SWEET!  Thanks guys, and good job Spotec and Murree!

Too bad the rest of my bracket is so stupid.

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(22 replies, posted in French Open)

They must.  Surprisingly savvy of Tennis Channel, actually.  And they even made good picks. tongue

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(22 replies, posted in French Open)

I hope they make it available to everyone to play along.  You gotta think that that is what they're looking to do.

4

(79 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

LOL, "Fertile Bathroom" is an old in-joke amongst the Yoda Crew. tongue

I can't update this thread like I have been, but here are some cool stories:

Abigail TERE-APISAH, who won a W25 in Singapore a couple weeks ago and who represents Papua New Guinea.

Also, Marcela Zacarias is up to 4 Cancun W15 titles in a row now.

Marina Yudanov played some pro tennis between the ages of 15-17, then quit and went to school for engineering, where she worked professionally for years.
Then at 27 years of age she quit engineering to go back to tennis, which was her dream!  She now has two pro titles!

Great job, Drivers!

Yoda Crew represent!

Ow, my neck... lol

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(22 replies, posted in French Open)

Thanks, guys!

Hey look, Kontaveit tanked horribly. I knew when I picked her that she can't be trusted at all.  She's proven that time and again.  Her draw was just so easy I thought it was more likely that even she couldn't screw it up.  But once again she proves there is no tennis match that she is incapable of losing.

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(22 replies, posted in French Open)

I'm definitely nervous about Tsitsipas, being one of the only ones who doesn't have him.  He's capable of making the semis here.  Better, even?  Not likely, but possible.

I do think Feddy is a solid pick and can be relied on to make the 2nd week.  The 7 who didn't take him have plenty to lose and not much to gain.  We'll see how that one shakes out.

5 with Delpo, kinda thought there would be more, but he's more of a question mark this year than he usually is.  I do think he's ready to crush some tennis balls, though.

Zverev is having a bad year and he's always been bad in Slams.  Yet, 3 still took him.  What a coup that would be for them if it lands.  However, even at his best he'd have to overcome Novak to make it worth a Top 16 pick, imo.  Not likely.

I thought SOMEBODY besides Johnny would pick Fognini, but nope.

Wawa WAY more popular than I thought. Over half of us have him.

Props to Aiur for having the guts to pick Pouille. His section is possibly the softest in the whole draw, so whoever comes through there will be a surprise no matter who it is.

The fact that 7 have Cuevas blows my mind.  He is AWFUL at Roland Garros, historically, and super inconsistent this year.  That Estoril final was a fluke.  That said, they still have to play the matches and anything can happen on any given day, as they say.

I really don't like my Paire pick, since there's every chance he'll have a letdown from his Lyon victory. But his draw was too tempting and you just never know if he'll stay motivated and dangerous or not.

I love Edu's Tsonga pick and Drivers' Fritz pick.  I was looking at both of them before settling on Paire.  I also rather like Johnny's Barrere pick, I think it's quite clever.

I totally love and respect OZ for at least putting Feddy in the final along with Rafa.  Might be our last chance to support Feddy on a French Open Yoda team.  I picked Feddy to win in my bracket, since I'm not really competing for anything in that competition.  But here, i don't want to lose yet another YC because of something stupid, like not picking Rafa to win Roland Garros. lol

Arvis most certainly DID NOT go 5-0-3 on his men's team.

I wonder why Aiur left Halep off his team.  Aiur, can you weigh in, perhaps?

Even though she won Rome, I kinda avoided Karolina because of her inconsistency at Slams.  She's having MAYBE the best year on the tour, though, so it was quite a risk to leave her off.  I think the 12 that took her made the smart move, odds-wise.

In an amazing illustration of why tennis is impossible to predict: the 12 who took Petra, who's having probably the 2nd best year on tour, get 0 points, while the 8 nutjobs who took Sloane are sitting pretty.

I'm surprised Barty is such a popular pick.  She's playing her best ever tennis, but it's still clay.  She certainly COULD make the second week, but she's gonna run into Serena, probably.  And I honestly think Collins could beat her in R2.  That's just too much risk for a Top 16 player, imo.

I understand why most of the Crew avoided Osaka, but I like her draw and I think she's sufficiently motivated.  After the USO, she was super motivated to prove herself in Australia, and turned it into a Slam win.  Knowing she's not comfortably on clay will motivate her to prove herself yet again.
That said, the 4 that took Sakkari have everyone reason to be comfortable with their chances there.

Adunar and Tenedab took a shot on Keys.  I love that pick.  She could win the whole dang tournament, imo.

As inconsistent as Mugu has been this year, that draw was just too tempting.  Half of us have her.  However, Svitolina looked dangerous against Venus, she was really crushing it out there.  Could Mugu really handle her for BPs?  I'm not so sure now.

Kontaveit's draw is absolute cake, even more so with Petra out.  Doesn't mean she won't tank horribly, but I love her chances to for BPs and even more.

There are so many interesting mid-tier and unseeded picks on the women's side, it's hard to single a few out.  But I find it hilarious that 14 of us have Vondrousova.  I knew she was a solid pick that would be popular, but to be the 3rd-most-picked woman in the entire draw?  When she's unseeded?  Wow.

I thought that perhaps Mladenovic was an idiotic pick and I was just fooling myself, but I have three others who picked her along with me, making her the 2nd most popular female unseeded.  So I feel better about it, plus she didn't give me a -16, which is sometimes all you can ask of your unseeded.

Tono picked Sloane Stephens to win Roland Garros.  Hmm.  Hmmmmmmmm.  Sloane Stephens.  Hmmm.  Care to weigh in, Tono?

The Perfect Bracket will never happen, I'm convinced tongue

Thank you, Tono!  Lyon was a fun ride, for sure. lol

11

(79 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Week 19

Men's

Aix-en-Provence, France (125)
Not long ago, Pablo Cuevas (33, #49, Uruguay) lost in qualies of Estoril 250 to Salvatore Caruso.  However, he was given a lifeline in that tournament as a Lucky Loser.  His first order of business was to utterly annihilate Salvatore Caruso in R1.  From there, Cuevas lost in the Final to Tsitsipas, then followed that up by winning this Challenger.  He is having quite a season on the dirt.
He defeated Quentin Halys (22, #154, France) in the final in 3 sets.  Halys was unseeded, but kind of "took over" the #2 seed after defeating Jiri Vesely in R2.

Busan, South Korea (125)
Another hard court Challenger, another title for Ricardas Berankis (28, #70, Lithuania).  He's now tied with Sascha Bublik for Most Challenger Titles this year.  Berankis is wisely avoiding clay, a surface he's never been very good on.  Will he skip the French, despite his current ranking?
Like in Aix-en-Provence, Berankis was #1 seed here and defeated an unseeded opponent in the final, one Andrew Harris (25, #223, Australia).  Harris was mentioned previously when he made the finals of Chennai.  He's been having a good year and is up to 21-9 on hard courts in 2019.

Rome, Italy (90)
No, not THAT Rome, the Rome Challenger.  This one was won by #4 seed Henri Laaksonen (27, #105, Switzerland), who upset the Italian crowd by defeating #2 seed Paolo Lorenzi in the SFs and narrowly squeaking past #17 Gian-Marco Moroni (21, #216, Italy) in the final.  "The Great Laak" is 11-3 on clay this year and has two 2019 Challenger titles to boot.  What can we expect from him in Paris?  Anything?

Braga, Portugal (80)
Boy, this Joao Domingues (25, #163, Portugal) has quietly had an amazing couple of months.  Runner-up in Tunis 80, QFs of Estoril 250, and now his second career Challenger title here at home in Portugal.  This has gotten him up to 17-8 on clay, much improved from his under .500 effort in 2018.  He was #13 seed here and defeated #2 seed Fertile Bathroom (29, #144, Argentina) in the final in 3 sets.

Shymkent, Kazakhstan (80)
And it's two titles in a row for Andrej Martin (29, #166, Slovakia)!  After winning Nanchang 80 two weeks ago, he's now won this title as well, his winning streak now up to 11 matches!  Amazing!  He even defeated #1 seed Egor Gerasimov here in the SFs quite easily.  However, Andrej isn't the whole story by himself.  The runner up here was a total shocker: Dmitry Popko (22, #359, Kazakhstan).  Young and a favorite of the home crowd, Popko has won SEVEN (!) Futures tournaments on clay so far this year for an absurd clay record of 50-7 for 2019.  The Shymkent organizers wisely gave him a WC here and he did not disappoint, defeating the #3, #5, and #15 seeds and even taking the 1st set off #4 seed Andrej Martin in the final before finally succumbing!  I think Popko should have no trouble staying above Futures level going forward.

---

Women's

Bonita Springs, Florida, USA (100)
A couple weeks ago, Lauren Davis (25, #112, USA) was a mere point away from winning Dothan W80, but she couldn't close it out.  This week, she gets redemption.  And what sweet redemption it is, winning an even higher-value tournament!  Davis was #4 seed here and never even had to play a seeded player.  However, her opponent in the final was a very talented and promising one who I think is proving that she has an extremely bright future: Ann Li (18, #167, USA)!  My second-favorite young Asian American tennis player, Li lost to Davis 5 and 5 in the final, but she continues to show great promise on clay, having now gone 10-2 on the surface over her last 3 tournaments.  Remember, she had an 11-10 pro record on the surface before this year.
Elsewhere, my FIRST-favorite young Asian American tennis player, Claire Liu, was truly busting her slump and annihilating Whitney Osuigwe in R2, only to injure herself and retire from the match.  A bad year gets worse for her, and for me as well.  I really hope she's ok.

Cagnes-sur-Mer, France (80)
Top seed here was Vitalia Diatchenko, who has won a staggering FIVE titles this year and was on a mindblowing 15 match win streak coming into this tournament.  We can assume she made the transition to clay perfectly and won the title and.......... nope, she lost in the first dang round in straights.  Curious.
But her loss was Christina McHale's (27, #119, USA) gain, as she takes the title without dropping a set!  It's McHale's first title of any kind since 2016 and despite her not dropping a set, it did NOT come easy.  She had to beat the likes of Bernarda Pera, Timea Bacszinszky, and finally Stefanie Voegele in the final in order to take this title.  A truly impressive run of matches for Christina.  This is actually her biggest career ITF title.

Luan, China (60)
Han Xinyun (28, #182, China) could scarcely BUY a win in 2019 before this tournament.  She was 4-10 on the year and had lost 6 of her last 8 matches.  And then she decides she's just going to win this W60 title, even defeating #1 seed Zhu Lin along the way.
Han has been ranked as high as #105 in the world and has several career ITF titles, but only one is bigger than this title.  Could this be a good turning point for her in 2019?  Let's see how she does in Strasbourg qualies, starting tomorrow.

Fukuoka, Japan (60)
Major kudos to our seeded women here, as the SFs were contested between the #1, #2, #4, and #6 seeds, with #1 Zarina Diyas and #2 Heather Watson playing each other in the final.  After two TB sets, it was Watson (26, #110, Britain) who took the title, getting her first tournament win at any level since she won Monterrey 280 back in 2016.  Watson came into this tournament on an 8 match losing streak and was 2-9 on the year.  This is a good week for busting slumps. 
Diyas, for her part, did a great job keeping up her winning form from her Gifu W80 title last week, but just didn't have enough left in the tank to win two titles back to back.  She's ranked #90 now.

Rome, Italy (25)
Daniela Seguel (26, #330, Chile) continues to really enjoy the clay this year.  She made the finals of Tunis W25, and now she takes the title here in Rome!  That's good for 12-2 in her last 14 matches.  She even defeated on-fire #1 seed Elena Rybakina in R2 here.  Runner-up here was Gabriella Ce (26, #385, Brazil), making this her 2nd runner-up appearance in as many weeks.

Obidos 3, Portugal (25)
#3 seed Pemra Ozgen (33, #252, Turkey) defeated #1 seed Valentini Grammatikopoulou in SFs, and then #4 Urszula Radwanska (28, #300, Poland) retired with injury in the final.  This makes Ozgen's first title of 2019 ad her 4th at the W25 level, the highest level she has achieved.

Monzon, Spain (25)
I can only assume that the tournament organizers here forgot they were in Spain and accidentally organized an illegal hard court tournament.  Either way, it worked out well for #4 seed Nadia Podoroska (22, #270, Argentina), who won the title, defeating home-favorite #5 seed Cristina Busca (21, #258, Spain) in the final in 3 sets.  Podoroska was once nearly a Top 150 player.  Her hard court record this year is 15-7, which is decent but not great.

W15 Champs for Week 19
- Natasha Subhash (17, #788, USA), 1st career title, 10-3 on the year
- Johana Markova (20, #616, Czech), 1st career title, recently played her first ever Tour level qualies in Prague 280, getting utterly crushed in QR1 by Jasmine Paolini.
- Draginja Vukovic (19, #818, Serbia), 3rd career title, had a dismal 5-7 2019 record before winning this week.
- Aneta Laboutkova (19, #???, Czech), 1st career title, was 3-6 on the year before this. Won the final from 2-6, 6-6 down.
- Eva "Eddie" Vedder (19, #???, Netherlands), 1st career title
- Eleonora Molinaro (18, #480, Luxembourg), 2nd title this year, 4th all time, now 20-4 on clay this year.

---

Where Are Last Week's Champs Now?
- Sebastian Ofner lost his first match in Heilbronn 2 Challenger.
- Lucas Pouille lost in R2 of Madrid Masters and R1 of Rome Masters.
- Kwon Soon-woo was upset in his first match in Busan, but is currently into the SFs of Gwangju.
- Kamil Majchrzak lost in QFs of Rome 2.
- Taylor Townsend lost in QFs of Bonita Springs W100 to Whitney Osuigwe, the same player who beat her in her last loss before this one.
- Zarina Diyas lost in the finals of Fukuoka W60 (see above).
- Katy Dunne retired with injury in R1 of Fukuoka W60.
- Mirjam Bjorklund lost in R2 of Rome W25, then R1 of La Bisbal W60 after successfully qualifying for the main draw there.
- Sofya Lansere lost in QR2 of Saint-Gaudens W60.
- Valeria Savinykh lost in QFs of Luan W60 to eventual champ Han Xinyun (see above) and is currently into the SFs of Singapore W25.
- Indy de Vroome withdrew from a W15 before her SF match with Eva Vedder (see above).
- Estelle Cascino lost in QR1 of Cagnes-sur-Mer W80, then retired with injury in QR1 of Saint-Gaudens W60.

Tenedab's right.  If the rest of us weren't here, who would he have to defeat, crush, and humiliate?  It's nice for Ol' Tenny to remind us how important we are to him.  <3

ROFL! lol

Yes, those reports might be exaggerated a little, they were more like shirtless cartwheels, really.  But thanks, Tono!

Ha!  Heavy the head that wears the crown, Tenedab. tongue

Thanks, you guys. smile <3

Madrid
The Top 9 finishers here all had both finalists, so this was a lucrative tournament, but with low margins.  This means that the two Jedi who failed to have either finalist, Drivers and HTS, really suffered, unfortunately, essentially losing 1600 points to almost everyone in one fell swoop.  BOTH of them were in the Top 5 coming into this tournament.
Adunar got the high score here, and it was a big one: 2535 points, only 3 MWs away from a PT.  Really impressive, Ad!  However, that was a mere 55 points above 2nd place Spotec.

Padme Standings
1. Tenedab: 18478
2. Arvis: -1241 ↑51
3. Edu: -2731 NEW 
4. BHP: -2794 ↓918
5. Tono: -3222 NEW 
-- Drivers, HTS eliminated --

Tenedab continues to maintain control here fairly easy, but this has become even more of a one-and-a-half-horse race here with Drivers and BHP falling off so sharply this past week.
Tenedab simply refuses to put a foot wrong here.  Really impressive, Tenny!

Madrid
Only Drivers, Tenedab, and HTS were willing to use one of their Novak picks here, but boy did it pay off.  1000 points for them that nobody else gets!  Incredible!
Drivers had the high score, a mindblowing 2420 total points, having all 4 SFists and just a few MWs away from a PT.  As impressive as that was, it was less than 100 points above Tenedab in 2nd.  Only 2 MWs separated them.
Although Dtrain had by far the best bracket, he barely used any "big" picks here for Vader, so he finished last place, a full 1870 points behind our winner.  Yikes!  This result will definitely impact Dtrain's place atop the Vader standings!  But will his saving picks here pay off in the long run?  We won't know for a long time, yet.

