Week 9

The past four weeks I’ve worked a lot to improve Time-Line on my website, I created it in 2011 and neglected updating two years later… clicking on the link you can read about the most important players & occurrences of the Open Era in chronological order, and use another links to read what interesting happened in particular decades year by year


Comeback of four players of the broader elite (by this I mean current/former Top 10ers to play major semifinals at least) who didn’t participate in any tournament since Australian Open: Novak Đoković & Karen Khachanov [Dubai], Casper Ruud & Matteo Berrettini [Acapulco]. The Serb has now 378 weeks spent as the No. 1 surpassing Steffi Graff‘s record. He was the only off those four guys who could be moderately happy with his performance after the break, even though his 20-match winning streak is snapped, by Daniil Medvedev who claimed his third title within three weeks (!) becoming the first man to win back-to-back Arabian finals (since Doha was moved from January to February two years ago). It’s the third year running a Russian player triumphs in Dubai (Aslan Karatsev in 2021). Trivia: Maxime Cressy established a new record for double faults in a three set match (25); as many as four ‘lucky losers’ entered the event which is unique (none of them advanced to the second round though); defending champion Andrey Rublev survived 2R withstanding a quintuple match point in the 2nd set tie-break, he has won three MP-down matches this year; 39-year-old Tunisian Malek Jaziri [444, WC] played his last professional match, one of a few Arabs in the Top 50, played a lone ATP final (Istanbul ’18), but the biggest success he achieved in Dubai earlier that year, advancing to the semifinal, having eliminated the top seed in 1R.
Two heroes of the “Golden Swing” (Carlos Alcaraz, Cameron Norrie) were too tired to play a third consecutive Latin week after nine matches on clay in South America. They withdrew from Acapulco, pretty special event in the calendar in which almost all matches are played under the floodlights because the weather is punishing. During the day-time the temperature is above 30 degrees, in the evening when it drops (~25°C), the humidity (~90%) makes life very difficult on the court. It was especially visible in the semifinals: Tommy Paul vs Taylor Fritz, an intriguing battle “who is the best US player?”, created a new record of the event for the longest match (3 hours 25 minutes); both were suffering cramps in the decider (Fritz even vomited before the deciding tie-break). In the second semifinal, cramps also attacked Holger Rune, quite surprisingly already after the second set of his match against Alex de Minaur [22], so the new Danish star actually played the entire set barely walking to his chair during change of ends (he served a few times underhand). De Minaur has collected his biggest title to date; he generated the most energy for the weekend, the first two rounds helped him a lot to do it because his opponents were like guys taken out of the Futures circuit, ranked 1244 and 842. I’ve noticed this year that De Minaur improved his serve, he’s able to hit ~210 kph on a regular basis.
Nicolás Jarry [87] was a Top 40 player in 2019, then something bad happened to him; he suffered a 9-match losing streak,  Covid-19 came afterwards (overlapping his 10-month suspension for taking illegal substances)… he significantly dropped in the ranking, and needed to rebuild his career participating in the Challenger events over two years. He seems to be back to his 2019 form this year; last week he was two games away from a sensational win over Alcaraz in Brazil (semifinal; thanks to this got “special exempt”), this week in his native Chile he managed to go through to his fourth ATP final which he won being two points away from a straight set loss (three points away in the semifinal which he began with 1-6, 0:2). The last stage of the “Latin February”, featured only one Top20er, Lorenzo Musetti, who is out of form this year.


California… The first Mercedes Super 9 event of the season. The 56 draw (it’ll be increased to 64 in 2000, and to 96 four years later, prolonging the event to two weeks) which means the top 8 seeds had ‘bye’ in the first round. Three Top 10 players of 1992 withdrew (Becker, Lendl, Krajicek). It was the first event when Pete Sampras could advance to No. 1. He entered the event with an injury (strained ligaments in his right foot) and was ousted already in the third round by an unorthodox Alexander Volkov [22]. “If I would have come here and not (practiced) like I wanted, I would have pulled out. But I was able to play on it and I think it was the right move.” said Sampras about his first attempt to reach the pinnacle of the tennis world. Jim Courier responded well to his challenger, capturing the IW title for the second time (previously two years earlier). The red-haired American dropped just one set during the week, despite facing five demanding opponents; in the quarterfinal against fellow red-haired guy Marc Rosset, avenging defeats at the Olympics and Davis Cup a year before… The luck finally abandoned Michael Stich. Between October ’92 and March ’93 he won as many as nine matches (including Hopman Cup) being five points away from defeat or closer, not losing once as he put himself in a similar position to leave the court as the winner. The magic disappeared in the 2R against Fabrice Santoro, whom Stich had barely defeated two months earlier in Australia. Stich was within two points to notch his fifth MP-down victory in a short period of time as he’d saved 5 match points trailing *4:5 in the 3rd set to get 5-all in the deciding tie-break. Santoro ultimately prevailed 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 withstanding four match points in the second set tie-break.
Russian serve-and-volleyer, Andrei Olhovskiy [87], associated with the Challenger circuit for a few years, entered the year 1993 for the first time as a regular ATP Tour player, and claimed his maiden title in Denmark. The circumstances were favorable, he saved a lot of energy thanks to two Swedes (one of them retired after only six games, the other one gave him a walkover in the semifinal).
…Finals 2023…
Acapulco (ATP 500, hard outdoors)
 (8)🇦🇺Alex de Minaur d. (7)🇺🇸Tommy Paul 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
Dubai (ATP 500, hard outdoors)
(3)🇷🇺Daniil Medvedev d. (2)🇷🇺Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-2
Santiago (ATP 250, clay outdoors)
(SE)🇨🇱Nicolás Jarry d. 🇦🇷Tomás M. Etcheverry 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-2
🇫🇷Sensationally long 3-set “tie-break” matches indoors occurred in the Pau final (Challenger 125): in an all-French duel, 18-year-old Luca van Assche defeated Ugo Humbert 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 after 3 hours 56 minutes, saving a double match point in the deciding tie-break (total points: 141-139)
…Finals 1993…
Indian Wells ($1.400M, hard outdoors)
(1)🇺🇸Jim Courier d. (14)🇿🇦Wayne Ferreira 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
Copenhagen ($175K, carpet indoors)
🇷🇺Andrey Olhovskiy d. (5)🇸🇪Nicklas Kulti 7-5, 3-6, 6-2

This entry was posted in Tournaments. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply