One Year Ago on the ATP:
October 15: Stuttgart - First Round:
Julien Boutter (Q) def. Greg Rusedski 6-3 6-4
Julien Boutter got a late start on his career; he not only went to college, but he earned a real degree in a real subject -- engineering, not something sports-related. This win was the culmination of many years of work after that; we said at the time that he was "having probably his best season." Since then, he seems to have stalled; perhaps age is catching up with him. This was a nice win. But it didn't lead to much.
October 16: Stuttgart - Second Round
Max Mirnyi def. Gustavo Kuerten (1) 4-6 7-6(8-6) 6-4
What can anyone say about this? There is more about Mirnyi to come. (At the time, we talked mostly about Mirnyi and his three, count them, three, wins over #1 players in 2001.) And Kuerten, of course, was injured. The amazing thing is that he made it as close as he did on a surface he dislikes.
October 17: Stuttgart - Second Round
Guillermo Canas def. Thomas Johansson (16) 3-6 6-3 7-5
This was an incredibly wild day. Six seeds were upset. Two players were knocked out of Masters Cup competition. We said at the time, "It's hard to pick matches on such an amazing day." We picked this one because Johansson came in at #17, and Canas at #18 -- and the result caused them to swap rankings. But both have suffered similar fates since: Both won the biggest titles of their careers, and have since fallen flat on their faces.
Interestingly, a year later, the third day of Madrid proved just as wild as the third day at Stuttgart, with the majority of seeds in action losing.
October 18: Stuttgart - Third Round
Wayne Ferreira def. Sebastien Grosjean (8) 6-3 3-6 7-6(9-7)
At the time, we said, "Well, at least Pete Sampras and Sebastien Grosjean aren't tied any more. The race for the final spot at Sydney is a long way from over, but we aren't likely to see a photo finish." We went on to argue that Grosjean was just about out of the race for the last Masters Cup spot. Of course, he proved us wrong in the most effective possible way: He won Paris.
October 21: Stuttgart - Final
Tommy Haas (15) def. Max Mirnyi (Q) 6-2 6-2 6-2
At the time, we said, "Could this be the first sign of the apocalypse? Pete Sampras will not be playing at Sydney.... Tommy Haas took care of that with a routine demolition of Max Mirnyi, 6-2 6-2 6-2, in the Stuttgart final.... For Haas, it's his fifth career title -- but fully his fourth of 2001. It's his first Masters Series win." We went on to say that Haas looked good for Sydney -- though Sebastien Grosjean took care of that. But Haas did reach #2 this year, largely on the strength of this win. We went on, "Max Mirnyi didn't win his first-ever singles title, but he did make his first-ever singles final. And at a Masters Series, at that. Last week, we didn't think he could top last year's year-end #40 ranking. Well, we were wrong. Because Mirnyi just earned his way into the Top Thirty into the Race. It appears he will be co-#28, and should certainly end the year no worse than #35.... And, in addition to being able to say that he has beaten two ranking #1 players this year (Marat Safin and Gustavo Kuerten), he can now say he's beaten three former #1 players (Kuerten, Sampras, Kafelnikov) and four Slam winners (Kuerten, Sampras, Kafelnikov, Ivanisevic) in one tournament."
Five Years Ago: It was a week of firsts. Fabrice Santoro won his first career title at Lyon; his opponent was Tommy Haas, playing his first career final. At Ostrava, Karol Kucera won his first (and, to date, only) indoor title, beating Magnus Norman, playing his first (and, to date, only) indoor final.
Ten Years Ago: Jeff Tarango has been on the ATP Tour for fifteen years (despite some pretty vigorous attempts to get himself kicked out), but in only one year did he win a singles title or end up ranked above #49. 1992 was the year. Ten years ago, he won his second career title, and second title of 1992, beating Stephane Simian in the final of Tel Aviv.