Tag Archive: Victor Crivoi


On a gorgeous, 70 degree day with just the hint of a cooling breeze, the prospect of a final between one of tennis’s most touted up-and-comers and a wily, former Top 100 veteran promised much. And, for two-thirds of it anyway, 19-year-old Kyle Edmund and 31-year-old Victor Crivoi delivered on that promise.

The two had met almost exactly one year ago, with the pair splitting two tight sets before the elder Romanian cruised to victory in a lopsided final frame. So the question was: how much difference would a year make, with the younger Brit having risen about 200 spots in the rankings in that time? The answer, surprisingly, turned out to be: not much.

From an Edmundian perspective, the match unfolded in opposite fashion from his semifinal win against Isak Arvidsson — rather than having to work his fearsome forehand into a good groove, he started out firing on target early and often. And then it started going awry.

But at the outset, the Brit’s favorite shot was working well, and he claimed the first break of the match with an off forehand winner that was anything but off, eliciting a gasp from one of the patrons as he secured a *2-0 first set lead.

Orange Crush - An Edmundian Forehand Blast

Orange Crush – An Edmundian Forehand Blast

But he wasn’t done there. After saving a break point by forcing a Crivoi forehand error, the hulking English teen grabbed game point with an inside-in blast that caused a young father standing courtside to issue forth an impromptu, under-breath review: “wow!”

Wow indeed. He held for 3-0*. (Kyle, not the father.)

The fourth game featured a bit of a mild controversy, as the 31-year-old veteran pulled a 0-15 backhand crosscourt wide, only to walk up the sideline and point to a mark from Edmund’s previous shot that he claimed was wide.

After examining the mark, the chair umpire reversed his original call, giving the point to Crivoi instead. Kyle rightly pointed out that Crivoi had played on and hadn’t stopped the point to challenge where his opponent’s ball had landed. Nevertheless, the point was deemed in the Romanian’s favor, and he held to 30 to join Edmund on the scoreboard.

The next two games just seemed like the 6’4” Beverley boy was showing off; two aces and two forehand winners to hold for 4-1*, then another three forehand finishings to break for *5-1. This had all the makings of a rout, and Edmund had 10 outright forehand winners in the first five games in addition to the assorted times he’d forced his foe into errors from that wing.

But the top-seeded Crivoi, currently ranked #232 but with a career high of #75 in 2009, was not to be finished off so easily. A wily tactician, he began exploiting Kyle’s ad-court shading by deliberately playing backhands down-the-line into Edmund’s forehand corner, catching him out and stretching him wide, forcing errors. Two such rallies, as well as two forehand miscues from the Brit, contributed to Crivoi getting one of the breaks back.

With Edmund’s initially reliable forehand leaking errors, and Victor’s variance of the rally patterns (including a few drop shots creeping into the mix), the 31-year-old chiseled his way back to level in the 1st set at 5-all. Serves were held, and a tiebreak undertaken.

In the buster, the Brit ceded a mini-break with a netted backhand volley (a shot that plagued him the few times he attempted it), and went down 0-2*, only to reel off the final seven points for a — any guesses? That’s right! — 7-2 TB win. The last three points went: Edmund down-the-line forehand winner, Edmund service winner, Edmund forehand crosscourt winner. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

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It’s finals day at the USA F3 Futures in Weston, FL, where top-seeded Romanian Victor Crivoi is set to meet fourth-seeded British upstart, Kyle Edmund. 

Edmund comes in riding a nine match win streak, having taken the title at last weeks USA F2 event in Sunrise. The 31-year-old Crivoi has had almost as good a start to his year, posting a 7/1 record thus far for 2014, his only loss coming to another teenage up-and-comer, 18-year-old Yoshihito Nishioka from Japan.

The two have a history, with Crivoi coming through a 6-3 6-7(4) 6-1 encounter at last year’s USA F1 tournament in Plantation, Florida.

