2nd Week

Although he never reached the Top 20, Julien Benneteau [39] in my opinion deserves to win an ATP title. The Frenchman has beaten in the last few years Federer, Tsonga and Ferrer, he played equal matches against Djokovic, Murray and Nadal during that time. Unfortunately for him after Sydney, he joins three players who lost the most finals haven’t won any. Jarkko Nieminen [49], who got the title, was very hungry too. He waited six years for his second title, in the meantime – like his final opponent – lost five straight finals. Nieminen becomes the first qualifier to win an ATP tournament since Sergiy Stakhovsky (St. Petersburg 2009). The final was delayed one day due to heavy rain. “I don’t have a good record in finals, but I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong in the ones I’ve played” concluded the Finnish veteran.
Just like a year ago, the top-seeded David Ferrer was a main favorite to get the title in Auckland and he did it in a convincing style winning four required matches. The same number of matches won an unseded beaten finalist Olivier Rochus, who delivered the most entertaining encounters throughout the week. The shortest player on the tour won three marathons in a row (Belucci – 3:12; Paire 2:29 & Kohlschreiber – 2:28). Ferrer, who collected his 12th title, triumphed in New Zealand for the third time, his initial victory comes from 2007, when the tournament consisted of 32-draw (28-draw since 2009).

Finals

Sydney (250)
S: (q)Jarkko Nieminen d. Julien Benneteau 6-2, 7-5
D: (1)B.Bryan/M.Bryan d. M.Ebden/J.Nieminen 6-1, 6-4

Auckland (250)
S: (1)David Ferrer d. Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-4
D: (1)O.Marach/A.Peya d. (3)F.Cermak/F.Polasek 6-3, 6-2

Choker of the week:
Thomaz Bellucci in Auckland. He was two points away on 3 different occasions to win the 1st set against Olivier Rochus, and led 4:2 in the 3rd set to lose 6-7, 7-5, 6-7 in 3 hours 12 minutes. He is now 2-7 in the deciding 3rd set tie-break (the main level) – the worst ratio among the regular ATP players… there was an interesting match in doubles (Sydney). The doubles legends Nestor and Mirnyi won first 8 games against an experimental pair Ebden/Nieminen to lose at the end 6-0, 4-6, [4-10]!
# The most losing finals without a title:
6Pierre Barthes (1969-72), Steve Denton (1981-84), Lawson Duncan (1985-90) & Julien Benneteau (2008-12); 5Georges Goven (1970-75), Carlos Kirmayr (1976-82), Martin Damm (1996-98), Daniel Vacek (1994-99)
* Barthes and Goven began their careers in the pre-Open era, they aren’t titless considering this period of the history of tennis
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9 Responses to 2nd Week

  1. Wanaro Evernden says:

    Benneteau had a match point against n°1 Nadal in Cincinnati 2010 !
    He beat Federer n°1 in Paris 2009.
    he beat many good players : Djokovic, Nadal, Hewitt, Roddick, Blake, Gonzalez, Davydenko.
    1/4 in French open (WO Alberto Martin), 1/4 in Masters 1000 (LL he had a bye in Cincinnati)
    Yes he deserves to win an ATP title, more than Mahut, (but Nicolas was much close to winning a tournament 😉

  2. Voo de Mar says:

    According to my stats, his loss to Nadal was the first one in career holding a match point, the second one ocurred last year against Nieminen in Monte Carlo. He beat Djokovic when the Serb was No. 67 😛

    • Wanaro Evernden says:

      … and Nadal in… october 2004… when he was n°50… in Lyon (France)… on carpet indoor. 6-3, 6-0
      Nadal takes revenge in january 2005 at the Australian Open… 0-6, 4-6, 2-6.

      I don’t know for monte carlo, thanks !

  3. St-Denis says:

    Hi! Happy new year!
    Before Nieminen, Sergiy Stakhovsky was the last qualifier to win an ATP tournament in : St. Petersburg (I) 2009 , d. Horacio Zeballos 2/6 7/6(8) 7/6(7)
    Nieminen was a wild card in final with his partner Matthew Ebden… And Ebden was the last wild card winner in double with Ryan Harrison in Newport 2011! Lol!
    I guess it’s a rare situation to be in final with a wild-card and a qualification! Great week for Jarkko Nieminen!

  4. Voo de Mar says:

    Indeed St-Denis, thanks for correction, Bellucci was next to last. The tired Nieminen (12 matches last week) retired today against Nalbandian after a set and a half. Btw, Nieminen played the longest tie-break (14-12) in his career last Friday. I mean in singles, because in doubles he was involved in a marathon tie-break 2 years ago, along with Kontinen lost to Dustin Brown / Martin Emmrich 6-7(17), 6-0, [7-10] – Challenger in Helsinki.

  5. St-denis says:

    Hi Voo de mar,
    About Pierre Barthès, he won at least 4 finals during his career in amateur era (Paris Albert Cup, Cairo, Caracas, Istanbul… maybe more) and, Georges Goven too, it would be better not to take into account players who had an intense career before 1968 with pros and amateur like Barthès or only in amateur like Goven.

  6. Voo de Mar says:

    Thx for the input St-denis, you’re right, the issue with pre-Open era and Open era is sometimes a bit confusing.
    I think about writing a book about the best players of the Open era in the next few years and I suppose I’ll include there only players who started their careers in the Open era. If some stats are included to the book, they will concern only the Open era players, thus for example Barthes and Goven will be excluded.

  7. St-Denis says:

    Yes.. Or otherwise bringing significant information for people who know nothing about tennis of the twentieth century, especially around 1968-1969, you could point out (with a color) that they are players of the amateur era and open era too, bringing this indication it may be more interesting, to your good blog (with all your stats, news, previous records and more…) about tennis since April 1968 at Bournemouth when it became open. For example, I think about Rod Laver, we know that he won 11 grand slam tournaments in amateur (6) and open era (5), well we can’t or you cannot exclude, his victories in amateur era, one of the greatest career of the tennis history… Barthès, Goven, Laver and all kind of players, it would be wiser to keep them in your blog. Are you interested by the tennis in amateur era?… Maybe there’ll be a place for this period? An incredible and intense period for this tennis! :)

  8. Voo de Mar says:

    Thx St-Denis, I’ll be implementing in stats here your point of view :)
    I’m interested in the whole history of tennis, but I decided to write my e-book about the Open era thus my website (I treat it more this way than in terms of a ‘blog’) is in some sense the extension of my e-book. Nevertheless I’m open to talk here about the pre-Open era, sometimes mentioning this period in my entries.

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