Re: Challenger Chat

That's two Challenger titles in a row for Florian.

Re: Challenger Chat

Fantastic Arvis!
Peruvishina and Blinkova, eh?  They are now on my radar...!

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

Re: Challenger Chat

Pervushina is definitely the more promising of the two, as of right now.  Could very easily change, of course.  Tennis history is littered with promising teens that never lived up to their early results.

Incidentally, little Claire Liu decided to play another Juniors tournament since she didn't get a USO Qualies WC like she got last year.  While her Pro results this year have been mediocre-to-good, she is utterly destroying her competition in the garishly-named Prince George's County International Hard Court Junior Tennis Championships.  She's won 3 matches to get to the Quarters, dropping only 9 games along the way and feeding her 2nd round opponent a double-bagel.  Liu is the tournament's #2 seed.

Re: Challenger Chat

Arvis wrote:

By the way, guys, an up-and-coming WTA player to keep an eye on: a 20-year-old German named Antonia Lottner.

She's played her last 29 matches straight on clay and, until July started, had a 6/10 record on the surface.  Not good.  That run of form culminated in a 3 and 1 loss to Patty Schnyder at the end of June.  Yikes.
However, a few days after that, she entered a $50k event in Versmold and had 2 good solid wins.  After that is when everything seemed to change for her.
She ended up coming back from a set down to win in 3 straight matches, defeating Ipek Soylu, Sorana Cirstea, and then Thereza Smitkova in the final to take her highest level (by a long shot) ITF trophy to date.  In the semis and final, she had to tough out a 7-5 second set before running away with the third.  Although the manner of her victory may be attributed to a lack of conditioning or mental toughness on the part of her opposition, the fact is her steady play saw her through each of these higher-ranked opponents.

After taking a few weeks off from this major victory, she entered the qualifying of a $75k event last week.  She proceeded to qualify easily, only dropping 11 total games in 3 matches.  That run of dominating form did not end when she entered the main draw.  She did not drop a single set until the semis, where she beat Rebecca Peterson and then Carina Witthoeft in 3 sets to win the tournament, officially one-upping her best career title in her very next tournament.  In both of those 3-set wins, Lottner WON the first set and then fought off 2nd set letdowns, flipping the script from her previous tournament win, proving that she's capable of toughing out wins under any circumstances.

With that run, she's on a 13-match win streak.  If she can handle a transition to hard courts, she might be someone to look out for in USO qualies.

Has anyone noticed that this Antonia (not Andrea) Lottner I reported on a few weeks ago is in the final round of USO qualies?  Looks like she's taking her good clay form right onto the American hard courts.  If she wins today, she could prove tricky for whoever she draws in Round 1.

Last edited by Arvis (Aug. 28, 2016 7:42am)

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Lottner did it!  She's in the main draw.  I'll be interested to see if she'll land on a tv court.

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Do we know who she will meet yet Arvis? Lots of 'quicksand' in the Women's draw I reckon, after a quick look!

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

Very interesting stuff Arvis. I started to follow Milos when he was just starting to make his move in the challengers because we shared our name and look where he is today.

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Re: Challenger Chat

Yeah, BHP, I bet you're pretty invested in Raonic after that, eh? smile
Speaking of Lottner, she's facing Vania King in the first round, as you probably know by now.  I honestly think that, despite how well Lottner is playing, Vania might still be too much for her.  However, if Vania's heart is still hurting from her choke in the finals of Nanchang, then Lottner should have no problem.

Incidentally, little Claire Liu DID go on to win that Juniors tournament she entered last week, just as I predicted she would.  Although she did drop sets in the semis and final, she was still a class above all her peers in that tournament.  Really excited to see if she makes more progress in pro tournaments in 2017.

Re: Challenger Chat

Keep your eyes on Christian Ruud from Norway guys. He just won the challenger in Seville doubling his ranking points from 90 to 180! He is just 17 and started to focus on senior tournaments this year. I think this win will take him inside the top 300 smile

Re: Challenger Chat

Thanks for that heads-up, HTS.  I'll be looking for him. smile

So guess who won a Challenger last week, everyone?  That's right: JERZY JANOWICZ!  Is the Pole getting ready to make another improbable Paris run?  He beat Almagro in the final of Genova.
Janowicz started slow, being taken to 7-5 in the 3rd against someone named Lorenzo Sonego, a 21 year old Italian ranked #263.  After that, though, he beat 2nd-seeded Zeballos, before needing a 3rd set tiebreak in the semis to take out Carlos Berlocq.

