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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Thanks Murree! Parrizas-Dias was on court mere hours ago and I forgot to try to tune in to her match, lol.  Hopefully there will be highlights, if there were cameras anywhere for the match. Always exciting to see people I report on here play.

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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

March 2021 Players of the Month

https://t1.llb.be/6fPlZEY8xi_HdzecZDG18ULvb3s=/620x310/60621f4f7b50a6051756a72c.jpg
Zizou Bergs (21, #265, Belgium)
This bushy-haired young Belgian, out of almost nowhere, gained himself a whopping 140 ATP ranking points in March!  He went 15-1 for the month, winning a Challenger 50 and a Challenger 90, both as a Qualifier!  At the Lille Challenger 90 he beat home favorites Halys and Barrere in the last two rounds, respectively, defeating the latter in a final set TB to take the trophy in epic fashion.  Results like these make it seem inevitable that he will be knocking on the door of the Top 100 before year's end.


https://deu.belta.by/images/storage/news/with_archive/2018/000028_1544445684_40253_big.jpg
Yuliya Hatouka (20, #301, Belarus)
Weeks away from turning 21, this young Belarussian seems determined to make a career out of tennis, and months like March will go a long way to turning that dream into reality.  Ms. Hatouka went 10-1 for the month, winning a W25 in Kazan and coming in as runner-up in another in Dubai, the latter as a Qualifier.  This netted her a handsome 80 ranking points.  There weren't any bigger ITF tournaments on offer for the month, so her result was more than enough to get her the PotM award here.

Honorable Mention: Linda Noskova (16, #695, Czech), ranked well outside the Top 700 heading into the month, went 10-0 in two W15s to pocket 20 ranking points.


UPDATES:

- Sebastian Korda made the QFs of Miami 1000, losing in two tight sets to top-tenner Andrey Rublev.
- Irene Burillo-Escorihuela has struggled since her unlikely run to a W60 title in January.
- Aslan Karatsev only went and won Dubai 500 and is now a Top 30 player on the tour. Ridiculous. This will probably be the last time he gets mentioned in Challenger Chat.
- MacKenzie McDonald successfully qualified for Miami 1000 and won his R1 match before succumbing 7-5 in the 3rd to John Isner.
- Nuria Parrizas-Diaz not only won herself another W25 for another 50 points, but in the transition to clay has now qualified for the main draw in Bogota. Although she is not a great clay court player, keep an eye on her this week.

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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

February Players of the Month

https://www.atptour.com/-/media/images/news/2021/02/28/23/37/nur-sultan-2021-mcdonald2.jpg
Mackenzie "Macmac" McDonald (25, #118, USA)
Macmac went 8-1 in February, including making the 4th round of the Australian Open.  It can be easy to have a letdown after a big result like that, but Mackenzie showed his strong mentality and kept his good form going into the Nur Sultan challenger, winning the title there.  He had a brief lapse in the quarterfinals against Federico Ferreira Silva, narrowly winning in a 3rd set breaker.  But after that, he won the semis and final with the loss of 6 games total.
McDonald gained 280 ranking points with these two results, making him our Men's PotM for February.


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EuxdLzfWYAMhfKa?format=jpg&name=medium
Nuria Parrizas-Diaz (29, #187, Spain)
This Spanish journeywoman won two South African hard court W25's back to back in February, achieving a 10-0 record and gaining 100 WTA ranking points.  This got her to her career high ranking of 187 and our February Women's PotM.  This means there are two female Players of the Month in 2021 and both of them are Spanish!

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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Well, I guess all of you don't need me to tell you of Aslan Karatsev's further exploits. He's into the QFs of the Australian Open after doing a Robredo on FAA.  Unbelievable.  What else might we see from this guy this year?

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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Aslan Karatsev has done it!!  He defeated 8-seed Diego Schwartzman in straight sets, very impressively, losing only 9 games!  He is our first qualifier of the year to make the 4th round of a Slam (and be worth 80 fantasy points)!  Will Kaja Juvan be the 2nd?

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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Carlos Alcaraz, 17, #141, Spain
This kid got some buzz at the end of last year in my Challenger Chat thread, and rightfully so. He won three Challenger titles last year (two of them came back-to-back), all on clay.  However, earlier in 2020, he played two hard court Futures events and won both of them.  Those were the only hard court matches he had last year, meaning he is now on a 13-match win streak on hard courts. He is 16-2 in his professional career on the surface. Obviously, at such a young age, this will be his first Slam main draw. He could technically still play Juniors here if he wanted (if they're even doing Juniors tournaments this year). He beat #2 Hugo Dellien 2 and 3 to qualify.

