Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Miss Sarajevo (go to Indian Wells instead)

Another quick one today! But it won't rhyme and I might actually say something of substance. More substantial than yesterday, at any rate. There really is precious little to write about at the moment, and it might remain that way until Indian Wells starts. But not long now!

Those who aren't trying their luck in Indian Well qualies are mostly in Sarajevo for a Challenger. (A Challenger without a scoreboard, which makes it fiendishly difficult to follow.) Among them is my main man Nicolas Mahut, who has dropped ten places in the rankings (sadface), but is still in the top hundred. He's seeded #3 and he beat Frederik Nielsen in straight sets in a rematch of their third round qualies match at the Australian Open. He's play Roberto Batista-Agut next, whom I clearly know a lot about. He is the next Bogomolov to me, just you wait.

Anyway. The reason Nico dropped those ten ranking places is because he failed to defend his Cherbourg title. (Though he did make the final, so ten places seems a little extreme... but that's just what the mobility level is like once you're out of the top thirty or so, I guess.) The guy that beat him, Grigor Dimitrov, had a typical first round comedown, losing to Karol Beck. This means he gets no points for the tournament as well as no chance to possibly make the main draw in Indian Wells, so I bet he's rueing that decision.

On the other hand, though, if he'd played Indian Wells, he would have had to play a match basically right after stumbling off an intercontinental flight, and that sounds like a pretty tall order. So maybe a week of rest will turn out for the best for Grigor.

If the seeds hold true, the match of the week will be in the semis, when Mahut means Kavcic. I've written a little about Kavcic before - I saw him play at the Australian Open and I was super impressed. I see a big future for him in this sport, and so this match could be an absolute cracker if Mahut brings it. Also lurking in the top half is Dmitry Tursunov, and if nothing else, he is always, always watchable.

The field in Sarajevo is quite good, and looking at Indian Wells, I think all four of these guys - Dimitrov, Kavcic, Mahut and Tursunov - would have had a great shot to qualify. I suppose it's an object lesson that you go where the points are, and you're probably more likely to pick up points by going deep in a Challenger than just making the first round of a Masters tournament, but still... I would have liked to see those dudes there. The top seed in Indian Wells is Daniel Brands, followed by Somdev Devvarman and (the already knocked out) Robert Kendrick. I think any of the top four seeds in Sarajevo would have had a field day with the draws here. Some of the guys through already are Tim Smyczek and Rik de Voest, and... really?

But it's a points game, I suppose. And that's what's going to get you into the main draw all on your lonesome.

(In other news, I've got another blog! Tennis is one of my passions, but theatre is another - you can read my reviews here.)

No comments: