daniel Cox GBR 23 244 Kolkata R2
Adrian Sikora SVK 25 277 ATP 500 Rotterdam QR2
Jose Pereira BRA 23 298 Egypt F4 F
Stefano Travaglia ITA 22 305 Egypt F4 W
Gabriel Alejandro Hidalgo ARG 23 338 Argentina F2 F
Oliver Golding GBR 20 362 Portugal F1 W
Ivan Arenas-Gualda ESP 23 377 Portugal F1 SF
Federico Coria ARG 21 386 Argentina F2 SF

Though it’s usually not in my harsh and uncompromising nature to feature “others-point-losers” in these here below-the-table write-ups, I just want to point out that out of the last 15 W.A.T.C.H. Lists, Mr. Bradley Klahn has been on 8 of them.

And only twice because others lost points. Traralgon Challenger finalist, Yeongwol Challenger winner, Yokohama Challenger semifinalist, Maui Challenger titlist, West Lakes Challenger champ — what an amazing four months it’s been for the former three-time Stanford All-American.

The Bradth of Klahn - Bradley with the West Lakes Trophy

The Bradth of Klahn – Bradley with the West Lakes Trophy

Klahn now is firmly entrenched as the American #3 and is now only 69 ATPoints behind Sam Querrey for the #2 spot. He’s also advancing at such a consistent rate that he may soon be an ATP Tour-level player only, meaning he’ll no longer have a place on this site. *sniffle*

And third on this week’s List is another three-time All-American, this time from Oklahoma State, Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan (formerly Oleksandr Nedovyesov of the Ukraine, before he succumbed to the Kazakh Tennis Relocation Program), who was cold-cocked in the Kolkata Challenger semifinals by the Serbian lumberjack, Ilija Bozoljac.

Nedov Yes So Very Questionable Form Here

Nedov Yes So Very Questionable Form Here

It was still enough to rise another spot on the ATP carte du jour, career highdom achieved.  So, to professionally summarize the List so far: U.S. college tennis. Woot woot!

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The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, people. That’s right: it’s PTW Season.

Today marks the first installment in a ten-day series during which, once a day, I’ll attempt to steer your attention toward a player who bears close watching in the upcoming tennis year, as said player is poised for great things.  Before I tell you about our first selection, let me tell you a bit about the ground rules and how players were selected/rejected for this staggering honor.

I started with a list of 50 players who are all under 22-years-old and ranked between ATP #150-500. As such, very good candidates were eliminated right from the get-go. Jiri Vesely? He sure does bear watching in 2014, but since he’s already ranked #85, he’s already more or less transcended the Challenger ranks.

In Czech Republic, Vesely Watches YOU

In Czech Republic, Vesely Watches YOU

Pierre-Hugues Herbert? A fantastic prospect who I plan on watching very closely this coming season. But at age 22, he’s far too over the hill for a list of young up-and-comers such as this.

He Wrote: "On March 18, I Turned 22 And Became Too Old for PTW Honors."

Hard to Read, But He(rbert) Wrote: “On March 18, I Turned 22 And Became Too Old for PTW Honors.”

Thanasi Kokkinakis? Yeah, I’ll probably spend most of 2014 ruing his exclusion from this list, as he likely world-beats his way to the top.  But he’s currently outside the Top 500 (#624, to be exact). And if he doesn’t Vesel his way into the Top 100 this year, odds are he’ll be my top pick next year.

In order to have a place to even begin, we must have at least a few limitations, folks. And the “Under 22, ranked #150-500” model is the one I traditionally use. So if it ain’t broke…*

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Whaddup, W.A.T.C.H.ers.