Tomas Machac, 20, #197, Czech
Mostly an indoor guy, this young kid just won his 9th, 10th, and 11th outdoor hard court matches ever to qualify for the AO. An able clay courter, he qualified for the French last year and lost in R1 in 5 sets to Taylor Fritz. He was a big favorite in all of his Q matches this week, and his career outdoor hard record is now up to 9-2.  Could he make some waves here?

Roman Safiullin, 23, #181, Russia
Another young-ish Russian grinder who is making his Slam main draw debut. Despite covid, he won his first career Challenger title last year, so his career is on an upward trend. At only 23, he may be familiar to all of us in time.

Michael Mmoh, 23, #174, USA
Points away from losing in QR2 to Ze Li, Mmoh is now entering his 9th career Slam main draw.  He's only ever won two matches in Slam main draws.

Olga Danilovic, 19, #183, Serbia
Another teen phenom, you may remember her (but probably not) from her utterly absurd run to the title in the 2018 Moscow 2 WTA tournament, where she beat (in order) Schmiedlova, Kanepi, #1 Goerges, #5 Sasnovich, and then wild card Potapova in the final to win it all.... at the age of 17... as a lucky loser!!
Despite that result, and despite reaching a career-high rank of #96 on the back of it, she has never played in a Slam main draw until now.

Mayar Sherif, 24, #128, Egypt
Everyone's favorite Egyptian player is looking very strong here in qualies.  She dropped a 6-2 set in QR2 to Grace Min, but besides that one bad set, she qualified without losing more than 3 games in a set.  She looked similarly impressive last year at the French, where she not only qualified but took a set off of Karolina Pliskova in R1.  Can she go one better here and win herself two sets in R1?

Kaja Juvan, 20, #104, Slovenia
The #1 player in the Q draw here, Juvan qualified without dropping a set.  She qualified last year as well, but was double-breadsticked in R1 by Dayana Yastremska.  She's 3-5 all time in Slams.

- Carlos Alcaraz was stunned in 4 sets by unseeded Mikael Ymer, who nobody expected to make the 3rd round here.
- Tomas Machac managed to take a set off 9-seed Berrettini! At only 20, I think we'll see this kid again many times.
- Roman Saifiullin took the first set off unseeded Cam Norrie, but then lost the subsequent 3 sets. Still, this was a successful tournament for him and he will only improve over the next couple years, barring injury.
- Michael Mmoh was obliterated by Rafa, of course, but did manage to take 4 games in one set, which is actually very impressive.

- Olga Danilovic only managed 5 games in a loss to Shelby Rogers. Rogers is one of the most in-form players in the draw, though, so this is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Kaja Juvan squeaked out a win against fellow qualifier Mayar Sherif. Check the highlights if you get a chance: this was a high quality match that ended with both players leaving everything on court.

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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Arvis wrote:

Aslan Karatsev, 27, #112, Russia
Aslan "The Lion" started to really find a rhythm at the end of last year, but still fell short in French Open qualifying because he had the misfortune to run into a certain Sebastian Korda in QR3 there.  However, he has now finally gotten into his first ever Slam main draw.  And with some style, too, only dropping 6 games in QR2 and QR3 combined.


Sara Errani, 33, #131, Italy
The former World #5 once made the quarterfinals here, almost a full decade ago in 2012 (where she beat the most lovely and precious and wonderful tennis player in history in the R16).  Errani needed 3 sets in all of her Q matches this year, but she has an 11-10 record at this tournament, and a 59-42 Slam record for her career. She has the experience to trouble younger players.

Aslan Karatsev absolutely dismantled unseeded Belarussian Egor Gerasimov in R2, only dropping one game in three sets!  Yikes!  The first two sets featured some jaw-dropping strokes and depth from The Lion, while the 3rd was a dispirited Gerasimov throwing in the towel.  Could Aslan give Schwartzman trouble in the next round?  He could, but Schwartz should match up well against him and redirect his power and depth with much more ease than Karatsev may be used to.

Sara Errani easily and mercilessly defeated an injured Venus Williams to make the 3rd round. The last time Errani was in the 3rd round of a Slam, Kerber had no Slam trophies, Maria Sharapova was a Top 3 player, and Market Vondrousova was Junior #1.  Errani will face Hsieh Su-Wei next and will likely lose.  Still, her chances aren't terrible in that match up.  Errani has the experience to be able to handle Hsieh's bizarre spins and angles without balking.

8

(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Ah, you're right!  Fixed.  Thanks Ol' Tenny!

