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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Looking Ahead

So the qualifying has concluded, and the draw has been filled out. Let's look selectively at what the qualifiers face in the days ahead...

The "top half" of the draw, the one with main #1 seed Novak Djokovic, got 10 qualifiers into it.

Romain Jouan and Augustin Gensse have both drawn seeded top 32 main draw players and are not likely to advance to the second round.

American qualifier Michael Yani has a first round match against a young Australian, Bernard Tomic, who made a strong run at the Australian Open this year and is considered to be a real up-and-comer. However, he's often a bit up-and-down, and plays a game that's based as much on taking his opponents out of their rhythm as on having a great rhythm of his own. Michael Yani doesn't have a particular rhythm, he's just happy to be in the main draw of a grand slam. Tomic should win, but it's not unthinkable that Yani will.

Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy has drawn Tommy Haas. Haas was a top 10 player, as high as #2 in the world in fact, but he's 33, he's struggled to come back from a lot of injuries in recent years. This isn't a bad draw, you've got to think, if you're de Veigy.

Sergei Bubka has an excellent draw. His opponent is Andreas Haider-Mauder, an Austrian who was in the qualifying a year ago, and is ranked in the 70s. He's not that good a player, and Bubka can win this match.

Marsel Ilhan and Frank Dancevic are lucky, they got a Q-Q match, i.e., two qualifying players getting to play one another in the first round, which is a guaranteed opportunity for one to get into the 2nd round. And the two players are just two years apart in age. But Dancevic, he's a player I followed in the qualifying for a year or two, he had his one big year in 2008 when he made it to the finals of a summer tournament and had a winnable match against Marat Safin a round or two into the US Open that he lost mostly because of lack of experience in Grand Slam situations. I feel he's 26 but on the wrong side of the career arc. Ilhan is only a year or two younger, but my instinctive feel is that he's still climbing. My money would be on Ilhan, won't complain if I'm wrong. This is a Court 14 match at 11AM in the morning.

Go Soeda of Japan faces top 40 player Kevin Anderson, who's currently playing the best tennis of his career.

Malek Jaziri has drawn Dutch player Thiemo De Bakker, who is top 50 but doesn't have the kind of name to inspire fear in anyone. This is Court 8 at 1PM, and could be a match. Or maybe I'm being a little bit of an optimist.

Flipping to the "bottom half" of the draw, Ireland's Louk Sorensen has top 10 player Robin Soderling, advantage Soderling.

Joao Souza of Brazil has Robby Ginepri from the US, and that's a match the qualifier can win.

Pospisil, he has a match that he can definitely win, against a Czech player Lukas Rosol who is currently ranked in the 60s. Rosol's rank is based entirely on a few good challenger tournaments where he beats qualifying level players, which Pospisil is distancing himself from, and a good run at this year's French Open. I'm a Pospisil fan, and expect he'll have a 2nd round match against the #25 seed.

Jesse Huta Galung has drawn James Blake. This match should go Blake's way.

Jean-Rene Lisnard has a match against Olivier Rochus, whom I've seen in the qualifying. This could go either way.

Robert Farah against Nicholas Mahut -- edge, Mahut.

Lucas Lacko got into the main draw as a "Lucky Loser," chosen by lots as a seeded but defeated qualifier to replace a late withdrawal from the tournaments. Odds are one or two other players will end withdrawing before their first match.

Not counting players I saw in qualifying this year only, there are close to 20 players in this year's US Open whom I've seen in qualies over the years.

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