In Barranquilla, the top seeds mostly held down their rankings, with the #1, #2, #3, and #5 seeds all playing the semis, with #1 Diego Schwartzman beating #3 Rogerio Dutra Silva in the finals.  DSS continues to show promise.

In Shanghai Challenger, Swiss #4 Henri Laaksonen claimed victory, beating 6th-seed Jason Jung, of Taipei, in the finals.  Jung beat #1 seed Jordan Thompson to get there, while #2 seed Ito lost in the first round.

HTS previously reported on Casper Ruud from Norway, who won the Seville challenger.  Ruud beat the 5th, 1st, and 3rd seeds to do it.  He's now ranked #274.  Incidentally, "Christian Ruud" was a player back in the 90s, ranked #39 in 1995.

In Alphen (somewhere in the Netherlands), Struff beat Haase in the final.  This may or may not mean anything at all for Struff, who struggled in his DC match today, needing 5 sets to take out 277th ranked Pole Kamil Majchrzak.

And lastly, in St. Remy, France, Daniil Medvedev beat Joris de Loore in the finals.  Both players were unseeded.  It's Medvedev's first career Challenger title.

This week, Korean darling Hyeon Chung, who has been slumping hard for the entirety of 2016, is into the final of a Challenger in Nanchang.  Could this be the start of a turnaround for him?

In Istanbul, not only the are the Top 4 seeds all in the semis, but they've only dropped one set between them along the way.


On the women's side, Kristyna Pliskova took some encouragement from her sister's breakthrough USO performance to win the Dalian 125k tournament.  However, she was 2 points from losing the final set 6-2 when her opponent, Misa Eguchi of Japan, busted her knee so badly she could no longer play and was carried off on a stretcher.
So... not a good win, but still a win.  Pliskova's opponent in the semis retired also.  Still, she had two good wins against Rebecca Peterson and Aleksandra Krunic (after almost losing to Kai-Chen Chang in the first round).

And it wouldn't be another week of ITF Women's tennis if we didn't have another Russian teen winning a tournament.  This week, it's 19-year-old Veronika Kudermetova, winning a $25k in Telavi, Georgia.  This is her 2nd $25k title out of 4 finals this year.

In the $50k in Budapest, #2 seed Irina Khromacheva (21, Russia) beat #6 seed Cindy Burger (23, Netherlands) in the final.  Khromacheva claimed her 2nd career $50k title and now sits at her career highest ranking of 106 in the world.

And for our last tournament of last week, we have the $25k in Sofia, Bulgaria.  Did you think we were done talking about Russian ladies?  HA!  It is to laugh.  This one, though, is 24 years old: world #219 Viktoria Kamenskaya took the title here as the tournament's 5th seed.  She beat home hope Viktoriya Tomova in the finals.  This is Kamenskaya's 2nd $25k title this year.  After not playing any tennis in 2013 and 2014, she is playing the best tennis of her life at the moment and could conceivably break the Top 200 for the first time ever.

Re: Challenger Chat

Fantastic summary, Arvis!  Keep it up!

(the future is here!)

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

Re: Challenger Chat

Thanks, Dwight!

In Szczecin, Poland, last week, we had a pretty big upset in the final: 198th ranked Italian Alessandro Giannessi beat Top 100 favorite Dustin Brown.  Giannessi is a 26 year old journeyman who was ranked in the 120s back in 2012.  This is his first career Challenger title and it just got him 53 ranking spots to get back inside the Top 150.

In Nanchang, China, where James McGee (see below) was supposed to be playing, unseeded Japanese Hiroki Moriya won his 2nd Challenger.  He beat resurgent young Korean Hyeon Chung in the final and is up to #165.  Chung, who made waves all over the Challenger circuit in 2015, is still nowhere near his career high from 11 months ago (#51), but this runner-up showing did move him up 11 spots to #134.  His 4 wins here in Nanchang are his only 4 Challenger wins all year, out of 2 tournaments.  He's 8-13 at the Tour level in 2016.

Malek Jaziri continues to tear up the Challenger circuit in 2016.  He won the Istanbul challenger as the top seed, beating the 2nd seed, Dudi Sela, in the final for his THIRD Challenger title of the year (6th all time).  He's just outside the Top 50 now.  Dude's playing some good ball at age 32.

In some place in Bosnia called Baño Looker, another Challenger darling won: 21 year old Czech Adam Pavlaszek.  "Dude Pavs" won his very first Challenger last year, and this is his third all time.  However, this is his THIRD year in a row that he has won at least 30 matches on clay.  He breaks into the Top 100 with this win, and is now ranked 80th.

And now we reach the aforementioned Irishman James McGee, in the Cary Challenger in North Carolina USA.  He was scheduled to play in Nanchang, but couldn't get a Visa into China.  So instead, he got entry into the Cary QUALIFYING tournament.  Not only did he qualify, he won his first ever Challenger title, winning 8 matches in a row and defeating #1 seed Novikov along the way.  He's now the 3rd Irishman to win a Challenger title.

And in Meknes, Morocco, 8th-seed Maximillian Marterer also gets his first career Challenger title, doing it in impressive fashion without dropping a set.  5th-seed Uladzimir Ignatik took him to a first set tiebreak in the final, but that's the most challenge Marterer received for the entirety of the tournament.  He did not face a seeded player until Ignatik in the final.


Last week saw another first time $25k winner in Hodmezovasarhely, Hungary.  A 21-year-old Romanian named Irina Maria Bara won it as the 7th seed, defeating an inform unseeded Serb named Dejana Radanovic.
Bara has won a few $10ks in singles, but has won many more titles in Doubles.  She's now just barely in the Top 300 in Singles, at #297.

The story is similar in the Lubbock, Texas USA $25k tournament.  18-year-old Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova won here as the 2nd seed.  She is actually the owner of EIGHT $10k titles, earning her first one at just 16.  But this is her first win at this level.  Her opponent in the final here is a British player, Freya Christie, who has the dubious distinction of being named after a Norse fertility/sex goddess.  What were her parents thinking??
Had Freya managed to win, this would have been her first career Singles title at any pro level.

The Dobrich $25k in Bulgaria had a bit of a surprise winner: unseeded Kathinka von Deichmann, of Liechtenstein.  She defeated the top seed of the tournament, Shinikova, even feeding her a bagel in the first set.  KVD is 22 and, like the others last week, has just gotten her first $25k title.  She has also won 3 $10ks this year.

And in the last $25k of last week before we get to the three big ITF tournaments, we have GUESS WHAT another Russian teen!  19-year-old Anastasiya Komardina won here for her 3rd career title at this level.  Interestingly, she beat a fellow Russian teen reported on last week, Viktoria Kamenskaya, in the semifinals.  A Nadal fan, Komardina almost broke into the Top 200 at the end of 2015, but is currently ranked #253.

There were also two $50k tournaments last week.  Atlanta, Georgia USA hosted one of them.  The runner-up here is the infamous Melanie Oudin, who I am sure you all remember.  Oudin actually has actually won 6 $50ks in her career, but none since 2013 and nothing at any other level, oddly.  Incidentally, Oudin is from Georgia, so this was like a hometown tournament for her, almost.
However, the actual WINNER here is a Belgian who we've seen in WTA events once or twice this year: #1 seed Elise Mertens.  Mertens didn't face a seeded player all tournament, although she did dispose of Oudin easily in the final, who had previously beaten Paula Goncalves and Laura Robson.  Mertens is only 20, and is poised to break into the Top 100 soon, at #122.  This is her 2nd career $50k.

The other $50k last week was all the way on the other side of the planet in Zhuhai, China.  Former world #35 Olga Govortsova won here.  She finished 2015 at #69 but is currently out of the Top 200.  Not sure what happened, but probably injury.  She had to tough out two 3-set wins against Vera Lapko (17, Belarus, #348) and Jia-Jing Lu (26, China, #236) before crushing 5th-seeded Ipek Soylu in the final.

And finally, we have a rare $100k ITF tournament to report on for last week.  Biarritz, France, hosted the high level tournament, which boasted Pauline Parmentier and Sorana Cirstea as its top two seeds.  So which household name walked away with the money and points?  Why, 19-year-old Slovak Rebecca Sramkova of course!  Sramkova had never even won a $50k before, but did win her first two $25ks this year.  She finished 2015 at #312, but is now up to #126 in the world.  She defeated the aforementioned Cirstea in the semis here.  Might we see more of this young lady soon?
Her opponent in the final is an interesting story as well: a 22-year-old Italian named Martina Trevisan who had to qualify to get into the tournament.  She defeated 7th-seeded Cindy Burger in a 3rd set tiebreak in the first round before going on to STOMP Parmentier in the quarters 4 and 1.

Re: Challenger Chat

Amazing summary, Arvis.
So the winners were: Giannessi, Moriya, Jaziri, Pavlaszek, McGee, Marterer
Bara, Kuzmova, von Deichmann, Komardina, Mertens, Govortsova, Sramkova

all over the map, but a lot of eastern Europeans...
I wonder which of these have the brightest futures?