9

(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Arvis wrote:
Aussie Open 2021 Qualifiers - Men

Carlos Alcaraz, 17, #141, Spain
This kid got some buzz at the end of last year in my Challenger Chat thread, and rightfully so. He won three Challenger titles last year (two of them came back-to-back), all on clay.  However, earlier in 2020, he played two hard court Futures events and won both of them.  Those were the only hard court matches he had last year, meaning he is now on a 13-match win streak on hard courts. He is 16-2 in his professional career on the surface. Obviously, at such a young age, this will be his first Slam main draw. He could technically still play Juniors here if he wanted (if they're even doing Juniors tournaments this year). He beat #2 Hugo Dellien 2 and 3 to qualify.

Quentin Halys, 24, #206, France
Once on the cusp of the Top 100, Halys is the quintessential journeyman, with a 53% career match win rate in Challengers, but only 22% at the Tour level.  It gets worse for him in Slam main draws, with an all time record of 2-9 there.  Defeated Robin Haase to qualify.

Michael Mmoh, 23, #174, USA
Points away from losing in QR2 to Ze Li, Mmoh is now entering his 9th career Slam main draw.  He's only ever won two matches in Slam main draws.

Tomas Machac, 20, #197, Czech
Mostly an indoor guy, this young kid just won his 9th, 10th, and 11th outdoor hard court matches ever to qualify for the AO. An able clay courter, he qualified for the French last year and lost in R1 in 5 sets to Taylor Fritz. He was a big favorite in all of his Q matches this week, and his career outdoor hard record is now up to 9-2.  Could he make some waves here?

Mario Vilella Martinez, 25, #186, Spain
It's-a me! Mario!  Not a plumber, our hero qualified for the AO last year to make his Slam main draw debut. He lost in 4 sets to Karen Khachanov, putting up an impressive fight.  His path to the main draw was easier this year with a walkover in QR2, but he still earned it with an underdog victory in QR3 over Wu Tung-Lin.  Let's-a go!

Viktor Troicki, 34, #202, Serbia
No idea who this is, but he's never been beyond the 3rd round at the AO.

Roman Safiullin, 23, #181, Russia
Another young-ish Russian grinder who is making his Slam main draw debut. Despite covid, he won his first career Challenger title last year, so his career is on an upward trend. At only 23, he may be familiar to all of us in time.

Botic Van De Zandschulp, 25, #156, Netherlands
Sporting the dumbest (or most awesome?) name on tour, BVDZ really came into his own on the Futures and Challenger circuit in 2016, but then underachieved for two years. He turned it back around in 2019 winning his first Challenger title. This will be his Slam main draw debut and only his 2nd-ever match on the Tour level.

Henri Laaksonen, 28, #133, Switzerland
A long-time Swiss journeyman, Laaksonen squeaked past 22-year-old Croatian opponent Borna Gojo, 9-7 in a 3rd set TB, to qualify for the AO.  This will be Laaksonen's 7th Slam main draw and he'll be looking to get his 4th career Slam main draw singles win here in R1.



Aussie Open 2021 Qualifiers - Women

Kaja Juvan, 20, #104, Slovenia
The #1 player in the Q draw here, Juvan qualified without dropping a set.  She qualified last year as well, but was double-breadsticked in R1 by Dayana Yastremska.  She's 3-5 all time in Slams.

Francesca Jones, 20, #241, Britain
Born with 8 fingers and 7 toes, Francesca Jones has proven here that hard work can overcome quite a lot. She started to show some promise at the end of last year but was unable to have a true breakthrough.  Qualifying for a Slam, though, is more than a breakthrough.  This will be her first Slam.  She upset Jedi Masters favorite Jana Fett (cue Han Solo: "Jana Fett?!") in QR2, and then annihilated China's Lu Jia-Jing in QR3, 0 and 1, to qualify. Her R1 match will likely get some buzz, regardless of opponent or result.

Whitney Osuigwe, 18, #161, USA
Osuigwe has been getting a lot of hype amongst the US tennis cognoscenti, but so far has no truly big result to her name, with a 1-9 Tour record and 0-4 Slam record.  Qualifying here may change that, as she is in good enough form to beat the #5 and #22 players in the draw.  She's the youngest Women's Qualifier at the AO this year, so it's safe to assume that she will only improve with time.

Clara Burel, 19, #236, France
Speaking of very young, French teen Clara Burel did not let covid prevent her from making 2020 the best year of her career.  She played 36 matches last year (her previous high was only 26) and finished with a 21-15 record.  She currently maintains a winning record on all three surfaces she has played on: clay, outdoor hard, and indoor hard.  She made her Slam main draw debut here 2 years ago, but had no wins until a few months ago at the French, where she made waves by winning two matches.

Olga Danilovic, 19, #183, Serbia
Another teen phenom, you may remember her (but probably not) from her utterly absurd run to the title in the 2018 Moscow 2 WTA tournament, where she beat (in order) Schmiedlova, Kanepi, #1 Goerges, #5 Sasnovich, and then wild card Potapova in the final to win it all.... at the age of 17... as a lucky loser!!
Despite that result, and despite reaching a career-high rank of #96 on the back of it, she has never played in a Slam main draw until now.

