Tag Archive: Thomas Schoorel


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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Australian Open Men’s Qualifying Preview!

I’m not sure if you know this, so let me tell you: Grand Slam draws are like crack to fans of the Challenger circuit. They’re like the ultimate Challenger event: a tourney featuring players ranked between 100 and 300, and nearly everyone plays. Granted, there are only three rounds instead of five, and it’s kinda like the tourney gets canceled halfway through, but my point stands: pretty much every challenger-level player of interest is here, gunning for a place in a grand slam main draw. What’s not to like?

And after a few glitches and false starts, the Australian Open men’s qualifying draw has finally been unlocked and unleashed upon unsuspecting (or, in my case, very suspecting) cybercitizens. And in my tried and true OCD-tinged maniacal fashion, I am here to break it all down for you. No info-nugget will remain unearthed, no useless factoid shall remain buried, no know-balls will remain unlobbed. (Huh? Well, you get the idea.)

Let’s dig in!

First Quadrant

Top Quarter:

Much as I want to be impressed by Blaz Kavcic’s Chennai Open showing (he beat Jeremy Chardy and destroyed Robert Kendrick before falling 3&3 in the quarters to Berdych), I’m gonna be silly right from the get go and say there are no obvious favorites in this segment. A line-by-line breakdown:

[1] Blaz Kavcic SLO (World Ranking #100) v [W] Benjamin Mitchell AUS (#610): a tough draw for the likeable 18-year-old Queenslander, but not a completely impossible task for the lad who made the final in Bendigo and took Brisbane International quarterfinalist Matt Ebden to two tough TB sets at the Tennis Australia AO Wildcard Playoffs (having a lead in both sets). I’ve seen both play their fair share of matches, and to my mind they’re similar in game, style, speed, grit and even countenance. Blaz just does everything a bit better than Ben does. Odds are extremely good Blaz beats Ben in straights. But I expect Mitchell to give a good account of himself, I really do.

Rik de Voest RSA (#179) v Laurent Recouderc FRA (#204): Recouderc won their only match 6-4 6-4 two years ago on hard courts in Dubai. The big South African, however, has had better recent results, reaching the semis of the Charlottesville Challenger and the quarters in Knoxville at the end of last year. So on recent form as well as ranking, I’ll buck the two-year-old head-to-head data and pick Rik. Kavcic has never played de Voest, but he manhandled Recouderc 2&0 last June on clay, if you want to hedge yer bets.

Greg Jones AUS (#254) v Olivier Patience FRA (#196): The two have never met before, but Greg’s gonna win this one. Based on absolutely no data at all. Just trust me on this one. I’m tired.

Guillermo Alcaide SPA (#216) v [25] Ilija Bozoljac SRB (#152): Bozoljac beat Alcaide pretty comprehensively 6-3 6-2 in a recent meeting at the US Open qualifying tournament. And even though the Spaniard has played more matches recently (and gave Tsung-Hua Hang a pretty good fight in the Brazil F1 QF’s), I’d expect Bozo to make it through to face Greg in the next round. Those two have never met neither.

Who makes it through: De Voest beats Bozoljac (what? He’s won the only two matches they’ve played!)

Second quarter: this is where Simone Bolelli tries not to screw things up, as is his wont. He faces some fairly formidable competition along the way, but they’re all people he should honestly beat. Will he? Probably not. Let’s have a closer look:

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Which, if true, is pretty damn convenient, since I’m not feeling well and don’t feel like typing that many.  Anyway, behold the magnificent disaster that is the [Q] Ricardas Berankis vs. [7] Florian Mayer scoring history:

Notice all those red BP’s? Those are all converted break points – 13 in all!  Honestly, I think the whole match could have gone Ric(h)ard(as)’s way had he just been able to save that pivotal 22nd break point, haha. 

Anyway, so ends Berankis’ 9 match winning streak, which dated back to his Helsinki Challenger win at the end of last year.  What a wild ride vs. FloMax: down an early break, then breaks back in what becomes four consecutive breaks. Then down a set and break, wins 5 of next 6 games to take second set and then is up a break himself in the third before losing.  (I don’t know why I’m describing this all to you, when you can just refer to the damn picture – sheesh.)

Suffice it to say: them be two broken men.  But one of them much moreso. 

So that’s another young gun gone, the last of his ilk in the ‘bane.  And Thomas Schoorel lost brilliantly to some idiot trick shot artist from Switzerland.  Evs.  Which leaves David Goffin as the sole remaining Challenger challenger, challenging the main draw in Doha (having administered a comprehensive beating to Somdev Devvarman). Goffin will now try and lay into the “no time for a wife and kid, gotta focus on my tennis, so see ya!” stylings of third seeded Stan “The Running Man” Wawrinka. 

