Topic: Challenger Chat 2020

January 2020 Players of the Month

Jeffrey John Wolf, 21, #164, United States
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Started the year ranked nearly out of the Top 200, but that didn't stop him from winning his first tournament of the year, the Noumea Challenger.  He defeated Pablo Carreno Busta and Yuichi Sugita to take the trophy here.  He followed it up by playing well in AO Qualies, but faltered in QR2 after starting strong.  Could have been nerves, could have been injury.
Could he break the Top 100 this year?


Nadia Podoroska, 23, #173, Argentina
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You'd be hard pressed to find any woman who had a better January than Nadia Podoroska.  She played 14 matches in January and she won all 14.  She won two tournaments in a row (W25 Malibu, W25 Petit-Bourge) and made the SFs of WTA 125k Newport Beach.  She lost her SF match to eventual champ Madison Brengle... on February 1st, completing her Undefeated January.
She will definitely be one to keep an eye on in the coming year.



AO Junior Boys Champ: Harold Mayot, 18, #509, France
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Has one career Futures title (2019) and is 6-3 on the Challenger Tour this year.  Just took Gilles Simon to a 2nd set TB today.


AO Junior Girls Champ: Victoria Jiminez-Kasinteva, 14, Unranked, Andorra
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Yep, only 14 years of age and from a country nobody has heard of.  Twice she was just a point or two away from losing in the 3rd round here, making this run even more miraculous.  She's so young and so unknown, it's actually hard to find any history on her.  Could "VJK" be a set of initials we become very familiar with in a few years?

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Thanks Arvis. Very nice! Keep it going

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Thanks, Ol' Tenny.  I'm hoping to just highlight some standout players that we can keep an eye on as they slowly start to creep into our fantasy tennis world.  You could say I'm somewhat inspired by these young standout players we've seen this year.

One of the most common names from last year's Challenger Chat before it became too difficult for me to keep up with was Vitalia Diatchenko, and we're starting to see her in all these main draws now, and making some noise, too.

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Nice work there Arvis, always good to see these names and be like ahhh instead of who? wink

2018 - Princess Leia Champ
2017 - Rey Saber Champ, Padme Champ, Obi Wan R-Up, BIG 5 Career Slam, Yoda Crew Hall Of Fame 2016 - Padme Runner-Up
2015 - Obi Wan Master, King Droid, Yoda Crew POTY 2014 - Guru Race Runner-Up
2013 - Guru Race Winner (2014 Yoda Cup Guru), US Open Yoda Cup, Yoda Crew POTY 2012 - Lord Vader 2011 - Wimbledon Yoda Cup

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

February 2020 Players of the Month

Jurij Rodionov, 20, #168, Austria
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This kid went 15-2 across four tournaments in February, winning two of them and making the semis of another, losing only to Denis Istomin and January's PotM Jeffrey John Wolfe.  He previously had only one career title before this, a Challenger in 2018.  He's been a promising player from a very young age and jumped right into Challenger success without spending much time at all in Futures tourneys.  We could be looking at the next Austrian to make the ATP Top 50 in a couple years.

Special mention to Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech and French-American Maxime Cressy for making two Canadian finals against each other in a row and trading titles between them.



Eva Lys, 18, Unranked, Germany
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There were so many candidates for Women's February 2020 PotM here, but I felt I had to give it to this very beautiful child here, who has no tour ranking at all, entered a W25 in Altenkirchen as a Wild Card, and then won the whole tournament without dropping a set.  She defeated Bibiane Schoofs, a Top 200 player, 2 and 4 in the final.  She will absolutely be one to keep an eye on.

Special mentions to several other players here, please check out what they did this month:
- Shiho Akita (out of the Top 500, had to qualify for W25s, but 15-1 in Feb)
- Maddison Inglis (two titles, 10-1 record, also the only player to defeat Shiho Akita in Feb, see above)
- Clara Tauson (8-1 in tour tournaments, one title, and went 3-1 in Fed Cub matches for Denmark, including pushing Ons Jabeur to two 6-4 sets)
- Ankita Raina (10-1 record with two titles)


Updates on last month's Players:
Jeffrey John Wolfe continued his winning ways, going 8-2 in February with a title in Columbus, defeating Denis Istomin in the final.

Nadia Podoroska went 3-0 in Fed Cup matches, and even qualified for WTA Monterrey, where she lost in R1 to Lauren Davis.

Harold Mayot made the QFs of Pau Challenger, losing to Jiri Vesely in two TBs.

Victoria Jiminez-Kasinteva has not played since her AO Junior title.

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Looking forward to August players of the month!

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

August 2020 Players of the Month

Aslan Karatsev, 27, #116, Russia
https://www.tennis-tourtalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/6MS_7771.jpg
The guy gained 200 ranking points in August, winning a Challenger 125 and making the final of another.  His one loss in those two August tournaments?  A little-known Swiss player by the name of Stan Wawrinka.  His wins came against players like Haase, Vesely, and Herbert, and interestingly two wins against Gulbis (plus a 3rd at the start of September).
Karatsev has never been this close to the Top 100 in his career, and he looks to be determined to make it, continuing his winning ways in September with yet another Challenger title.  Could he be a September PotM, too?

Special Mention: Carlos Alcaraz, 17, #186, Spain.  A teenage Spanish player making some waves?  He won the Trieste Challenger 100 as a qualifier and has been getting good results on the clay in this bizarre year for tennis.  At 17, his results are showing real potential.


Clara Tauson, 17, #196, Denmark
https://jyllands-posten.dk/pictures/image/12362277/n3nxsd/ALTERNATES/f_a-s/koebenhavn-clara-tauson-lander-i-koebenhavns-lufthavn
This wee lass has been on my radar for about 2 years now, so some of you may recognize the name.  Although August only gave the women a handful of W15s (worth a whopping 10 WTA Ranking Points if you win them), young Clara here not only won one of them, she also made the QFs of Prague 125k, which earned her 57 more ranking points, helping her to make her WTA Top 200 debut!  She lost in 3 sets in that QF to Kucova, who would go on to win the tournament.  I said it two years ago and I'll say it again now: all of you will be very familiar with this kid sooner rather than later.

Special Mention: Zheng Qinwen, 17, #410, China.  A complete surprise hit in August, this kid entered the month with a pro record on clay of 2-4.  Her clay record in August was 7-1, with her first career pro title at a W15 in Cordenons.  That one loss she suffered?  A 3-setter to - you guessed it - Clara Tauson, one of only two players to take a set off her in that tournament.  One of her wins also came against an Italian journeywoman who is currently 10-0 in September.  Watch for Qinwen in September, as she has already won her 2nd career pro title in these past two weeks and currently has easily qualified for a W25.  Her ranking may soon be skyrocketing.


UPDATES

- Jurij Rodionov has been mostly bad since winning Feb 2020 PotM.  He came within a few points of winning a Davis Cup match for Austria, and he took a set off Thiem in an Austrian exhibition.  However, since the resumption of the pro tour in August, he's 2-4, all on clay.

- Eva Lys played a handful of exos in June and July with mixed results.

- JJ Wolf picked up where he left off in Feb, qualifying for Cincy and then making the most of his direct-entry into the US Open by making the 3rd round.  He's now at career-high rank #120.

- Nadia Podoroska struggled to break through on the Tour level in August, losing in the first round of Palermo and then failing to qualify for Prague.  However, she made the semis of Prague 125k, then in September won a W60 title.  She's now up to #130 and in real contention to be Sept PotM, which would make her the first two-time PotM.

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Awesome update Arvis!!
Thank you!!

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Thanks Arvis. Very nice as always!

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Thanks Arvis- glad you’re back!

2016:-Diamond Droid and Captain Plasma Helmet Champ.
2018:-Ruby Droid and Jar Jar Dartboard Champ.
2019:-Yoda Crew Most Improved Player. 

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Drivers wrote:

Thanks Arvis- glad you’re back!

You know the old saying: "Where's there's tennis, there's Arvis."*


*nobody has ever said this

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Good work Arvis! smile

2018 - Princess Leia Champ
2017 - Rey Saber Champ, Padme Champ, Obi Wan R-Up, BIG 5 Career Slam, Yoda Crew Hall Of Fame 2016 - Padme Runner-Up
2015 - Obi Wan Master, King Droid, Yoda Crew POTY 2014 - Guru Race Runner-Up
2013 - Guru Race Winner (2014 Yoda Cup Guru), US Open Yoda Cup, Yoda Crew POTY 2012 - Lord Vader 2011 - Wimbledon Yoda Cup

Re: Challenger Chat 2020

Clara Tauson, Nadia Podoroska, and Jurij Rodionov have all successfully qualified for the French Open.  Aslan Karatsev, Carlos Alcaraz, and JJ Wolf all lost in qualies.