Chloe Paquet, 26, #187, France
This will be Paquet's first Slam outside of the French Open, where she has played 4 times and won one match. She did not face a seeded player in the Q draw here, but also failed to lose a single set on her way to the main draw. Let's see if she can perform better off of home soil.

Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, #132, Italy
This Italian teen qualified for the AO last year, looking quite impressive in Qs, and then was rewarded with a match against Kerber in R1, where she had her head aslpoded with a 2 and 2 loss.  Her Q run this year wasn't as dominant, but perhaps we can see more what she is capable of with a kinder draw.  She has 4 career ITF titles, including 2 W60s in 2019. She already sports a career W-L record of 84-40, so she knows how to win matches.

Mayar Sherif, 24, #128, Egypt
Everyone's favorite Egyptian player is looking very strong here in qualies.  She dropped a 6-2 set in QR2 to Grace Min, but besides that one bad set, she qualified without losing more than 3 games in a set.  She looked similarly impressive last year at the French, where she not only qualified but took a set off of Karolina Pliskova in R1.  Can she go one better here and win herself two sets in R1?

- Viktor Troicki and Michael Mmoh played each other and there wasn't much to separate them, with Mmoh coming out the viktor (lol) in 5 tight sets. Looks like the extra weight of Mmoh's unnecessary second M didn't hold him back too badly. He may want to shed that M for his next match against The Matador himself, Rafa Nadal.
- Roman Safiullin routined Ivashka in straights and could be big trouble for Cam Norrie in R2.
- Laaksonen managed a miserable 9 games won in his straight-sets loss to unseeded Salvatore Caruso.
- Tomas Machac defeated fellow qualifier Vilella-Martinez, as the latter retired with injury. Machac (who would return serve from outside of the court behind the fence if it were allowed) likely will not even take a set from Berrettini in R2.
- In another Q vs. Q matchup, Carlos Alcaraz completely obliterated BVDZ. That makes 14 hard court wins in a row for Alcaraz now.  He gets Tsitsipas next and I would not be shocked if this is the first of 20+ matches between these two over the next decade.
- Quentin Halys lost in straights to Andujar, so that's a pretty bad result, honestly.


- Francesca Jones lost to in-form Shelby Rogers, 1 and 4.
- Olga Danilovic defeated 16-seed Martic and has in-form Shelby Rogers next.
- Whitney Osuigwe got double-breadsticked by Zhu Lin, proving that her qualifying was indeed a fluke and she is still awful at tennis. Good thing she's young.
- Elisabetta Cocciaretto won the first set on unseeded Mona Barthel, but was unable to win another.
- Mayar Sherif and Chloe Paquet played each other in R1, with Sherif's bigger game shining through in the critical moments, leading her to a 5 and 5 victory. She gets fellow qualifier Kaja Juvan in R2, who defeated Jo Konta via retirement.
- Clara Burel got off to a hot start against AVU, but couldn't keep it going, losing in 3.

10

(27 replies, posted in Australian Open)

Charles is going to send all of us to bed without dinner if we don't behave

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(27 replies, posted in Australian Open)

Johnny_Incognito wrote:

Please leave your political opinions out of the TENNIS forum. Thank you

...he said, after vomiting his political opinions all over the TENNIS forum.

12

(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Arvis wrote:
Aussie Open 2021 Qualifiers - Men

Frederico Ferreira Silva, 25, #182, Portugal
The rare European who prefers hard courts to clay. Has never won a Challenger title nor played in the main draw of a Slam.  Defeated #1 seed Gregoire Barrere 3 and 4 to qualify here.

Aslan Karatsev, 27, #112, Russia
Aslan "The Lion" started to really find a rhythm at the end of last year, but still fell short in French Open qualifying because he had the misfortune to run into a certain Sebastian Korda in QR3 there.  However, he has now finally gotten into his first ever Slam main draw.  And with some style, too, only dropping 6 games in QR2 and QR3 combined.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, 35, #301, Ukraine
This dude is still playing tennis??  This former World #33 and oldest Qualifier on the Men's side had a weak draw in qualies, facing not one but two Wild Card players, but credit to him for winning win he should win.  He'll make for an easy R1 opponent for just about anyone.  Has a career Slam match win rate of 40%.

Elias Ymer, 24, #204, Sweden
One of the promising young Ymer brothers, both of whom have not achieved the results many hoped they might.  Elias here absolutely crushed #5 Taro Daniel to qualify.  He is 1-6 all time in Slam main draws.  With a losing record on hard courts over his career, could he be a potential upset waiting to happen in R1?

Kimmer Coppejans, 26, #175, Belgium
A former Top 100 player, he managed 55 match wins in 2018.  However, his Tour record is a poor 3-13, and he is 0-2 all time in Slam main draws.  Still, he could be dangerous, and he proved that by knocking out #7 Damir Dzumhur 0 and 2 to qualify here.

Bernard Tomic, 28, #228, Australia
*sigh*

Maxime Cressy, 23, #168, USA
Known for being stupidly loud on court, this French-American upset fan favorite Dustin Brown to qualify for the AO this year. He is 1-1 all time in Slams and has a big enough game to get an upset here depending on his draw.



Aussie Open 2021 Qualifiers - Women

Greetje Minnen, 23, #110, Belgium
Won a good 3-set match against Lepchenko to qualify here.  This is her 2nd time successfully qualifying for the AO, having done so last year as well, and winning her R1 match before succumbing to Rybakina in R2.  Has the potential to be a dangerous floater in the draw.

Sara Errani, 33, #131, Italy
The former World #5 once made the quarterfinals here, almost a full decade ago in 2012 (where she beat the most lovely and precious and wonderful tennis player in history in the R16).  Errani needed 3 sets in all of her Q matches this year, but she has an 11-10 record at this tournament, and a 59-42 Slam record for her career. She has the experience to trouble younger players.

Timea Babos, 27, #115, Hungary
Big-serving Babos has not had to play Qualies here since 2012, having direct entry to the AO every year since then until now. Despite that, her record here is a miserable 3-8.  However, she did beat Schmiedlova in 3 sets to qualify here, despite being an underdog in that match.  It may be that she is peaking at the moment.

Mayo Hibi, 24, #182, Japan
This will be Hibi's first Slam main draw since the 2015 USO, and only her 2nd ever Slam main draw singles match. She seems to be in excellent form, not dropping a single set here in qualies, and not losing more than 4 games in a set. Last year was the worst of her career, finishing 7-13, the only year she ended with a losing record. She seems ready to make 2021 a much different experience.

Rebecca Marino, 30, #312, Canada
Well, this name is a blast from the past.  This will be her first time in a Slam main draw in 8 years, and she qualified without dropping a set. She did not play any pro tennis last year at all, and as a result is the lowest-ranked Qualifier here, so to start her 2021 campaign with this result is impressive.  Most impressive.  *breathing noises*

Valeria Savinykh, 29, #225, Russia
One of many young Russian women who never quite broke through (despite a career high rank of #99), Valeria is not content to end her career with a Slam record of only 2-2.  This is her 3rd time qualifying for the AO, but her first in the last 7 years.
True story: Adunar once came down with a terrible case of Valeria while backpacking across Europe. Stay safe, Ad.

Tsvetana Pironkova, 33, #136, Bulgaria
We all saw what the intensely charming Pironkova is still capable of just a few months ago at the USO, where she stomped her way to the QFs out of nowhere and even took a set off Serena.  Tsvetana played the AO main draw 12 years in a row, from 2006 to 2017, but never even made it to R3.  Could 2021 be her year here?

- Sergiy Stakohovsky lost in 5 tough sets to 23-seed Dusan Lajovic
- Maxime Cressy is into R2 to face Alex Zverev after a straight sets win over LL Taro Daniel.
- Frederico Ferreira Silva was routined in straights by Nick Kyrgios, a popular Yoda pick.
- Kimmer Coppejans was up 2 sets to 1 on Vesely but couldn't finish the job, losing in 5.
- Bernard Tomic's opponent, Yuichi Sugita, got injured and retired mid match. Tomic will go on to R2 to get slaughtered horribly by Shapovalov.
- Aslan Karatsev is into R2 easily, straight-setting Gianluca Mager. He faces Egor Garasiomov next and has a good chance to make the third round.

- Elias Ymer did manage to take a set off 8-seed Schwartzman, but lost in 4.

- Tsvetana Pironkova lost badly to Hsieh Su-wei. She looked terrible and let Hsieh make her uncomfortable on court.
- Sara Errani defeated 30-seed Qiang Wang! She gets Venus Williams next.
- Rebecca Marino defeating WC Kim Birrell and faces 19-seed Vondrousova in R2.

- Greet Minnen predictably lost in straights to 9-seed Petra Kvitova, but did her fair share of damage during the match.
- Mayo Hibi lost in two tought sets to Schmiedlova.
- Timea Babos toughed out a straight set win over LL Ysaline Bonaventure, screeching terribly in triumph after match point. She's very excited to be in the 2nd round of a Slam, where she will face unseeded Anastasia Potapova.
- Valeria Saviniykh was two points from upsetting Alize Cornet, but lost the deciding TB.