I was feeling especially industrious today, so I brought back a column of info that I used to have in WATCH Lists of yore: the “Why” column, which details what exactly a player did to achieve their career high this week.  You lucky devils.  So let’s do it:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Pablo Carreno-Busta ESP 22 65 Paris QR2
Tim Smyczek USA 25 82 others lost points
Julian Reister GER 27 85 Seoul F
Oleksandr Nedovyesov UKR 26 95 Eckental R2
Bradley Klahn USA 23 118 Traralgon F
Dominic Thiem AUT 20 122 Casablanca W
James Duckworth AUS 21 132 Traralgon SF
Facundo Arguello ARG 21 135 Montevideo R2
Guido Andreozzi ARG 22 143 Montevideo R2
Pierre Hugues-Herbert FRA 22 160 Paris R2
Gerald Melzer AUT 23 179 Casablanca SF
Norbert Gombos SVK 23 192 Geneva QF
Damir Dzumhur BIH 21 197 others lost points
Tim Puetz GER 25 207 Eckental SF
Jordi Samper-Montana ESP 23 211 others lost points
Mohamed Safwat EGY 23 214 Casablanca QF
Filip Peliwo CAN 19 245 Charlottesville R2
Valery Rudnev RUS 25 252 Seoul R2
Thiago Monteiro BRA 19 254 Montevideo R2
Hiroki Kondo JPN 30 275 Seoul R2
Tak Khunn Wang FRA 22 293 Spain F36 W

Today we welcome to the fold a new* WATCH Lister, Mr. Bradley Klahn. In contrast to recent List regulars like Dominic Thiem, Gerald Melzer, and Tim Smyczek — all of whom have charted career highs in six of the last nine weeks — the Stanford grad’s been drifting around the ATP rankings table of late; he’s been within 11 spots of his previous personal best (#123) since winning the Aptos Challenger in early August, before finally breaking through Down Under.

The 23-year-old was one of a very few Americans who sought his points outside of the States this week, and the move paid off for him as he made it to the finals of the Traralgon Challenger in Australia, going down to India’s Yuki Bhambri in a ridiculously close and rain delayed affair 7-6(13) 3-6 4-6. (For more on that match, check out the superb coverage provided by our friends at Aceland Tennis.)

The Wrath of Klahn - photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

The Wrath of Klahn – photo courtesy of Aceland Tennis

During his years at Stanford, Klahn was a three-time All-American in both singles and doubles and was the 2009-10 NCAA Singles champ. This is his first full year on the pro tour, and he’s the latest of many former U.S. college players to appear on the W.A.T.C.H. List.  The upcoming week finds him at the Yeongwol Challenger, as the fourth seed in a stronger field.

Moving right along, Pierre-Hugues Herbert has been on the List five times in the past nine weeks, but it’s how he did it that bears noting this time around.  The 22-year-old Frenchman got a WC in qualifying at the ATP 1000 in Paris (Bercy), and knocked off Horacio Zeballos and Kenny de Schepper to qualify (coming back from a set and a break down and saving match point vs. the former).

But he didn’t stop there.  In the main draw, P2H maintained his focus while Benoit Paire managed to implode spectacularly on the other side of the net (as is his fashion).

Herbert Signs Your Computer Monitor After His Win Vs. Paire

Herbert Signs Your Computer Monitor After His Win Vs. Paire

And in the next round he was perilously close to taking the first set from some mug named Novak Djokovic.  Though he didn’t win the match, he became a cause celebre in Paris for the remainder of the week, playing dubs with the Schepper and making TV appearances all over town.

As Tennis East Coast reported, players at the Charlottesville Challenger cheered Herbert on, watching the lanky lad on Tennis Channel in the players lounge, thrilled to be watching one of their own making a splash at such an elite level.  You can practically see the thought bubbles above their heads when you picture it, right?  It reads: “If he can do it, why can’t I?”

And indeed, a few of those very players are sure to appear on these W.A.T.C.H. List pages one of these days.  Stay tuned.

*new in the past 9 weeks, anyway.

Since there are seven challenger tourneys happening this week, there was bound to be some excellent written work in and around these events. And just in case you missed my tweets about them this week, herein in lies the very best of those.

First and definitely foremost comes this piece about Dominic Thiem’s crazy fitness coach, Sepp Resnik, and the wacky methods he uses to train the D(en)ominator.

Resnik's Guiding Hand

Resnik’s Guiding Hand

If you do nothing else with your life, at the very least you must read this article — it’s truly that remarkable. (Oh, and here’s the article in its original German, if you like to dabble in Deutsch.) And I’d love it if you’d report back to me and tell me your thoughts about it in the comments.

