Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wk.14- Viva la Revolucion

Hey, all. Galileo here.

Have you ever thought about the question of who the greatest ever world number two is? Well, it has to be Guillermo Vilas. He won two slams in 1977, at the French and U.S. Open. He won 8 of 12 slam semi-finals in total and split his eight finals. At one final he lost just three games. In 1977 he won titles on five different continents and took home 16 titles in all. Considering the tennis season is 40-42 weeks long, that’s a title every two and a half weeks. He went 60-42 in his finals overall and is beloved throughout South America. Canas and Coria were both named after him.

He also won the WTF finals, or the version they had of it back then. He is one of the greatest clay-courters ever, save only Borg, Nadal and Evert. And from him Argentinian tennis was born. He played a beautiful, fluid style of tennis that won many fans.

But when he retired there was a gap. A massive gap. The next South American slam winner was Gomez in 1990 and then Kuerten. But in the late 90’s, Puerta, Coria, Gaudio and Nalbandian began to rise. And by 2004 Argentina was a superpower though it somehow never won a Davis Cup. Chile has had its successes, but Argentina has pedigree. It fell as Nalbandian waned, but suddenly Del Potro arrived and won the U.S. Open in sensational style. And now it is rebuilding once more, though Delpo is an unknown quantity.

Of course, Spain is also falling to pieces. Nadal and Ferrer are going and suddenly we realize Spain does need its superstars. Where is Spain’s next slam winner going to come from? Will it go the way of Sweden? We shall soon see.

But what else happened this past week? Well let’s find out...

Top 32 - Klizan drops nine places to 37, meaning Fognini and Johnson both rise a place to 31 and 32 respectively. Karlovic, at 30, can get win number 300 this week.
Top 10 – No change. Goffin at 13. Gasquet at is still ahead of Raonic and Cilic. Tsonga and Ferrer both rise in the seedings in Monte Carlo due to Nishikori pulling out. The top ten will get all shook up in the coming weeks.
Top 8 – Little change. Ferru and Berdych are far behind Nishikori. Kei is going to catch Rafa at some point.
Top 4 – No change. Djokovic, Murray, Federer, Wawrinka. Federer will pass Murray this week or next. And if Murray fails to defend all those Madrid points he is in danger of falling to four.

S: Juan Monaco def. Jack Sock 3-6/6-3/7-5
D: Bryan/Bryan d. Estrella Burgos/S.Gonzalez

S: Federico Delbonis def. Borna Coric 6-2/6-4
D: Duran/M.Gonzalez d. Draganja/Qureshi

...It’s been coming. After wins against Murray and a run to the fourth round in Indian Wells followed by a win in Miami, he has finally won a title this year. Two quarters on the South American golden swing were a strong indicator he would win a title. He had not been to a final for some two years and his last title was 25 months ago, but he has finally claimed one this year. He has risen to 36, just two away from his highest ever ranking and he is almost certainly a lock to be seeded at the French. With all his finals coming on clay, he could be a dark horse in Paris. He made the third round in Melbourne with no seeding protection, so think what he could do if he had some. Seeded fourth, he started by eliminating De Bakker 6-4, 6-4 and then dismissing 7th seeded Carreno Busta 7-5, 6-2. Back from the dead Montanes never got into the semi-final, going down 6-4, 6-3. He capped it off with a 6-2, 6-4 master class against Coric. Every clay skill he has was on display here. This is another run for a player who is 8th on the win list and in the top 20 in the race. Look for another title before the French, possibly in Nice. He has been a finalist there before.
...The Argentinian theme continues with Monaco. He is up 62 places to 82 in the world. It is so rare for anyone to go up 20 places. Even more incredibly this is not after a slam, it is after a 250. He has a real shot at a seeding in Paris. He needs about 700 points to get one and with nothing to defend that is possible. A couple of decent runs in the next three Masters and a solid performance at a 500, with another 250 and he’s in there. It’s a lot, but when one is in form anything is possible. At the very least a seeding at the U.S. Open is definitely plausible. He escaped G. Melzer in the opening round 6-2, 6-7[3], 6-4. Then he knocked out second seed Paire 6-3, 7-5 though the Frenchman definitely aided and abetted his own downfall. After that he caught fire, knocking down Querrey 6-4, 6-4 and then dismantling Lopez 6-4, 6-2. Having knocked out the 2nd seed, 5th seed and 3rd seed back to back to back, he moved on to the final to face fourth seeded Sock. Both are former champions, but Pico came through against a tiring Sock 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Looks like the wrist surgery was succesful.
...Kicker is a young Argentinian who is finally starting to taste success. He beat Giovanni Lapentti, brother of the successful one, in three long sets to set up a clash with Donaldson. He edged the American 4-6, 6-1, 7-6[5] to make the main draw. He lost to Smyczek in three epic sets, but he did win his first ATP tour matches. He has won ten futures tournaments and all of them were on Argentinian clay. It is still a positive sign.