Overall Vader Standings
1. Tenedab: 16015 ↑1250  ↑3 ranks
2. Murree: -310 ↑55  ↑1 rank
3. HTS: -735 ↑250  ↑2 ranks
4. Dtrain: -780 ↓1045  ↓3 ranks
5. Dwight: -870 ↓605  ↓3 ranks

Congrats to Tenedab on an amazing Madrid!  With his incredibly huge payday he leaps into 1st place here.  I knew it was only a matter of time before we saw him take the lead again, but I didn't expect he'd do it in such dramatic fashion.
As impressive as Dwight was last week in the smaller tournaments, he didn't cash in here.  He *is* still in the Top 5, though, so he's very much in contention.
HTS had only just popped back into the Top 5 and now he's at the #3 spot.  Well done, HTS!

It's crazy how competitive this competition still is this far into the year.

ATP

Madrid
Good grief, what a week for Dtrain!  He was the ONLY one to back Novak to win Madrid, and on top of that the rest of his bracket was amazing, too!  This got him a grand total of 117 points, a staggering 23 above 2nd place Murree!  That's a bigger margin than between first and last in many tournaments.  An absolutely unbelievable result.
Speaking of last place, HTS struggled here and finished in the bottom spot with only 59, almost exactly half of Dtrain's score.  He was tied for 4th overall in Masters 1000 brackets coming in, so that's a bitter blow.  Fortunately, he can use Rome to potentially bounce right back.

ATP 1000 Standings
1. Dtrain: 342 ↑24  ↑2 ranks
2. Murree: -11 ↓22  ↓1 rank
3. Edu: -37  NEW
4. Drivers: -38 NEW
5T. Dwight: -46 ↓27  ↓1 rank
5T. Tono: -46 BOUNCE BACK
-- Snolly, HTS eliminated ---

Boom, Dtrain takes the lead!  Incredibly impressive, man!
Murree, who was in the lead here going into Madrid, finished in 2nd place with a fantastic score and still lost his first place spot.  Sometimes things just aren't fair.
Snolly has gone from 2nd place to all the way to the bottom because he failed to make a Madrid bracket at all. A devastating, season-ending mistake.  He has, however, returned for Rome.  Hope you're ok, Snolly!
Tono, who finished middle-of-the-pack in Madrid, proves that you don't have to do that well to bounce back in this competition, you just have to do better than the guys ahead of you.

ATP Overall Standings
1. Murree: 1081 ↑13  ↑1 rank
2. TE: -8 ↓13  ↓1 rank
3. Edu: -11 ↑5  ↑1 rank
4. Dtrain: -21 NEW
5. Tono: -26 ↓11  ↓2 ranks
-- Dwight eliminated ---

A nice jump into the Top 5 Overall here for Dtrain.  But interestingly it's Murree who makes the news, retaking the lead here from TE.  Murree may have suffered a blow in the Masters 1000 competition, but here his fantastic Madrid result has an even more prestigious payoff.  Nicely done, Murree!

---

WTA

Madrid
The only thing keeping Arvis' win here from being even more dominant than Dtrain's on the men's side is the fact that he had a buddy join him for the destruction.  Although Arvis still beat 2nd place BHP by 18 (a significant margin), BHP himself beat 3rd place Adunar by a further 20 points, showing that he and Arvis managed to make some truly impressive brackets here!  Arvis finished with a total of 124 points and was the only one to correctly predict the winner, while BHP finished with 106, breaking the 100 point barrier without even having the winner correct, which is extremely rare.
This makes back-to-back 1000/900 bracket wins for Arvis.
On the opposite side of the rankings, we have HTS again.  He managed to pull off the last-place double in Madrid brackets.  Ouch.  Hard to even know what to say to that except, "hey at least you remembered to make brackets at all!"

WTA 1000/900 Standings
1. Arvis: 381
2. BHP: -60 NEW
3. Adunar: -71 ↓39
4. Tenedab: -77 ↓50  ↓2 ranks
5. Edu: -89 ↓57  ↓2 ranks
-- Tono eliminated ---

I try to be totally objective and keep everything in the 3rd person when I write these, but holy crap does this feel good.  I guarantee I'll screw it up, but I'm just going to enjoy that a lead like this will likely never be repeated.  Ever.  By anyone.
I mean, I'm first place on the whole site in 1000/900s.  Hard to not let myself be a little proud of it, ha ha.

WTA Overall Standings
1. Arvis: 945 NEW
2. Tenedab: -5 ↓25  ↓1 rank
3. Tono: -22 ↓2  ↓1 rank
4. Adunar: -26 ↑9  ↓1 rank
5. Edu: -44 ↓7  ↓1 rank
-- Drivers eliminated --

And with that, we have a new Overall #1!  Arvis has really put on a show with some solid WTA picking this year at the higher level tournaments.  It's enough for now to squeak him past the impenetrable Tenedab, but will Arvis be able to be consistent at the smaller tournaments?  He'll need to figure it out if he's going to maintain his lead here.
But for now we have another high-value tournament in Rome, and Arvis and Tenedab have the same Winner and Finalist, so there won't be too huge of a gap between them here.  Could this be a chance for Tono or Adunar to make a move?

Amazing, Dtrain!

Dtrain: the best kind of train.™

20

(79 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Week 18

Men's

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (110)
Sebastian Ofner (22, #126, Austria), who made some noise two years ago when he made the 3rd round of Wimbledon as a qualifier, has won his 2nd Challenger title!  Seeded #5 here, he played only seeded players from his 2nd match on, but all were ranked lower than him, culminating in a 3-set win in the final over John-Patrick Smith (30, #224, Australia).  He only had a 12-12 record on the year coming in, but he won the title while only losing 2 sets.  Might he be rounding into form for another grass court push?
Elsewhere, #1 Sascha Bublik not only lost his first match, but were it not for is R1 bye he would have been this tournament's Wooden Spoon.  It raises red flags as to his condition.

Bordeaux, France (110)
#1 Lucas Pouille (25, #28, France) took a wildcard into this tournament to get some wins under his belt and hopefully a decent chunk of ranking points.  It's rather strange for a Top 30 player who made a Slam SF this year to be playing a Challenger.  However, the decision seemed to work for him, as he won the tournament despite having lost 5 matches in a row since his AO semi.  It wasn't easy, as he had to beat his first opponent in a 3rd set TB, then ate a breadstick in each of his next two matches.  However, he overcame all of that to take the title easily, beating Mikael Ymer (20, #149, Sweden) in the final 3 and 3.
Pouille still underachieved in Madrid this week despite his upset of Coric.  But could he be someone to watch out for in Paris?

Seoul, South Korea (100)
Unseeded Max Purcell (21, #236, Australia) was a surprise finalist here, defeating the #2, #12, #13, and #14 players on his way to the final.  However, he was not prepared for the gritty determination and crowd support of the young hometown hero, a rising star of Korean tennis, #11 seed Kwon Soon-Woo (21, #135, Korea)!  Kwon lost only one set in this tournament, and this trophy is his 2nd Challenger title in a span of two months, the only two of his young career.
Kwon Soon-Woo is still a contender for the Next-Gen Finals.

Savannah, Georgia, USA (90)
Tennys Sandren and Paolo Lorenzi were the #1 and #2 seeds here, respectively, but they both ended up being defeated by the same player: Federico Coria (27, #216, Argentina), little brother of Guillermo Coria.
The younger Coria defeated Sandgren in R3 in straights, then defeated Lorenzi in the final in 3 sets.  Despite having consistently played pro tennis for 10 years now, this is his first ever Challenger title.  What a moment for the little bro!

Ostrava, Czech Republic (80)
Our lowest-ranking tournament of the week was one by one of the Challenger tour's best players of the year, Kamil Majchrzak (23, #115, Poland).  This is Kamil's 2nd title of the year, and the result moved him to an 8-1 record on clay for the year.  He won this title without dropping a set, although #1 Lloyd Harris took him to two TBs, including an 11-9 TB in the 2nd set of their SF.
As exciting as that SF match was, though, the final was extremely anti-climactic.  The most promising 17-year-old on tour, Jannik Sinner (#262, Italy) was Kamil's final opponent.  Sinner has already won a Challenger this year, followed that up with two Futures tourney wins (his first three professional tournament trophies, all back to back), and racked up 13 professional clay court wins for the year on his way to this match.  And then he concluded all of that build-up with a 0 and 1 loss to Majchrzak.  He's still young and even the most experienced have bad days, but still.

---

Women's

Charleston, South Carolina, USA (100)
#1 and #2 seeds here were Madison Brengle and Taylor Townsend, respectively.  While Brengle would lose in R1 to a qualifier, Taylor Townsend (23, #103, USA) would go on to win the tournament without ever having to play a seeded player.  However, that doesn't mean her matches were easy, as she defeated two of America's most promising teens, Coco Gauff and Whitney Osuigwe, the latter in the final. The final was a revenge match for Townsend, who lost to Osuigwe in their last match in my most recent Challenger Chat update.
This is Townsend's first title this year, and it's a huge one, the biggest of her career.  This will help her get back into the Top 100, a goal that seems very likely to happen before the year is out.

Gifu, Japan (80)
We only had one seeded player make the SFs in this extremely lucrative hard court tournament, and that seed is the one who went on to take the title: the sultry and seductive Zarina Diyas (25, #98, Kazakhstan).  After having been nearly in the Top 30 years ago, Zarina has slowly been working her way back into playing high level tennis, and this W80 trophy has her officially back in the Top 100.  Diyas had a tough match that she came very close to losing in the QFs against Kurumi Nara, then started her SF match eating a breadstick in the 1st before delivering her own in the 3rd.  But then against surprising Taiwanese teen Liang En-Shuo (18, #155, Chinese Taipei) Diyas won 0 and 2 for the trophy.  This is the 3rd-biggest title of Zarina's career.

Wiesbaden, Germany (60)
Another clay court ITF tournament, another clay court trophy for Barbora Krejcikova (23, #126, Czech).  This makes THREE TOURNAMENTS IN A ROW for Krejcikova.  She took a week off last week, and then just jumped right back in where she left off, winning this W60 without dropping a set.  In every match leading to the final here, Krejcikova won every set with the loss of 2 games or fewer, dropping only 10 games total before the final.  However, her opponent in the final, Katarina Zavatska (19, #196, Ukraine) was playing on a whole different level.  Krejcikova still didn't drop a set, though, winning the match 6-4, 7-6(2).  Can anyone stop her?  She's now an absurd 15-0 since the start of April.

Les Franqueses del Valles, Spain (60)
This Spanish tournament with a French name sported a Spaniard as its #1 seed and a Frenchwoman as its #2 seed.  Yet it was won by a Brit!  Unseeded Katy Dunne (24, #236, Britain) stuns the cosmopolitan crowd by defeating #1 seed Paula Badosa Gibert (21, #133, Spain) in the final in straight sets.  Dunne was only 5-7 on the year coming in, making it even more surprising.  This makes PBG's 2nd runner-up finish of the year.

Santa Margherita di Pula 6, Italy (25)
Switching back to clay did wonders for one of the brightest stars of 2019's W15 circuit, Mirjam Bjorklund (20, #471, Sweden).  She's already won 3 W15 titles this year, and now she has her first career W25.  She started the tournament by beating the #2 seed in R1, then beat qualifier Gabriela Ce (26, #442, Brazil) in straight sets in the final, taking a kind of reverse trajectory to the title.

