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One Year Ago on the ATP:

September 17: Shangahi - First Round:
Byron Black def. (7) Lars Burgsmuller 7-6(8-6) 6-3
At the time, we said, "The ATP is full of players like Lars Burgsmuller: Specialists of one sort or another, who spend years hovering somewhere outside the top 100, but in one year or another manage to put everything together, and get some nice draws, and briefly take a big surge in the rankings. For Burgsmuller, 25, German, and a clay expert, this is his big year, and it's gotten him to #73 in the Entry Rankings. But it doesn't mean much; this isn't clay, and chances are he'll be back where he came from next year." That was a good call; Burgsmuller did fall in the middle of 2002, though he's regained most of the ground since. And he's still playing; Black is through.

September 18: Shanghai - First Round
Irakli Labadze def. (1) Andre Agassi 7-6(7-4) 7-5
We've now mathematically demonstrated that Andre Agassi is at his most vulnerable, or unconcerned, in first round matches (see "First Round's the Charm," August 7, 2002); this really wasn't much of a surprise. But it did get Irakli "Freak Show" Labadze some publicity. It also gave him reason to call home. When he told his brother that he'd beaten Agassi, his childhood idol, his brother didn't believe him.

September 19: Shanghai - Second Round
Francisco Clavet (4) def. Hyung-Taik Lee 6-4 6-2
With Andre Agassi out of Shanghai, we wondered who might be left to win it. We thought Clavet -- the winner at Scottsdale -- might have had a shot, because he'd been cruising to this point. Obviously it didn't turn out that way; Scottsdale was really his last hurrah. It's been Lee who has been climbing since.

September 20: Shanghai - Second Round
Rainer Schuettler (2) def. Ivo Heuberger 6-3 6-4
At the time, we talked mostly about the ranking system and how its diseased rules caused Rainer Schuettler, then #59 in the world, to be the top ranked player to take "regular" entry into Shanghai. (Andre Agassi, the #1 seed, was wildcarded -- and, we expect, paid a hefty appearance fee for that loss of his.) But Schuettler at least would prove he was worthy of that wildcard, as the sequel was to show: He won the tournament, and since then has moved up into the Top 25. Now the question becomes, can he stay there as he is forced to replace optional events, like this one, with required?

September 23: Davis Cup - Australia vs. Sweden Semifinal
Lleyton Hewitt def. Thomas Johansson 7-6(7-3) 5-7 6-2 6-1
At the time, we said, "One of these days, someone is going to beat Lleyton Hewitt at Davis Cup. (Or beat him somewhere, anyway.) But it hasn't happened yet." Of course, it did happen in the Davis Cup final, and the someone was Nicolas Escude. But that isn't the really shocking part, in hindsight: The amazing thing is, it was Johansson, and not Hewitt, who won the 2002 Australian Open!

Five Years Ago: Davis Cup week/no ATP events played

Ten Years Ago: No ATP events played.
 

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bob larson????
 

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why not keep this thread alive...?

One Year Ago on the ATP:

September 24: Palermo - First Round:
Felix Mantilla def. Albert Montanes 3-6 7-6(7-2) 6-2
At the time, we wondered what had happened to Felix Mantilla. Little did we know that he would go on to win the event, and to work his way back into the Top Fifty. Or that Albert Montanes would go into something of a skid....

September 25: Palermo - First Round
David Nalbandian def. (2) Carlos Moya 6-2 4-6 6-3
At the time, we said, "David Nalbandian seems to have reached that magic stage where he moves from 'promising youngster' to 'significant threat.'" We'd say we hit that nail pretty squarely on the head. Though his ranking will be taking a bit of a hit after his finalist points come off....

September 26: Palermo - Second Round
Jiri Vanek def. Andreas Vinciguerra (6) 7-6(7-2) 6-2
At the time, we talked about how out-of-place Andreas Vinciguerra was at Palermo -- the only seed in the draw who wasn't a Spanish speaker. In hindsight, we should have talked about how both these guys would go away in 2002. Because they have.