Both players downplayed the importance of last year’s meeting, however. “I can’t remember too much of the match,” the 19-year-old Edmund said, “But I don’t think it’s going to count for too much because it’s a year on, and a different venue.”

Crivoi added, “Yeah, we played last year. I won, but he was young. He improved a lot.”

Both players overcame scratchy patches in their semifinal matches yesterday, but they each finished strong. It’ll be interesting to see what difference, if any, is made one year on.

“He obviously came through a tough one [in his semifinal],” Edmund said, “which shows he’s playing some good tennis under pressure. So yeah it’ll be a good match. But I’m playing well, and hopefully I can go out there and try my best. That’s all I can do.”

“He won last week,” Crivoi countered, “so he’s in good shape.”

After a two-week hiatus during which my own body let me down, I decided to drive down to Weston, FL to see what all the healthy people were up to. Some of them, it turns out, were at the Midtown Athletic Club contesting the semifinals of the most prestigious* of the first four stops on the USTA Pro Circuit Futures tour.

The first guys to be thrown into able-bodied court combat were the top seed, 31-year-old Romanian Victor Crivoi, against his decade-younger opponent, the third-seeded Belgian Arthur De Greef. This would be a rematch of their only previous meeting, another semifinal encounter on these very courts last year, when Crivoi was the one on getting the grief, receiving a 2 & 1 thrashing at the hands of the youngster.

Crivoi, currently ranked at #232 but with a career high of #75 in 2009, entered the match with a 6 win, 1 loss record — that loss attributable to Yoshihito Nishioka — while this is the first tournament of the year for de Greef, the 21-year-old former Top 20 junior and Orange Bowl finalist.

There was not much to distinguish the two from the outset, scorewise — both guys saved a couple of break points early, and serves were held through the first seven games. Gamewise, De Greef flights the ball with more height over the net than Crivoi and an almost Nadal-like amount of topspin off his forehand side, while Crivoi’s shots penetrate a bit more zippily and the Romanian looks for opportunities to come forward often. And while the Belgian can smack his first serve a fair bit, it hardly ever seemed to trouble his veteran opponent, who put a lot of returns into play.

De Greef apparently thought the eighth game was as good a time as any to break himself, so he set about accomplishing the task with two backhand unforced errors sandwiching a forehand miscue from 15-all.

Arthur De Greef Sets Up For a Forehand

Where’s De Greef? Here He Is, About To Connect on a Forehand

 Crivoi subsequently served out the set.

Put A Torque In It: Crivoi in the Midst of his Famous Two-Step Serve

Put A Torque In It: Crivoi in the Midst of his Famous Two-Step Serve

The second set unfolded much as the first did, with both men saving a break point in the early stages, until the sixth game, when Crivoi lost control of his forehand to the tune of some shanking and smothering. De Greef hit a terrific inside-in forehand winner to set up three break points, but only needed the one, and the Belgian went on to take the second frame 6-3.

The third set was also decided by a single break, this one secured by Crivoi in the sixth game when his Belgian foe started forehanding a little too lengthily, yielding two break points. Crivoi cashed in the first with one of his many forecourt junkets, forcing his Belgian foe to miss his forehand pass attempt just wide.

Though he’s far from being a seeming relative of Oscar De Grouch, De Greef is quite a chattery fellow who’s prone to some bouts of self-berating shouts. To be fair though, both guys had their share of extended, impassioned soliloquies on this day as they battled on the Weston clay. But it would be Crivoi’s day in the end, fittingly closing out the match with an overhead for a 6-3 3-6 6-3 win.

I asked Victor why he seemed so hellbent on getting to net and he said, “I’m doing this with such players because it’s my only chance and the key to results. I have to save some energy because I had a tough week. I didn’t play good. This is the first day I could feel the ball. I tried to do my best because normally I got cramps in the end of the set so my only chance was to be very aggressive. I lost to [De Greef] last year 1 & 2 in the semifinal and I tried to make my revenge.”