Khimki, Russia (25)
#7 seed Sofya Lansere (18, #391, Russia) won this title kind of out of nowhere.  She did show back in Kazan W25 in March that she can play well indoors, making the SFs there.  But the fact is that she's struggled to go deep everywhere else this year.  But those struggles obviously strengthened her, as 4 of her 5 wins here were in 3 sets.  She defeated another surprise finalist, Dea Herdzelas (22, #449, Bosnia) for the title here.  Herdzelas hadn't played an indoor tournament in nearly 3 years and had a career record of 9-7 on the surface coming in.

Namangan, Uzbekistan (25)
It seems Valeria Savinykh (28, #258, Russia) may have wanted to prove herself after losing her R1 match last week in Andijan W25 to the eventual champ.  As #1 seed here, she made sure to win the title herself this time, including defeating that same Andijan W25 champ, Rakhimova, in the QFs.  Her opponent in the final was the poetically named Eudice Wong Chong from Hong Kong (23, #497), and no I didn't make any of that up.
In 2011, Savinykh won her first pro title, a massive W100, and even reached as high as #99 in the world. However, she then went on a major drought, not winning any titles and even falling out of the Top 500 by the end of 2015.  Since then, though, she has won at least one pro title every year.

W15 Champs for Week 18
- Indy de Vroome (22, #???, Netherlands), first pro title in 5 years, on comeback from injury last year.
- Mayar Sherif (23, #???, Egypt), 2nd title of the year, only had 1 title before this year which she got all the way back in 2013.  Recently went 3-0 in Fed Cup verses Norway, losing only 4 games across those three matches.
- Anastasia Zakharova (17, #???, Russia), 2nd career title, both this year. Now has made finals on 3 different surfaces in 2019.  Absurd 23-4 record for the year.
- Estelle Cascino (23, #532, France), 4th career title, all at this level.  Won on clay, despite being barely above .500 on the surface.

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Where Are Last Week's Champs Now?
- Blaz Rola lost in the QFs of Puerto Vallarta and withdrew from Braga this week with injury after winning one match.
- Emilio Gomez lost in R2 of Savannah, but is currently into R3 of Braga.
- Stefano Travaglia lost in the QFs of Ostrava and R3 of Aix en Provence.
- Andrej Martin DNP, but this week is into the QFs of Shymkent.
- Zheng Saisai lost in R3 of Madrid to Sloane Stephens.
- Whitney Osuigwe lost in the final of Charleston (see above).
- Arantxa Rus lost in QFs of Wiesbaden W60 to eventual finalist Zavatska.
- Varvara Gracheva lost in QFs of Khimki W25 and R2 of Cagnes-Sur-Mer W80 after qualifying.
- Ann Li lost in R2 of Charleston W100 but is currently into R2 of Bonita Springs W100.
- Kamilla Rakhimova kost in QFs of Namangan to eventual champ Valeria Savinykh (see above).
- Manca Pislak lost in R2 of a W15.
- Simona Waltert lost in the finals of a W15 to Mayar Sherif (see above).
- Marcela Zacarias is currently into QFs of another Cancun W15.
- Alice Rame lost in R1 of this week's Rome W25 after qualifying.

You're right, Tenny.  Maybe you'll win the lottery and, in your excitement, forget to do a couple brackets.  That could give us a chance. lol

Rabat
Only one person took the winner here, Sakkari, but it wasn't enough to get Aiur the win.  He even had another SFist on his team, but his two other players were both Zeroes, which led to Murree getting the win with 410 total points, topping Aiur by a mere 18 points.  Last place Spotec, though, was 347 points back.

Prague
In a very unpredictable tournament, our Padme leader Tenedab still managed to have the runner-up on his team, because of course he did.  And he was the only one to make that pick, because of course he was.  This resulted in a total score of 351, 150 over 2nd place Dtrain and 318 over last place Johnny.

Padme Standings
1. Tenedab: 16406
2. Arvis: -1292 ↓447 
3. Drivers: -1664 ↓672 
4. BHP: -1876 ↓513  ↑1 rank
5. HTS: -2097 NEW
-- Snolly eliminated --

Another Padme week, another great result for Tenedab!  He's now gained a full 1000 points on 2nd place Arvis over the course of only two weeks.  But nobody in the Top 5 besides him came out smelling very nice last week.  Tenedab is truly in control here.

Estoril
Only four spent the Tsitsi pick here and they get the 250 point reward.  Dwight did the best with 385 total points, squeaking past 2nd place Snolly by 45.  That margin is the same as the total points of last place Jedi BHP and Arvis.

Munich
While Dwight was enjoying his win in Estoril, over in Munich we have.... uh, well... Dwight with a big win.  Good grief, considering he was 3rd Overall going into this week, could these two small tourneys have made a dent in the Vader standings?
Anyways, Dwight managed another 385 points here, winning both tournaments.  Johnny was in last here with 90.

Overall Vader Standings
1. Dtrain: 14615
2. Dwight: -265 ↑205  ↑1 rank
3. Murree: -365 ↓130  ↓1 rank
4. Tenedab: -940 ↓320
5. HTS: -985 ↓180

And Dwight takes over 2nd place!  Very well done!  Dtrain did enough to hold him off, but his lead continues to be a tenuous one.

ATP

Estoril
Lots of people with the correct winner here, so the difference between Snolly in 1st and Adunar in 10th is a mere 5 points.  However, a few did not pick Tsitsi to win, culminating in Johnny at the nadir with only 13 points, 17 off the lead.