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(27 replies, posted in Australian Open)

Thanks so much, Drivers!  The Post of Awesomeness done by the Person of Awesomeness.

Adunar wrote:

Looks like I have all the most popular picks except the unseeded players.

I was torn between Zverev and Tsitsi. Initially had Sasha but was afraid of Rafa's back and Nole, so went with the greek.
Unseeded was between Struff, kyrgios and gerasimov.
For the women, halep or vika was the big question, went with the romanian. Mugu, svitolina or sabalanka were also on the radar...

And here I thought I would be the only one looking at Gerasimov, ha ha.

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(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

January 2021 Players of the Month

https://www.atptour.com/-/media/images/news/2021/01/31/20/46/quimper-2021-korda3.jpg
Sebastian Korda (20, #88, USA)
The only obvious choice for this award, Korda was runner up at the Tour-level Delray Beach tournament, nabbing 125 ranking points. A couple weeks later, he fought his way to the Quimper title for another 125 points, nabbing him a grand total of 250 for the month of January. Although he was close to defeat multiple times in Quimper, and even won his QF due to opponent retirement, he did win the final 1 and 1 for a convincing victory.

Honorable Mention: Jaume Munar (23, #103, Spain), won Atalya 2 title for 80 points


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dx-5W8WWkAA2KTT?format=jpg&name=medium
Irene Burillo-Escoriheula (23, #269, Spain)
Despite being out of the Top 200 to start the year, this promising young Spaniard won the Rome W60, coming back from a set down three times in a row starting in the QFs to take the title. Not only did she win the title, her biggest ever and first since 2017, but she did it as a Qualifier, defeating former Top 100 player Grace Min in the final as a 3:1 underdog. She netted herself 85 total points here.

Honorable Mentions:
Harmony Tan (23, #192, France), won a W60 title at a tournament in France with a name I won't even bother trying to type.

Jessica Bouzas-Maneiro (18, #279, Spain), won back to back W15s for 20 points, started the year 10-0.

Alex Eala (15, #942, Philippines), won her first pro title, gained 248 ranking spots, and is now the Philippines #1, all at age 15. What were YOU doing at that age?

15

(21 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Aussie Open 2021 Qualifiers - Men

Frederico Ferreira Silva, 25, #182, Portugal
The rare European who prefers hard courts to clay. Has never won a Challenger title nor played in the main draw of a Slam.  Defeated #1 seed Gregoire Barrere 3 and 4 to qualify here.

Carlos Alcaraz, 17, #141, Spain
This kid got some buzz at the end of last year in my Challenger Chat thread, and rightfully so. He won three Challenger titles last year (two of them came back-to-back), all on clay.  However, earlier in 2020, he played two hard court Futures events and won both of them.  Those were the only hard court matches he had last year, meaning he is now on a 13-match win streak on hard courts. He is 16-2 in his professional career on the surface. Obviously, at such a young age, this will be his first Slam main draw. He could technically still play Juniors here if he wanted (if they're even doing Juniors tournaments this year). He beat #2 Hugo Dellien 2 and 3 to qualify.

Aslan Karatsev, 27, #112, Russia
Aslan "The Lion" started to really find a rhythm at the end of last year, but still fell short in French Open qualifying because he had the misfortune to run into a certain Sebastian Korda in QR3 there.  However, he has now finally gotten into his first ever Slam main draw.  And with some style, too, only dropping 6 games in QR2 and QR3 combined.

Sergiy Stakhovsky, 35, #301, Ukraine
This dude is still playing tennis??  This former World #33 and oldest Qualifier on the Men's side had a weak draw in qualies, facing not one but two Wild Card players, but credit to him for winning win he should win.  He'll make for an easy R1 opponent for just about anyone.  Has a career Slam match win rate of 40%.

Elias Ymer, 24, #204, Sweden
One of the promising young Ymer brothers, both of whom have not achieved the results many hoped they might.  Elias here absolutely crushed #5 Taro Daniel to qualify.  He is 1-6 all time in Slam main draws.  With a losing record on hard courts over his career, could he be a potential upset waiting to happen in R1?

Quentin Halys, 24, #206, France
Once on the cusp of the Top 100, Halys is the quintessential journeyman, with a 53% career match win rate in Challengers, but only 22% at the Tour level.  It gets worse for him in Slam main draws, with an all time record of 2-9 there.  Defeated Robin Haase to qualify.

Kimmer Coppejans, 26, #175, Belgium
A former Top 100 player, he managed 55 match wins in 2018.  However, his Tour record is a poor 3-13, and he is 0-2 all time in Slam main draws.  Still, he could be dangerous, and he proved that by knocking out #7 Damir Dzumhur 0 and 2 to qualify here.