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Yup.  It’s officially that time of year again.  More specifically, it’s time to start breaking down those qualifying draws and seeing which Challenger Tour players can bust into the main draws this week.  Just to make it clear from the outset: as this is a Challenger Tour site, we’ll be covering top-tier ATP events only to the extent that they involve players ranked outside the Top 90.  Note: this number, while a darn good number, is also just a bit arbitrary and is subject to change at the whims of any of the writers here.  But it’s a good general rule of thumb for ATP tourneys, in any case.

ON TO THE DRAW!  You can click and get an official .pdf with lines and whizbangs and suchlike here or you can just look at a typed out version after this here colon:

[1] MANNARINO, Adrian FRA vs BALL, Carsten AUS
POLANSKY, Peter CAN vs [WC] MITCHELL, Benjamin AUS
SERGEYEV, Ivan UKR vs ITO, Tatsuma JPN
CABAL, Juan Sebastian COL vs [5] KOUBEK, Stefan AUT
[2] BERANKIS, Richard LTU
vs LISNARD, Jean-Rene MON
KLEIN, Brydan AUS vs CRUGNOLA, Marco ITA
[WC] DUCKWORTH, James AUS vs TURSUNOV, Dmitry RUS
PEYA, Alexander AUT vs [6] LUCZAK, Peter AUS
[3] RUSSELL, Michael USA
vs HARRISON, Ryan USA
FARAH, Robert COL vs BACHINGER, Matthias GER
KINDLMANN, Dieter GER vs ZOPP, Jurgen EST
REYNOLDS, Bobby USA vs [7] KOROLEV, Evgeny KAZ
[4] GREUL, Simon GER
vs [WC] JONES, Greg AUS
KNITTEL, Bastian GER vs LOJDA, Dusan CZE
EBDEN, Matthew AUS vs CRIVOI, Victor ROU
[WC] GROTH, Samuel AUS vs [8] ZEMLJA, Grega SLO

  
Mmmmmm.  Tennis draws.  My true and delicious love.  Let me savour this one for a moment, eh? *drools Homer Simpson-style while looking it over*
 
Well, the first thing I notice is that the Aussies got shafted, for the most part.  Now, I realize that any time you have eight Australians in a 32-person draw, perfect distribution is just not a possibility.  However, to have a draw in which there’s an entire Oz-free quarter (i.e. the Russell-Korolev 3rd quarter) and another two quarters that have three Down Under dudes, well… this is less than ideal. 
 
 
From left: Matty Ebden, Greg Jones, Carsten Ball, Fitness Dude, Marinko Matosevic, Peter Luczak
 
Especially egregious is the 4th quarter, which crams legitimate Australian hopes Greg Jones, Matt Ebden and the newly-mohawked Sam Groth into the same pack.  Grrrrrr.
 
 
The infamous, the rarely-photographed Grothawk
 
The next thing I look for is: where are Dmitry Tursunov and Ryan Harrison placed, who are clearly the most dangerous floaters in this draw.  As you can see (do follow along with me, won’t you?), it is Harrison who probably got the more fortuitous placement (for him) – away from top seeds Adrian Mannarino and Ricardas Berankis, who – in my opinion – are the only players who can beat him more often than not.  Thus, I can see the 18 year-old American coming good in this section.  Tursunov, however, has a much rougher road.  After a reasonably solid but should-be manageable opponent in the scrappy WC James Duckworth, Tursunov faces the prospect of a rejuvenated Peter Luczak – who gave Marinko Matosevic all he could handle in the final of the recent AO Wildcard playoff – followed by the lights-out Lithuanean Berankis.  And, as we all know, Rycka has rocketed into the Top 100 and won a whole host of Newcomer and Breakthrough awards at the end of last season.  A tough ask for Tursunov to get through, but not entirely beyond the former Top 20 player by any means.
 
OK, so that’s the overall view. Now let’s take out the fine-toothed draw comb and do a more in-depth, line-by-line audit, breaking down the first round matchups. 
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