Munich
Dwight actually correctly predicted one of the finalists, which is amazing.  He was the only one to do it and finished in 1st with 28 points.  Spotec and Adunar brought up the rear, but they were only 10 points behind Dwight, which isn't too bad.

ATP 250 Standings
1. TE: 399
2. Tono: -24
3. Edu: -25 ↑4
4. Drivers: -38 ↑3
5. Dwight: -42 NEW
-- Tenedab eliminated --

Dwight's good Munich win was enough to get him on this list and bump Tenny off.  However, Dwight's only 2 points ahead, so his position is hardly a comfortable one.  TE is still in cruise control at the top here, having lost no ground at all to Tono over these two tournaments.

ATP Overall Standings
1. TE: 988
2. Murree: -5 ↑7
3. Tono: -15
4. Edu: -16 ↑5
5. Dwight: -21 ↑14

Nice big boost for Dwight, but not enough to bump him up a rank.  Murree suddenly is putting the pressure right back on our leader, TE.  How will Madrid shake out for those two?

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WTA

Rabat
Another unpredictable 280, we had 3 winners with 22 points, double TE's last place total.  Nobody had either finalist correct, of course.  Which is also true of the other 280 this week...

Prague
Tenedab capitalizes yet again on an upset-filled 280, managing 21 points.  That doesn't sound like much, but it was a full 4 points over 2nd place BHP and 12 points over last place Aiur.  Ol' Tenny actually had TWO correct SFists!  Holy crap!

WTA 280 Standings
1. Tenedab: 302
2. Adunar: -41 ↓13  ↑1 rank
3. TE: -42 ↓20  ↓1 rank
4. BHP: -44 ↓14
5. Edu: -48 ↓18

Good grief, Tenedab.  O__o
I... don't see how this massive lead will ever be overcome for the entire rest of the year.  I honestly don't think it's realistically possible.

WTA Overall Standings
1. Tenedab: 887 ↑21  ↑1 rank
2. Tono: -20 ↓21  ↓1 rank
3. Adunar: -33 ↓13  ↑1 rank
4. Edu: -37 ↓22  ↓1 rank
5. Drivers: -38 NEW
-- TE eliminated --

Any time we're tempted to think that a week with a couple 280s in it "isn't that important", let's remember what Tenedab did here.
Beyond Tenny and Tono we have a bit of traffic jam: less than 10 points separates Adunar in 3rd with TE in 7th.  Lots of us vying for a Top 5 spot here.

25

(79 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Week 17

Men's

Leon, Mexico (80)
Alexander Bublik seems content to avoid clay in general this year, where possible, and just rack up as many points on the Challenger tour as possible until the surface changes back.  However, here, he seemed poised to take yet another title, but retired with injury to unseeded Liam Broady (25, #299, Britain) in the SFs.  Broady was playing with house money at this point after being 2 points from defeat in R3, and he hasn't won a title since 2016.  However, it still wasn't enough to overcome 14-seed Slovenian veteran Blaz Rola (28, #207).  Rola is a former Top 100 player who is primarily a clay courter, so it was unusual for him to enter this tournament instead of one of the 3 clay Challengers this week.  Counting Futures tourneys, Rola now has 13 career titles and only 3 are on hard court instead of clay.

Tallahassee, Florida, USA (80)
We have a first time Challenger champ crowned here, and crowned in style, dropping only one set along the way (in a TB) and defeating the runner-up 2 and 2 in the final: Emilio Gomez (27, #197, Ecuador)!  Despite his age he had never won a title at this level before.  He rockets to the highest ranking of his career.  Impressively, the victim he annihilated in the final was last week's Sarasota 100 champ, Tommy Paul.
In an interesting twist of coincidences: the last two players to defeat Emilio Gomez (before and after this title) are Paolo Lorenzi and Alejandro Gonzalez.  The player who went on to defeat both of them in those respective tournaments?  Tommy Paul. *Twilight Zone music plays*

Francavilla al Mare, Italy (80)
I'd say about 1/3rd of all players entered here were Italian, many of them WCs and SEs.  But the Italian who took the title earned it on his own without any favors from the tournament organizers because he was the #5 seed here: Stefano Travaglia (27, #128, Italy).  After beating Federico Gaio in a tight 3rd set TB in the QFs, Travaglia would go on to defeat #3-seed Oscar Otte (25, #138, Germany) for his 3rd career Challenger title.  1-seed Maximilian Marterer retired with injury to Otte in the SFs, but the German couldn't capitalize on the physical advantage this gave him in the final.

Nanchang, China (80)
Although he was unseeded here, our champion had won 9 Challenger titles previously and was once #98 in the world.  I am talking about Andrej Martin (29, #199, Slovakia), a familiar name from my old 2017 thread.  And before you assume this was a broken draw and Martin had it easy, he defeated 1-seed Jordan Thompson in the final in 3 sets.  Martin is 13-6 on clay this year and all 6 of those losses are to fairly good players, so he has been playing his way up to this level pretty consistently, refusing to lose to players ranked below him.  Although he is older, he could still have more Challenger titles in him if he keeps improving.

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Women's

Anning, China (125)
The thing with these WTA 125s is that they're so unpredictable, right?  Tell that to the top 2 seeds here, #1 Zhang Shuai and #2 Zheng Saisai, who played each other in the final.  But it was Saisai who ended up taking the title.  She was in scary form the entire tournament, playing only one bad set the entire time (3-6 loss to qualifier Kaylah "Nanny" McPhee (21, #242, Australia) in the SFs) and delivering a grand total of one bagel and five breadsticks throughout the tourney, including one breadstick to Shuai in the final.  Zheng Saisai now has 6 titles at the WTA 125k level and surprisingly 4 of them are at THIS tournament.  She really is right at home here.  What makes it even more unusual is that Saisai is 39-26 on clay in her career and has never won a clay title anywhere else at ANY level.