Michael Mmoh, 23, #174, USA
Points away from losing in QR2 to Ze Li, Mmoh is now entering his 9th career Slam main draw.  He's only ever won two matches in Slam main draws.

Tomas Machac, 20, #197, Czech
Mostly an indoor guy, this young kid just won his 9th, 10th, and 11th outdoor hard court matches ever to qualify for the AO. An able clay courter, he qualified for the French last year and lost in R1 in 5 sets to Taylor Fritz. He was a big favorite in all of his Q matches this week, and his career outdoor hard record is now up to 9-2.  Could he make some waves here?

Mario Vilella Martinez, 25, #186, Spain
It's-a me! Mario!  Not a plumber, our hero qualified for the AO last year to make his Slam main draw debut. He lost in 4 sets to Karen Khachanov, putting up an impressive fight.  His path to the main draw was easier this year with a walkover in QR2, but he still earned it with an underdog victory in QR3 over Wu Tung-Lin.  Let's-a go!

Viktor Troicki, 34, #202, Serbia
No idea who this is, but he's never been beyond the 3rd round at the AO.

Roman Safiullin, 23, #181, Russia
Another young-ish Russian grinder who is making his Slam main draw debut. Despite covid, he won his first career Challenger title last year, so his career is on an upward trend. At only 23, he may be familiar to all of us in time.

Botic Van De Zandschulp, 25, #156, Netherlands
Sporting the dumbest (or most awesome?) name on tour, BVDZ really came into his own on the Futures and Challenger circuit in 2016, but then underachieved for two years. He turned it back around in 2019 winning his first Challenger title. This will be his Slam main draw debut and only his 2nd-ever match on the Tour level.

Bernard Tomic, 28, #228, Australia
*sigh*

Henri Laaksonen, 28, #133, Switzerland
A long-time Swiss journeyman, Laaksonen squeaked past 22-year-old Croatian opponent Borna Gojo, 9-7 in a 3rd set TB, to qualify for the AO.  This will be Laaksonen's 7th Slam main draw and he'll be looking to get his 4th career Slam main draw singles win here in R1.

Maxime Cressy, 23, #168, USA
Known for being stupidly loud on court, this French-American upset fan favorite Dustin Brown to qualify for the AO this year. He is 1-1 all time in Slams and has a big enough game to get an upset here depending on his draw.



Aussie Open 2021 Qualifiers - Women

Kaja Juvan, 20, #104, Slovenia
The #1 player in the Q draw here, Juvan qualified without dropping a set.  She qualified last year as well, but was double-breadsticked in R1 by Dayana Yastremska.  She's 3-5 all time in Slams.

Francesca Jones, 20, #241, Britain
Born with 8 fingers and 7 toes, Francesca Jones has proven here that hard work can overcome quite a lot. She started to show some promise at the end of last year but was unable to have a true breakthrough.  Qualifying for a Slam, though, is more than a breakthrough.  This will be her first Slam.  She upset Jedi Masters favorite Jana Fett (cue Han Solo: "Jana Fett?!") in QR2, and then annihilated China's Lu Jia-Jing in QR3, 0 and 1, to qualify. Her R1 match will likely get some buzz, regardless of opponent or result.

Greetje Minnen, 23, #110, Belgium
Won a good 3-set match against Lepchenko to qualify here.  This is her 2nd time successfully qualifying for the AO, having done so last year as well, and winning her R1 match before succumbing to Rybakina in R2.  Has the potential to be a dangerous floater in the draw.

Sara Errani, 33, #131, Italy
The former World #5 once made the quarterfinals here, almost a full decade ago in 2012 (where she beat the most lovely and precious and wonderful tennis player in history in the R16).  Errani needed 3 sets in all of her Q matches this year, but she has an 11-10 record at this tournament, and a 59-42 Slam record for her career. She has the experience to trouble younger players.

Whitney Osuigwe, 18, #161, USA
Osuigwe has been getting a lot of hype amongst the US tennis cognoscenti, but so far has no truly big result to her name, with a 1-9 Tour record and 0-4 Slam record.  Qualifying here may change that, as she is in good enough form to beat the #5 and #22 players in the draw.  She's the youngest Women's Qualifier at the AO this year, so it's safe to assume that she will only improve with time.

Clara Burel, 19, #236, France
Speaking of very young, French teen Clara Burel did not let covid prevent her from making 2020 the best year of her career.  She played 36 matches last year (her previous high was only 26) and finished with a 21-15 record.  She currently maintains a winning record on all three surfaces she has played on: clay, outdoor hard, and indoor hard.  She made her Slam main draw debut here 2 years ago, but had no wins until a few months ago at the French, where she made waves by winning two matches.