All of which was more than I ever intended to write.  Good night!

Young Guns Taking Shots At ATP Early

We’re only four days into the 2011 tennis season, and already some of the players who’ve spent most of their young pro careers at the Challenger level are making a bit of noise at this week’s ATP 250 events.  Here are the notable performances so far:

At the Brisbane International, unseeded 18 year-old Ryan Harrison made it through the qualifying tournament, taking out the hobbled third-seed Michael Russell before posting wins over solid Challenger players Matthias Bachinger and Jurgen Zopp to qualify.  Unfortunately for Ryan, he drew top seed Robin Soderling in the main draw, and went down to the fifth ranked player in the world 2-6 4-6 in a fairly respectable effort.

20 year-old Richie Berankis, last seen winning the Helsinki Challenger in a win that propelled him into the Top 100, has done Harrison one better: so far he’s not only qualified (including a tough three-set win against Peter Luczak in which the 5′ 9” Lithuanian served 23 aces against only 2 double faults) but then defeated former Top 25 player (and current #78) Arnaud Clement in straight sets.

 

Ricardas “Richard” Berankis and coach Remigijus “Regis” Balzekas after the Clement match

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Brazil F38 Futures Update!

The words “travel” and “travail” are formed from the same root because, back when their etymology was fresh, it was once a horrific pain in the ass to travel anywhere of length (traveling of width wasn’t nearly as difficult). Now it’s just a mild pain in the ass, comparatively. But back before technology had somewhat tamed our poor, defenseless planet, before one could jet or ride somewhere, way back when/then… only soldiers or slaves usually deigned to travel any distance, because you might get killed by Nature or Huns or something equally as terrifying as Nature and Huns (though that is hard to fathom, I know).

All of which leads me to this trivia question for you (answer at bottom of this article):

Q: How many non-Brazilians made it into the 2nd Round of the Brazil F38 Futures event in Sorocaba? Did you get it right? (Note: only the answer “Brazilch” is correct. Answers like “zero” or “none” will not be accepted.) Regardless, the point of this whole pointless exercise is that no travelers made it out the first round in Sorocaba alive. Granted, this stat is less impressive when one learns that only three foreigners made the trip in the first place, but still: now only homegrown homeboys (and homemen) are left; to the Brazilians go the spoils!

So, what’s happening among the about-to-be-spoiled Brazilians, you ask? Fantastic question! Really, no, it is. You should be quite pleased with yourself. That’s what this whole article is for – to answer that fantastic question of yours. Do read on.

Well, to start with, 7th seed Danilo Ferraz is seeing dimishing returns in his tennistical journey of late, posting consecutive SF, SF, QF, and R1 showings in Futures 34, 36, 37 and 38. He lost to Charles Costa (no relation) (to anyone) in the first round. And third-seeded Rodrigo Guidolin was the only other seed to not make the quarterfinals. He lost to a person who had never posted an ITF-recorded win at any level (juniors or pros) before, Luiz-Guilherme Deneka (who promptly lost in the next round, of course). Way to go, Rodrigo! It says in his bio that he enjoys going to the cinema, so at least he’s got more time to do that now.

In the quarters, 6th seed Thales Turini continued his Streak of Recent Relative Hotness, defeating top-seed Daniel Silva 6-2 6-2 and extending his record to 12/3 in his previous 15 matches. He’ll meet Deneka-defeater Ricardo Siggia, the 8th seed, in the semis. But all of that is academic, because I think the winner of this tournament will emerge from the other QF, which is a rematch of last week’s final. That’s right: it’s Leonardo Kirche vs. Fernando Romboli, The Revenge!

Pictured: Andre Miele and Fernando Romboli, who apparently won something once

If you’ll recall (and you probably won’t, because I didn’t write about it), the 21-year-old Romboli had gone into last week’s final with an 0-3 head-to-head record against the 25-year-old Kirche, only to make like Donner and blitz him 6-1 6-0 in the final. I’ll be interested to see whether that result was an anomaly, or if the former #3 world junior – who had wins over people like Roberto Bautista-Agut, Thomas Schoorel, Benoit Paire and Grigor Dimitrov – has finally turned a corner against his older foe.  Can Romboli finish off his 48 win, 19 loss season (so far) with a 2nd consecutive tournament victory and reach the 50-win plateau? Watch this space for more. Or, alternatively, go and enjoy your holiday. I’ll probably be here when you get back.

A: Brazilch

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