September 27: Palermo - Second Round
Mariano Zabaleta def. Alex Corretja (1) 6-4 7-5
At the time, we said, "Last year, Alex Corretja and Carlos Moya played each other in the final at Toulouse.... Then... Toulouse was cancelled due to an industrial accident. At Palermo, Corretja and Moya seemed to run into a little industrial accident of their own. Or maybe an Argentine Accident. Moya lost in the first round to David Nalbandian of Argentina. Corretja managed to last one round, but then had his own Young Argentine Experience." Zabaleta hasn't risen as fast as Nalbandian, but he has continued to show real threat potential.

September 30: Hong Kong - Final
Marcelo Rios (8) def. Rainer Schuettler 7-6(7-3) 6-2
At the time, we said, "Rios said at Hong Kong that he doesn't play tennis to be ranked in the fifties.... Rainer Schuettler didn't put up a great fight; he's been nursing injuries after his long run. But it's been just that: A long run. He came into the final on a nine-match winning streak, one of the best stretches of his career." It turned out to be a good omen for both players, who have been in the Top Thirty this year. Now, with all those points to defend, can they stay there?

Five Years Ago: Nicolas Kiefer won his first career title at Toulouse. He wouldn't win another until 1999, but then won five in two years. Could it be that he's just in another drought?

Ten Years Ago: Sergi Bruguera won his third title of the year at Palermo. It was sort of the Last Warning before he really came into his own: In 1993, he won Monte Carlo and Roland Garros and ended the year at #4.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
One Year Ago on the ATP:

October 1: Moscow - First Round:
Dominik Hrbaty def. Vladimir Voltchkov (WC) 6-4 7-5
At the time, we said, "Vladimir Voltchkov has a problem: He can only win on fast surfaces. Really fast surfaces." And, in 2001, he didn't win even there, and that for a time was threatening to drop him out of the Top 200. But in 2002, he seems to be broadening his reach. Can he still take advantage on faster surfaces? We'll see. Meanwhile, Moscow was a big help to Hrbaty -- which in turn means a lot to defend now.

October 2: Moscow - First Round
Nicolas Kiefer def. Roger Federer (3) 6-3 1-6 7-6(7-4)
At the time, we talked about how Roger Federer's summer injury was eating into his indoor results, and how Nicolas Kiefer really needed to defend some points. We could almost repeat that: Federer seems at last to be on track, but he had a lousy summer -- and Kiefer has a desperate need to defend the points he picked up here.

October 3: Moscow - First Round
(2) Marat Safin def. Max Mirnyi 5-7 6-4 6-4
At the time, we quipped, "Max Mirnyi needs to find a way to get zeroth rounds attached to tournaments. Given his results, he'd be unbeatable." The irony is, this is right about the time he really started to turn that result around. A few weeks later, he reached his first Masters Series final. Now, he needs to start building up points for when that comes off.

October 4: Moscow - Second Round
Dominik Hrbaty def. Marat Safin (2) 6-0 4-6 7-6(7-5)
At the time, we talked about Marat Safin and his inconsistency. Gee, what else is new? This was a bad blow for Safin, all but ending his chances of making the Masters Cup. This year, of course, he's in much better shape, points-wise. As for his head -- that's another issue.

Note: Because of the Columbus Day holiday, we did not have additional Matches of the Day from Moscow. But Yevgeny Kafelnikov won his fifth straight title at Moscow -- a result he really needs to defend to keep his ranking up. And, of course, he'd like to extend one of the longest streaks in ATP history.

Five Years Ago: Jim Courier won the next-to-last title of his career, beating Magnus Gustafsson to take home the Beijing title.

Ten Years Ago: It was a week of two Names and one No-Name: Boris Becker won the indoor event at Basel, Sergi Bruguera won the clay event at Palermo -- and Guillaume Raoux won the only title of his career .at Brisbane.
 