Timea Babos, 27, #115, Hungary
Big-serving Babos has not had to play Qualies here since 2012, having direct entry to the AO every year since then until now. Despite that, her record here is a miserable 3-8.  However, she did beat Schmiedlova in 3 sets to qualify here, despite being an underdog in that match.  It may be that she is peaking at the moment.

Mayo Hibi, 24, #182, Japan
This will be Hibi's first Slam main draw since the 2015 USO, and only her 2nd ever Slam main draw singles match. She seems to be in excellent form, not dropping a single set here in qualies, and not losing more than 4 games in a set. Last year was the worst of her career, finishing 7-13, the only year she ended with a losing record. She seems ready to make 2021 a much different experience.

Olga Danilovic, 19, #183, Serbia
Another teen phenom, you may remember her (but probably not) from her utterly absurd run to the title in the 2018 Moscow 2 WTA tournament, where she beat (in order) Schmiedlova, Kanepi, #1 Goerges, #5 Sasnovich, and then wild card Potapova in the final to win it all.... at the age of 17... as a lucky loser!!
Despite that result, and despite reaching a career-high rank of #96 on the back of it, she has never played in a Slam main draw until now.

Chloe Paquet, 26, #187, France
This will be Paquet's first Slam outside of the French Open, where she has played 4 times and won one match. She did not face a seeded player in the Q draw here, but also failed to lose a single set on her way to the main draw. Let's see if she can perform better off of home soil.

Rebecca Marino, 30, #312, Canada
Well, this name is a blast from the past.  This will be her first time in a Slam main draw in 8 years, and she qualified without dropping a set. She did not play any pro tennis last year at all, and as a result is the lowest-ranked Qualifier here, so to start her 2021 campaign with this result is impressive.  Most impressive.  *breathing noises*

Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, #132, Italy
This Italian teen qualified for the AO last year, looking quite impressive in Qs, and then was rewarded with a match against Kerber in R1, where she had her head aslpoded with a 2 and 2 loss.  Her Q run this year wasn't as dominant, but perhaps we can see more what she is capable of with a kinder draw.  She has 4 career ITF titles, including 2 W60s in 2019. She already sports a career W-L record of 84-40, so she knows how to win matches.

Valeria Savinykh, 29, #225, Russia
One of many young Russian women who never quite broke through (despite a career high rank of #99), Valeria is not content to end her career with a Slam record of only 2-2.  This is her 3rd time qualifying for the AO, but her first in the last 7 years.
True story: Adunar once came down with a terrible case of Valeria while backpacking across Europe. Stay safe, Ad.

Tsvetana Pironkova, 33, #136, Bulgaria
We all saw what the intensely charming Pironkova is still capable of just a few months ago at the USO, where she stomped her way to the QFs out of nowhere and even took a set off Serena.  Tsvetana played the AO main draw 12 years in a row, from 2006 to 2017, but never even made it to R3.  Could 2021 be her year here?

Ludmilla Samsonova, 22, #127, Russia
Samsonova qualified here last year, too, but is 0-4 all time at Slams.  She had a good win over Tsurenko today to qualify, so depending on her draw she may finally get over that Slam hump here.

Mayar Sherif, 24, #128, Egypt
Everyone's favorite Egyptian player is looking very strong here in qualies.  She dropped a 6-2 set in QR2 to Grace Min, but besides that one bad set, she qualified without losing more than 3 games in a set.  She looked similarly impressive last year at the French, where she not only qualified but took a set off of Karolina Pliskova in R1.  Can she go one better here and win herself two sets in R1?

16

(11 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Man, I had Sabalenka as winner originally and then changed it up.  SCW to start the year! big_smile

17

(1 replies, posted in Help, Support & Feedback)

Yep, we have a guy who can fix it but he's an "I'll get to it when I get to it" type.

18

(17 replies, posted in French Open)

The Men's Winner picks need to be looked at as well.  Wish we could all help with this. '^__^

19

(17 replies, posted in French Open)

Drivers, your PoA work is amazing as always!

So, for fear of being rude, Nishikori would be on my list of Picks I Hate.  What is the upside there?  He's in awful form and needs to beat Rafa to be BPs.  He happened to avoid the -16, but that was a huge risk for almost zero chance of BPs.
But what the crap do I know?

20

(12 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

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.

21

(12 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

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

22

(12 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

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.

23

(13 replies, posted in US Open)

Wow, "Train Drivers" that is too adorable.  I'll be rooting for you guys now.

24

(54 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Djokovic def. Medvedev
DH: Raonic

Osaka def. Konta
DH: Brady

Charles, you've got the wrong Zverev as the #5 seed.