Charlottesville, Virginia, USA (80)
A fantastic tournament for a promising young American clay court expert and 8-seed, Whitney Osuigwe (17, #139)!  She defeated 1-seed Taylor Townsend in the QFs and 2-seed Madison Brengle in the final, both in 3 sets.  And she had to go to a 3rd set TB to defeat Katarzyna Kawa (26, #200, Poland) in the SFs.  But she toughed out wins in all of them for her 2nd career title, 1st on clay.  Impressively, BOTH of her pro titles are at the 80 level, so at the young age of 17 she has basically just skipped the 15, 25, and 60 levels entirely.  What does the future hold for her?

Santa Margherita di Pula 5, Italy (25)
Remember in the last update when Arantxa Rus (28, #135, The Netherlands) won the 4th iteration of this tournament?  Well, this week she had to play qualies to get into this one (late entry?) and in QR2, completely exhausted, defeated Sara Cakarevic (22, #486, France) 11-9 in a Super TB after barely taking the 2nd set from her in a normal TB.  But then, despite having had so much court time over the last several days, Rus just.... went on to win the tournament again.  And yes, despite qualifying, she was the 1-seed.  A 1-seed Qualifier.  That's new.  She defeated a surprise finalist, unseeded Elizabeth "Ellie" Halbauer (21, #365, USA) in the final in 3 sets.  It would have been Halbauer's biggest career title.  But it's ok, because in her very next match after this final, Halbauer... uh... lost to Arantxa Rus in 3 sets.  Oh well.

Chiasso, Switzerland (25)
Only one seed made the SFs here, #7 Marta Kostyuk (16, #320, Ukraine).  But she lost to last week's Tunis W25 champ Jacqueline Adina Cristian, who then went on to lose to our champion, an unheralded teen qualifier from Russia, Varvara Gracheva (18, #405).  Gracheva had won two W15s before in her young career, but this W25 titles launches her to her highest ever ranking, knocking on the door of the Top 400.  Lots of promising young players mentioned here, I wonder if any of them are future superstars waiting to happen?

Osprey, Florida, USA (25)
The winner here is a personal favorite player of mine: 3-seed Ann Li (18, #252, USA)!  Li started her 2019 campaign on clay in Daytona Beach, FL, USA, losing in R2 to eventual champ Anna Bondar.  After that result, Li's professional clay court W-L record was 12-11.  Since the beginning of April, Ann Li made the final of Jackson W25, lost to eventual champ Kawa in Pelham W25, and now won this title, resulting in a staggering clay court record of 11-2 over her last 13 matches.  She's now at her career high ranking and has her first ever W25 title.  She defeated 1-seed Elena Gabriela Ruse (21, #204, Romania) in the SFs, and unseeded fellow American Usue Arconada (20, #316) in the final.

Andijan, Uzbekistan (25)
Kamilla Rakhimova (17, #643, Russia) seems to like to live dangerously.  Probably our lowest-ranked W25 champ all year, Rakhimova tore her way through qualies here, but then drew 1-seed Valeria Savinykh (28, #259, Russia) in the first round.  Unfazed, she beat her in straights, but then in R2 was a few points from losing!  She came back to win after taking the 2nd in a TB, fought her way to the finals, only to be bageled by her opponent, 4-seed Pranjala Yadlapalli (20, #282, India) in the 1st set.  And yet STILL Rakhimova would not be denied, winning the next two sets 1 and 3 for the biggest win of her career.  Earlier this year I reported Rakhimova's first pro title, an indoor W15 in February, and now she has already graduated to winning W25s.  All 3 of her 2019 titles came on three different surfaces (indoor hard, clay, outdoor hard).  Her 7 wins here (including qualies) were her first outdoor hard matches all year.

W15 Champs for Week 17
- Manca Pislak (21, #740, Slovenia), was 4-4 in 2019 before winning this title.  Has played entirely on clay this year despite going 15-4 and winning a title on outdoor hard last year.
- Fernanda Brito (27, #545, Chile), 2nd title in 2 weeks, 10-0 in her last 10 matches.  Now at a staggering 29 career titles at this level.
- Simona Waltert (18, #592, Switzerland), won this title on clay, her first 5 clay matches of the year.  Started the year going 13-2 across 3 outdoor hard tournaments but has been relatively quiet since, so it's nice to see her name here again.  4th career W15 title.
- Marcela Zacarias (25, #511, Mexico), a second outdoor hard W15 title in as many weeks, both at home in Mexico.  Across these last 10 matches, she has not lost a set or even been taken to a TB.  Title #13.
- Alice Rame (21, #780, France), 3rd career title, first since 2017, all on clay.

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Where Are Last Week's Champs Now?
- Jay Clarke lost in R2 of Nanchang.
- Tommy Paul lost in the final of Tallahassee (see above).
- Marc Andrea Hüsler went right back to not winning 2 matches in Challengers, losing in R2 of Leon and Puerto Vallarta.  He's still 6-0 on clay, though, lol.
- Pablo Cuevas lost in the QFs of Budapest 250, then lost in qualies of Estoril 250, but is currently still alive there as a LL.
- Arantxa Rus won another title (see above).
- Chanel Simmonds lost in the SFs of a W15.
- Fernanda Brito won another title (see above).
- Despina Papamichail lost in the SFs of a W15 and QR2 of a W60.
- Anastasia Zakharova lost in the QFs of Andijan W25, but is active in a W15 right now.
- Marcela Zacarias won another title (see above).