Week 10-11


This year the “Sunshine Double” without two legends: Rafael Nadal (recovers from injury) & Novak Đoković (vaccination status). Nadal, last year’s Indian Wells runner-up, is out of the Top 10 in the newest ranking for the first time in 18 years (912 weeks)! Carlos Alcaraz took advantage of Đoković’s absence and came back to No. 1. He has surpassed 100 matches won at the main-level (one match fewer to do this needed only John McEnroe, 1979). In the windy & cloudy final, the teenage sensation overpowered Daniil Medvedev, who was on a 19-match winning streak playing four events week-by-week (previously so efficient within a month was Goran Ivanišević in 1996… title-runner.up-title-title). “It means a lot to me. To recover the No. 1 [ranking] is crazy for me,” Alcaraz said after the final. “But especially to lift the trophy here for me means a lot… I love this tournament. I really enjoy my time here and of course I felt the love from the people from day one. For me, it’s amazing to complete these 10 days like this.” Alcaraz didn’t drop a set en route to the title, the toughest match he had in the semifinal when faced a set point against Jannik Sinner (saved it with a combination dropshot-volley, FH side both shots). Félix Auger-Aliassime notched a rare feat withstanding a triple match point at two junctions of his fourth round encounter with Tommy Paul. The Canadian trailed *5:6 (0/40) in the decider, later on *3:6 in the tie-break before winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (three of six m.p. he saved with unreturned serves; Paul had a relatively good position to convert his second m.p.). Good period for the Chilean tennis lately; Nicolás Jarry recently won a title in Santiago, he couldn’t play at Indian Wells, but his compatriots (Cristian Garín & Alejandro Tabilo) – as qualifiers – advanced to the fourth round. Matteo Berrettini suffers a crisis; the tall Italian was a Top 10er for three years, after the Australian Open he dropped outside the Top 20 and it doesn’t seem he would return where he was: at Indian Wells he lost his opening match, and decided to take part in a Challenger in Phoenix (his first event at this level in four years) where he was beaten again by a player ranked outside the Top 100 (this time in the quarterfinal). Gaël Monfils [210] unsuccessfully came back to the tour after a 7-month hiatus (foot injury), he turns 37 this year, tough to expect he might be dangerous again.


After the “Sunshine Double” Pete Sampras maintained status quo from a situation three weeks earlier. Before Indian Wells ’93 he had a chance to become No. 1, but lost in the third round while Jim Courier claimed the title. At Key Biscayne (the only two-week event outside Slams then) the roles were reversed: Courier was sensationally ousted in the fourth round while Sampras finished as a champion. The new-comer Marcos Ondruska continued his impressive run in the US events; the young South African almost advanced to the final having eliminated two top players (Chang, Stich) – in the 172-minute semifinal he squandered a double break advantage, then led 5:4 on serve in the deciding tie-break, but ultimately succumbed to MaliVai Washington 6-2, 4-6, 6-7(5). Ondruska seemed to be on his way to become a Top 20 player at least, but it was basically the finish of his development at the age of 20, and to the end of his career nine years later he would not win three straight matches at this level (in Florida he almost won six). It was a unique event for Boris Becker. The German who as struggling with an injury in February, arrived in Florida, but in the second round he got a walkover, whereas in the third round he was unable to play because his injury renewed & withdrew, so he received a check ($8,400) not hitting a ball while four other players, earned the same amount of money for playing five matches (three qualifiers and a lucky loser). Vincent Spadea [524, WC], the Orange Bowl ’92 champion, began his very long career at the main-level with a first round win over Andrés Gómez, on the verge of retirement then. Andre Agassi, similarly to Indian Wells, disappointed, but he began the event in impressive style: in his first two matches he had a streak of 19 games won in a row (!) once he withstood a double set point vs Aaron Krickstein. “I’ve always had the shots,” Agassi said after that win. “My game has been good enough to do better than what I’ve done. The one part I needed to spend energy on was my mental approach and discipline and concentration level and commitment to the sport. And that’s what I’ve really been working on.” People were speculating that it’d be his season, but he needed to wait another two years to fulfill his tremendous potential.
During two weeks of Key Biscayne, two minor tournaments were played on two different surfaces. Aragon, in the semifinal Karel Novacek [17] avenged a Rotterdam defeat to Anders Järryd two weeks before, and collected his 12th title, not playing even once at 5-all in five matches which was quite unusual given the fast surface… Björn Borg [762] lost his penultimate match in Spain, leaving a good impression against the best Portuguese of the 90s, João Cunha Silva [113].
The defending champion Guillermo Pérez-Roldán claimed his last title, in Morocco. The Argentine [44] who built his career almost entirely on clay-court events, was one of the most successful teenagers in the late 80s (peaked in 1988 reaching the final in Rome), but at the age of 24 he already reached his physical limitations (right wrist). In Casablanca, just like a year before, he began his season. The beaten finalist, local favorite, 22-year-old Younes el Aynaoui [243], played just his fifth main-level event (third in Casablanca). El Aynaoui gained self-confidence upon that final and several good results at the Challenger circuit, helped him to make a transition to the ATP Tour in the second half of the year.
…Finals 2023…
Indian Wells (Masters 1000, hard outdoors) – week 10/11
(1)🇪🇸Carlos Alcaraz d. (5)🇷🇺Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2
Phoenix (Challenger 175; hard outdoors) – week 11
(alt.)🇵🇹Nuno Borges vs. (q)🇷🇺Alexander Shevchenko 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
…Finals 1993…
Key Biscayne ($1.400M, hard outdoors) week 10/11
(2)🇺🇸Pete Sampras d. (14)🇺🇸MaliVai Washington 6-3, 6-2
Saragossa ($175K, carpet indoors) week 10
(1)🇨🇿Karel Nováček d. (4)🇸🇪Jonas Svensson 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
Casablanca ($175K, clay outdoors) week 11
(3)🇦🇷Guillermo Pérez-Roldán d. (WC)🇲🇦Younes el Aynaoui 6-4, 6-3
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