What Am I Talking About?
Upsets happen at every level of the ATP Tour. This week, the American, Michael Redlicki and the Austrian, Jurij Rodionov, had the biggest wins. Redlicki is ranked #849, while Rodionov is ranked #409, but both jumped more than 100 ranking spots after winning their respective tournament. Players ranked inside the Top 200 make the decision of either being a top seed at a Futures event, a lower seed at a Challenger event, or playing Qualies at an ATP event. The same player is good enough to play in all the different tiers of our sport, only his expectations will be different depending on what event he plays.
Starting at the $25,000 Futures event in Winston Salem, North Carolina, we saw Michael Redlicki(above) win his first ever Futures Title. Along with that personal milestone come 27 ATP rankings points and $3,600 which jumps him up to #695 in the rankings and nearly doubles his year-to-date prize money total. He beat Marc-Andrea Huesler, Jared Hiltzik, Ronnie Schneider, Skander Mansouri and finally Tommy Paul in the Finals. Every player he beat was ranked well above Redlicki’s own ranking of #849. Tommy Paul, Redlicki’s biggest scalp of the week, is one of America’s next top hopes, ranked #183; a massive win for Redlicki. You’ll hear and see a lot of Paul this summer when the USTA starts handing out Wildcards, so remember that he lost to a guy ranked #849 at the beginning of the summer.
In Kazakhstan, Jurij Rodionov(below) has been on an absolute tear at the Challenger level. The 19 year-old Austrian started his two-week swing ranked #409, and ended it ranked #292. Coming through qualies the first week in Shymkent, he got to the Quarterfinals of the main draw before falling to Yannick Hanfmann, the German ranked #111 ATP. Barely missing out on the Special Exempt spot, Rodionov had to hop into the Qualies draw again in Almaty, Kazakhstan the next week. A “Special Exempt” is a direct entry into the main draw given to players who are currently playing the semifinal or final round of another tournament; a great reward for a good week. For a player on a hot streak though, sometimes playing more matches keeps them in form. In Almaty he qualified easily, and faced Hanfmann again in the Semi-finals; this time he got the better of the German, 6-4,7-5. Then he took out the Serbian, Pedja Krstin, 7-5,6-2, to win his first ever Challenger Title.
Upsets happen. Tennis is deep. The minor leagues guys can play. Check in next week to see who got the biggest upsets of this week!