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

Re: Challenger Chat

Mertens. She has had a lot of wins lately and got through a lot of wta tournament qualies this year.

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Re: Challenger Chat

Adunar is right, but Sramkova's win could also be a sign of things to come, at only 19.  A lot of the guys listed are pretty old (for tennis players).  Especially Jaziri and McGee.

Re: Challenger Chat

As a big fan of Canadian tennis, I decided to look at prospects of rising star Denis Shapovalov, the highest ranked 17 year old on the ATP.

I'm using as an indicator:  yearend ranking when player was 17.

My population (open era only) has 3 groups
1. Players who spent about 100 weeks or more in the top 10 but did not win a slam in their career (29 players)
2. Players who won 1-4 slams (30 players)
3. Players who won 5 or more slams (12 players)

Shapovalov currently has a ranking of 245 and his race ranking is 213.  So I'm pegging his ranking about 230 even though we haven't reached yearend yet.

Of group 1, players who had substantial top 10 careers but did not win a slam, only one had a yearend ranking better than 230 (Gasquet)

Of group 2, players with 1-4 career slams, five had yearend rankings better than 230 (Del Potro, Hewitt, Safin, Chang, Cash)

Of group 3, 5+ slammers, 8 had yearend rankings better than 230 (Djokovic, Nadal, Sampras, Agassi, Becker, Edberg, Wilander, Borg) and 4 had worse rankings (Connors, McEnroe, Federer, and Lendl)

It looks like Shaps is in the neighbourhood of group 2.
There are a few 1's around the 230 ranking, but mostly they don't get prominent till below 400.  More than half the 3's (5+ slammers) have a ranking  better than 100 by yearend age 17.

Here's the list

Ranking - Player - Group
5 Chang 2
18 Borg 3
25 Agassi 3
44 Cash 2
49 Nadal 3
53 Edberg 3
66 Becker 3
69 Wilander 3
93 Gasquet 1
97 Sampras 3
100 Hewitt 2
157 Del Potro 2
186 Djokovic 3
203 Safin 2
230 Shapovalov --
231 Enqvist 1
235 Corretja 1
239 Teltscher 1
264 McEnroe 3
294 Ancic 1
301 Federer 3
305 Noah 2
311 Muster 2
333 Bruguera 2
346 Courier 2
371 Ivanisevic 2
398 Berdych 1
411 Murray 2
444 Soderling 1
483 Rios 1
500 Tsonga 1
532 Nalbandian 1
576 Ljubicic 1
587 Cilic 2
588 Norman 1
603 Nishikori 1
636 Tipsarevic 1
660 Wawrinka 2
668 Ferrero 2
670 Kuerten 2
737 Coria 1
747 ACosta 2
794 Korda 2
813 Gaudio 2
838 Kyrgios --
861 Grosjean 1
921 Thiem --
1057 Gonzalez 1
1332 Verdasco 1
1386 Raonic 1
unranked at age 17
UR Connors 3
UR Lendl 3
UR Edmondson 2
UR Teacher 2
UR Kriek 2
UR Gomez 2
UR Stich 2
UR Krajicek 2
UR Rafter 2
UR Kafelnikov 2
UR TJohansson 2
UR Moya 2
UR Roddick 2
UR GMayer 1
UR Curren 1
UR Clerc 1
UR Jarryd 1
UR Gilbert 1
UR Henman 1
UR Blake 1
UR Davydenko 1
UR Ferrer 1

Interesting how much worse off Thiem #921 and Kyrgios #838 (current darlings of the ATP) are than Shaps.

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

Re: Challenger Chat

Fascinating analysis. Thanks for sharing. smile

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

Michael Chang was #5 at age 17???

Re: Challenger Chat

Yes, he is the youngest ever to win a slam singles title at just over 17 in 1989.

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

Re: Challenger Chat

Decided to look at some of the young gun players' (and a couple others) end of year ranking when they were 17

AZverev 136
Tiafoe 176
Duckhee Lee 229
Tomic 286
Youzhny 286
Coric 303
SKozlov 351
Rublev 437
Dimitrov 493
Edmund 561
Baghdatis 573
Halys 705
Rubin 767
Vesely 868
Monfils 925
Ruud 1139
TFritz 1151
Opelka 1199
Pouille 1618
Goffin unranked
Isner unranked

Alexander Zverev looks promising as a potential future slam winner.
Tiafoe's ranking is a little deceptive since he was only days from his 18th birthday in January at yearend age 17.

Last edited by dwightcharles (Sep. 22, 2016 7:15pm)

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