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yeah someone do it for this week!! hehe
 

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Discussion Starter #14
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
October 22: Stuttgart - First Round:
Vladimir Voltchkov def. (8) Nicolas Escude 6-2 7-6(7-4)
At the time, we complained about how none of the matches on this day affected the Race to Sydney. Since nothing that happened this day mattered, we went on about how Vladimir Voltchkov really loves fast surfaces. He seems to have improved the rest of his game in 2002. Will it affect him indoors?

October 23: Stockholm - Second Round
Sebastien Grosjean (2) def. Mark Philippoussis 6-2 5-7 6-2
At the time, we said, "Mathematically, this match meant absolutely nothing for Sebastien Grosjean. He has points in his fifth optional event, so this doesn't affect his Race Ranking -- and in any case, his chances for Sydney will be settled at Paris, not here.... But we'll bet it felt good." It certainly was a good omen: He won Paris, and did make it to the Masters Cup. Though there seems little chance of a repeat this year.

October 24: Basel - First Round
Julien Boutter def. Gustavo Kuerten (1) 7-6(7-3) 6-2
At the time, we said, "At this rate, Lleyton Hewitt could just walk up to the ATP and say, 'I want to be year-end #1. Gimme.' No one else seems interested in the honor." Obviously we had that part right; Hewitt did end 2001 as the #1 player in the world, and has been there since (though we're amazed to find that he could lose the spot at Paris). But, of course, the real explanation was the Kuerten was injured. The bigger news was Boutter -- who was very good indoors last year, but is finding it hard to defend this year.

October 25: Stockholm - Second Round
Marcelo Rios def. Sebastien Grosjean (2) 6-3 6-4
At the time, we said, "This match didn't really mean all that much to Sebastien Grosjean. It hurts his chances for Sydney a little... but Grosjean wasn't going to earn his way into Sydney here anyway. If he, or anyone else, is to get there, it will be at Paris.... The big winner here was not Rios, either. The big winner was -- Yevgeny Kafelnikov. We still don't know who will be the eighth player at Sydney. [But the seventh] spot has now been secured by Kafelnikov. There is no combination of results which could set him aside." Yet another result Kafelnikov won't be able to defend in this tough, tough year.

October 28: Basel - Final
Tim Henman (2) def. Roger Federer (4) 6-3 6-4 6-2
At the time, we said, "Tim Henman missed the ATP Championships in 2000. It won't happen again if he can help it.... Henman hasn't clinched a spot yet, but he's put himself on the inside track. If Sydney actually used the Race rankings, instead of having the Grand Slam Wildcard, he'd be pretty well guaranteed.... For Roger Federer, this would have been a chance to win before the hometown crowd, and also would have helped his chances for being at least an alternate for Sydney. No such luck, obviously. He doesn't even change his Race standing; #12 he was and #12 he remains. But he's guaranteed to end the year in the Top Twenty, and just about sure to end in the Top Fifteen. Quite a leap from #29 at the end of last year. And it looks like he's finally found his form again.... If he can stay healthy, he looks ready to break into the Top Ten next year." As it turned out, Henman was hijacked by Sebastien Grosjean, but Federer has made the Top Ten. And, ironically, we're in the same situation this year as last: Both Henman and Federer on the bubble for Shanghai. Though, this time, it's Federer who has the inside track.

Five Years Ago: Petr Korda had a strange career: He built up slowly, climaxed wildly -- and vanished. This week five years ago was the start of the climax, when he won his only title of the year at the Stuttgart Masters. The next winter, he would win Doha and the Australian Open -- and then nothing.

Ten Years Ago: Just for symmetry, Korda won in this week in 1992 also, taking home the Vienna title by beating Gianluca Pozzi in the second and last final of the latter's career. It was Korda's third title of 1992 -- the most productive year of his career.
 

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