Tag Archive: Ricardo Urzua-Rivera


OK, folks. I’ll bring you this week’s W.A.T.C.H. List, but I must warn you: it’s abysmal.

Since the rankings this week are based solely upon five Futures tournaments, there are very few players achieving their career highs via on-court achievements. Thus, over half of this week’s table find themselves backing into their personal bests because adjacent players on the ATP Rankings table are a bunch of point-losers:

Player NATIONALITY Age New High Why
Germain Gigounon BEL 24 237 others lost points
Jose Checa-Calvo ESP 28 239 others lost points
Borna Coric CRO 17 303 Turkey F51 W
Alexey Vatutin RUS 21 385 others lost points
Ivan Arenas-Gualda ESP 23 389 others lost points
Tihomir Grozdanov BUL 26 394 Qatar F5 R2
Ricardo Urzua-Rivera CHI 24 414 Chile F12 SF
Tomas Lipovsek Puches ARG 20 415 Chile F12 QF
Yoshihito Nishioka JPN 18 442 Chile F12 W
Facundo Mena ARG 21 492 Brazil F21 QF
Martin Cuevas URU 21 522 others lost points
Pedro Cachin ARG 18 544 others lost points
Tim Nekic GER 21 574 others lost points
Jean-Marc Werner GER 23 576 others lost points
Mateo Nicolas Martinez ARG 19 579 others lost points
Jaime Pulgar-Garcia ESP 24 581 others lost points
Mike Urbanija SLO 24 590 others lost points
Tristan Lamasine FRA 20 600 Turkey F50 QF
Vadim Alekseenko UKR 30 609 Turkey F51 R2
Caio Silva BRA 22 615 Brazil F21 SF
Alban Meuffels NED 21 616 Turkey F50 SF

Boo.

Leading the charge of those who actually did things on court is the boundlessly active Borna Coric, who won the year’s final pro event in Turkey. This must’ve come as quite a relief to Borna’s practice partner of last week, Rafael Nadal, as a Coric loss the week after would’ve reflected quite poorly on him, no doubt*.

By now, you know all about the 17-year-old Croatian sensation, and I’m really only mentioning him so I can include this picture:

Hot Lava - The Lion Cub In A Tiger Suit

Hot Lava – The Lion Cub In A Tiger Suit

The US Open Boys champ finishes 2013 with five Futures titles and a decent 39/12 record on the pro tour.

Next up on our hit parade is Ricardo Urzua-Rivera, whose semi-final showing at the Chile F12 Futures finds the former ITF Junior Top Tenner at No. 414 in this week’s rankings.  The injury-plagued 24-year-old finishes a successful 66/25 year in which he played as many matches (91) as he had in the previous 2.5 seasons combined.

As a result, he’s up about 600 ranking rungs, after beginning the year outside the Top 1000.

His and Urz

His and Urz

And, since I’m completely uninspired, that’s gonna wrap up this year’s W.A.T.C.H. Lists. Next week/year will feature actual on-court achievements from this week’s/next year’s two Challenger events in Noumea and Sao Paulo. Or something. How exciting!

So be safe, everyone, and let’s do this again in 2014!

*can’t seem to find the sarcasm font here.

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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