Next up is this introspective, thoughtful and well-written blog post from Jason JungThe ATP #396 — who’s had a very decent year at 42/22, and just fed Mitchell Krueger a double-breadstick today in Yeongwol — nicely and concisely conveys all the joy, doubt, beauty and pain of the weekly challenger tennis grind.

The Jung And The Restless

The Jung And The Restless

Similarly, this stellar article from Tennis East Coast shows us you don’t even have to go halfway around the world to have a lonely challenger experience. There are similar challenges to be faced even in a player’s home country. I love the bit about Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as I felt the same way the pros did.

Charlottesville Chally - Photo by Tennis East Coast

Charlottesville Chally – Photo by Tennis East Coast

And it truly is a shame that some of these events are so sparsely attended. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I can’t think of anywhere else you get as much bang for your entertainment buck as you can at a challenger or Futures tournament (and oftentimes you don’t even have to pay at all).

The players you see are bound to be just a few very small improvements away from the ATP Tour; oftentimes they’re just as talented, but don’t quite have their mental games or fitness focus where it needs to be.  (And, because their mental games aren’t as strong, you get to see far more interesting meltdowns than you’d see at ATP level).

Plus you’re closer to the court than you’d normally be at an ATP tourney. If you’re a tennis fan, you truly owe it to yourself to check the calendar for tourneys in the area, and then go. The players, the tourneys and you yourself have everything to gain. Do it!

Lastly, Colette Lewis spotlights a few of the players you can see at such events in her October Aces columnMitchell Frank was one of the players at the Charlottesville Challenger, Karen Khachanov made the quarterfinals of the Geneva Challenger this week, and Elias Ymer played the qualies at the Bratislava Challenger.

This first U.S. men’s pro tournament of 2011 is unfolding in a most unusual fashion; all of the second rounds have been played at the Frank Veltri Tennis Center in Plantation Central Park, and not a single seed is left standing. There are no seeds even left leaning or squatting.  Remarkable.  Let’s take a look at some of the surprising results:

Luka Gregorc SLO #464 d [Q] Andrea Collarini USA #580 7-5 6-1. Even though the 26-year-old Slovenian had ranking and experience on his side, I’m somewhat surprised that the 18-year-old ex-Argie and current 2011 Challenger Tennis Player To Watch, Andrea Collarini, was handed his first loss of the year in this match. I mean, sure, occasionally Gregorc’s been known to string together some wins – such as when he beat Jose Acasuso, Ivo Karlovic and Andreas Seppi on his way to the semifinals of the Pilot Pen New Haven in 2008 – but the big guy hasn’t made it past the 2nd round of any event since the Ojai Challenger in early June of last year. He also had a sub-.500 record on clay the past five years. Meanwhile, Collarini usually does quite well on the dirt. So, yeah. Tennis. It’s a weird game sometimes.

[W] Wayne Odesnik USA d [Q] Thomas Cazes-Carrere FRA #582 6-3 6-2. I’m sure you’ll find enough coverage of this result at other sites and outlets. I’m here to chronicle and celebrated the unsung athletes, remember? And, at least for the moment, Mr. Odesnik is well-sung enough. Moving on.

Dan Smethurst GBR #497 d [Q] Christian Harrison USA 5-7 6-4 6-1. So end’s Christian’s comeback after a year-and-a-half layoff, but there’s a tremendous amount of upside for the 16-year-old’s efforts this tournament: four wins, his first ATP point, and a set off of a very underranked (in my opinion) main draw opponent. That’s a terrific foundation from which he can continue rebuilding.  Meanwhile, if Smethurst can just become more consistent in this new year, I expect him to be a Top 300 player and start moving up to Challengers later this year.

Smethurst, Doing His Best Gulbis Impersonation

[Q] Phillip Simmonds USA #570 d [6] Roman Borvanov MDA #431 6-3 6-2. Another upset on paper, but not in my mind (that said, hardly any matches ever play out properly in that particular venue). Heck, Simmonds once racked up junior dubs titles with World Team Tennis stalwart Scott Oudsema and was a two-time Coffee Bowl finalist, taking sets off the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray back in the day. Dude’s got more than a little bit of game.

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