...The turning point in Almagro’s career was that loss to Ferrer in Melbourne after being two sets up. He just never recovered after that. Now he plays the role of an also-ran. He is not finished, per se, but he is certainly down on his luck right now. He has a run every now and then, and kudos to him for sticking it out, but where is he going? What are his goals? He just lost to Gasquet 4 and 0. Almagro needs to find something before the French Open starts.
...He should have lost in the second round but instead he rolled all the way to the semi-finals. Blowing Cervantes away 6-1, 6-3 is only mildly impressive. Nearly losing to qualifier Nikola Mektic is worse. He edged the Croat 6-7[4], 6-3, 7-6[5] but had to go out and face top seed Garcia-Lopez. He won 6-4, 7-6[2] in a result that makes no sense. It more than makes up for a tight straight sets loss to Coric in the next round. In fact Vesely is turning into a very dependable player. His ranking of 55 belies how good he really is.
...Being inconsistent in this sport is practically encouraged and most players have wasted their potential. The thing is some people are just better at it than others. And Paire is one of those players with immeasurable talent who can beat anyone. How can somebody with his weapons lose to Monaco in straight sets? With that serve and forehand he couldn’t even nick a set? He was seeded second in a winnable tournament and blew it. Again. It’s getting old quickly and Paire has to find form before his home slam. The pressure on him there will be immense.
...No form to speak of and nowhere near the talent level of Sousa. Neither of these things fazed the Argentinian as he dismissed second seed Sousa 6-2, 6-4 on his best surface. It was an embarrassing loss for the man on a comeback trail, especially considering the relative weakness of the event. The next round Bagnis won no sets, going out 6-1, 7-5 to Montanes. The win propelled Bagnis to 89, a career high. He is close to getting an automatic spot in the slams now.

Notes from the week...
1 We won’t see American soil for a long time now. The next time we do we will have an Olympic champion, I think. Well, I suppose there is that tournament in Newport, RI.
2 – Argentine tennis is back on the rise. With competent doubles pairings and a solid youth coming through, there is a positive future on its way. Monaco and Delpo are coming back, too. And now it is the clay swing so they will be out in full force. It may not be the glory days of the seventies or even the renaissance they had in the late 90’s through to 2006, but they are coming back.
3 – Fed Cup is definitely worth watching this weekend even if they refuse to fix the format. France and Switzerland are heavy favourites but our sport is infamous for its choke jobs.
4 – Federer is back.
5 – Since 1990 only once has a doubles pair swept the first three Masters. Could Herbert/Mahut change that? There is no doubt they are the best team in the world right now.
6 - Baghdatis beat Schwartzman 0 and 0. It is a rarity that happens.

1. Houston Final - Monaco d. Sock 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
...Monaco is on the comeback trail and, with no points to defend for a while, could be making a surge back into the top fifty. He had a great week in Houston, rolling to the final where he defeated the defending champion in three clinical sets. He was one of four Argentine champions this week, though two were doubles partners.
2. Marrakech 2nd Rd. - Garcia-Lopez d. Almagro 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
...GGL came back from a deep hole to defeat his compatriot in three engaging sets. Despite being outclassed during the first set he ground his way into it before handing Almagro another loss on the year. The Spaniard would crash out in the next round, however.
3. Houston SF - Sock d. Isner 7-6[4], 6-3
...With this calm dismissal of Isner, is Sock America’s finest? Form and ability to play in Europe would say so. It will be interesting to see when Sock officially takes over. Something tells this BACKSPINNER Isner will hold on this year, but next year will be a different story.
4. Marrakech SF - Coric d. Vesely 7-6[5], 7-6[5]
...This is the first meeting in what will be a gripping rivalry. It is good it started like this, and not with a bad match. Their stroke-work is extraordinarily smooth and the match was a delight. But Coric won in two hours as he made his second final on the year. It is unlikely to be his last.

Djokovic [1] d. [3] Federer
Nadal [5] d. [6] Berdych
Djokovic [1] d. Nadal [5]

...With Monfils and Goffin near him, Djokovic has a tough quarter. Federer’s biggest challenge will come from the winner of the Tsonga versus Gasquet clash. How will Nadal handle Thiem and Wawrinka back to back? Can Raonic cause a stir and disrupt the bottom quarter? I think Rafa rebounds on clay and Muzza sinks. Federer will take back the number two ranking here. But Djokovic can’t be beat right now. I just hope the final against Nadal isn’t too brutal.

No faulting Mladenovic here. She dismissed Maria 6-4, 6-3 and then faced tricky vet Lucic-Baroni. Losing to the Croat 15-13 in a third set breaker is respectable enough. In the doubles, she and Caroline Garcia were triumphant. They opened with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Stosur/Dellacqua and then defeated Vesnina/Kasatkina 2-6, 6-4, 10-8. Groenfield/Siegemund were beaten handily 4 and 3 to see them into the final. In the final they faced top seeded Safarova/Mattek-Sands and cruised to a 6-2, 7-5 victory. It was a consummate performance that capped off a brilliant week. It is her first title of the year. In doubles, Mladenovic is up to 9 from ten. She also goes from 29 to 28 in the singles. Her highest doubles rank is five while her singles ranking has never been above 27. Don’t be surprised if she cracks both this season. Next up is indoor red clay against the Netherlands in the Fed Cup semi. They are overwhelming favourites to win in a part of France nobody has ever heard of. It’s near Nantes in a place called Angers. It will be staged in a basketball arena.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

Read more!


Post a Comment

<< Home