Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 Year-end Ranking Predictions

The tennis season is less than a week away from starting. That means it is time for me to make my predictions on what the year-end top 100 will be for the upcoming season. These are the most difficult predictions to make, because predicting the rankings 52 weeks in advance means I have nothing to base these predictions on other than my own expectations for 2016.

This is my fifth year making these predictions, and it seems to get harder every year, particularly because of the parity in tennis over the last year or two with teenagers breaking through and the Big Four's stranglehold on the tour slipping.

These are how my predictions did in the previous four years.
Mean difference between predicted and actual ranking: 31.10
Perfect Predictions: 6
Mean difference between predicted and actual ranking31.56
Perfect Predictions: 3
Mean difference between predicted and actual ranking: 31.49
Perfect Predictions: 1
Mean difference between predicted and actual ranking: 25.76
Perfect Predictions: 2

And these are my predictions for the year-end top 100 of 2016
Rank Name 28-Dec
1 Novak Djokovic 1
2 Andy Murray 2
3 Rafael Nadal 5
4 Kei Nishikori 8
5 Stan Wawrinka 4
6 Tomas Berdych 6
7 Roger Federer 3
8 Milos Raonic 14
9 Marin Cilic 13
10 Bernard Tomic 18
11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 10
12 Grigor Dimitrov 28
13 Dominic Thiem 20
14 Kevin Anderson 12
15 John Isner 11
16 David Goffin 16
17 David Ferrer 7
18 Jack Sock 26
19 Gael Monfils 24
20 Gilles Simon 15
21 Steve Johnson 32
22 Richard Gasquet 9
23 Nick Kyrgios 30
24 Benoit Paire 19
25 Viktor Troicki 22
26 Jeremy Chardy 31
27 Alexandr Dolgopolov 36
28 Jiri Vesely 41
29 Roberto Bautista Agut 25
30 Aljaz Bedene 45
31 Borna Coric 44
32 Martin Klizan 43
33 Joao Sousa 33
34 Fabio Fognini 21
35 Vasek Pospisil 39
36 Leonardo Mayer 35
37 Thomaz Bellucci 37
38 Pablo Cuevas 40
39 Adrian Mannarino 47
40 Jerzy Janowicz 57
41 Hyeon Chung 51
42 Donald Young 48
43 Federico Delbonis 52
44 Feliciano Lopez 17
45 Sam Querrey 59
46 Pablo Carreno Busta 67
47 Denis Kudla 69
48 Ivo Karlovic 23
49 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 27
50 Alexander Zverev 83
51 Andreas Seppi 29
52 Lucas Pouille 78
53 Philipp Kohlschreiber 34
54 Ernests Gulbis 81
55 Nicolas Almagro 73
56 Thanasi Kokkinakis 80
57 Sam Groth 60
58 Denis Istomin 61
59 Fernando Verdasco 49
60 Gilles Muller 38
61 Mikhail Kukushkin 65
62 Juan Monaco 53
63 Yuki Bhambri 93
64 Diego Schwartzman 88
65 Jared Donaldson 134
66 Yoshihito Nishioka 117
67 Dusan Lajovic 76
68 Ricardas Berankis 85
69 Elias Ymer 136
70 Inigo Cervantes 72
71 Albert Ramos 54
72 Santiago Giraldo 70
73 Damir Dzumhur 82
74 Kyle Edmund 102
75 Robin Haase 66
76 Andrey Kuznetsov 79
77 Andreas Haider-Mauerer 63
78 Pablo Andujar 64
79 Filip Krajinovic 101
80 Marcos Baghdatis 46
81 Teymuraz Gabashvili 50
82 Lukas Rosol 55
83 Simone Bolelli 58
84 Kimmer Coppejans 130
85 Ryan Harrison 112
86 Tommy Robredo 42
87 Taro Daniel 96
88 Marco Cecchinato 90
89 Austin Krajicek 104
90 Illya Marchenko 94
91 Bjorn Fratangelo 128
92 Andrey Rublev 185
93 Matthew Ebden 105
94 Jan-Lennard Struff 107
95 Lukas Lacko 110
96 Evgeny Donskoy 91
97 Taylor Fritz 174
98 James Duckworth 120
99 Nikoloz Basilashvili 113
100 Laslo Djere 186

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Year-end Country Power Rankings

I've been doing this series for over three years now. What I am looking to do is rank each country's men's singles players. Most often this is done by counting grand slam titles, but if that is the case, how do you separate Spain and Turkey, which both had zero in 2015. The formula is simple. I add up the singles ranking points of all the players in the top 140 by country. The countries are then ranked by the sum of points.

The fun part of doing this over a three-year span is that you can see the changes over time. In red is the number corresponding to the ranking of the country at the end of the 2012 season three years ago. The main difference is the amount of countries now represented. There are 44 countries represented now in the top 140 compared to 39 back in 2012.

1. Spain (1) -- No surprise here. Spain has never dropped from its No. 1 spot. This was Spain's worst year since Nadal first became a dominant force on the ATP, but being represented by 17 players in the top 140 is more than enough to secure the No. 1 spot. Still, the trend is downward for Spain. Their lead over the No. 2 position has dropped to just over 3000 after being nearly 8000 at the end of the 2012 season and a nearly 13000-point lead after Nadal's dominant 2013 season. The age of Spain's players is higher than any other country's. Could the Spanish reign come to an end in 2016?
2. Serbia (2) -- Serbia has been as low as No. 4 on this list, but like at the end of 2012, it is ranked No. 2. Serbia will be Spain's biggest threat to the No. 1 spot in 2016 with a dominant Djokovic and resurgent Troicki and Tipsarevic joined by a host of young players moving up in the rankings. Djokovic, last year, had the best year in tennis since Rod Laver won the grand slam, so it will be a big challenge to match that. Also Troicki went flat in his second half of 2015 after dominating in late 2014 and early 2015. Meanwhile, Tipsarevic and a lot of the young players are far from entering the top 140. A lot will have to go right for Serbia, but they are within striking distance to surpass Spain. Djokovic isn't getting younger, so this might be the only year to do it.

3. France (3) -- France is back to No. 3 after spending a lot of time at No. 2, but then dropping down to No. 4 in June this year. However, this is a much different No. 3 than it was three years ago when France was the most well-represented country in the top 140. Now, France is bolstered by a strong performance by the four mousquetaires and a surprise season from the once promising Benoit Paire. Tsonga, Monfils, Simon, and Gasquet have all had great seasons in their careers and all been members of the top 10 at one point, but it's been rare that all four peak at the same time. That's what happened in 2015 with Gasquet and Tsonga in the top 10 and Simon at 15 and Monfils at 24. Meanwhile, Paire, who started the year playing futures events, finished the year ranked No. 19. Unfortunately France has lost a lot of depth replacing stalwarts like Llorda, Mahut, Mathieu, and Rufin with players that are just now starting to fulfill their promise.

4. Switzerland (4) -- The numbers in the top four haven't changed at all, but how they got there is not as simple as it might seem. Switzerland dropped to as low as No. 7 at the end of 2013, but as both Federer and Wawrinka rebuilt their ranking, the country surpassed Serbia at the end of 2014 and was ahead of France in June this year. However, Djokovic alone has more points than all of France and all of Switzerland, so it was really just a battle for third place. France edged Switzerland by 264 points. That is the difference of one Ze Zhang or one grand slam quarterfinal. The problem is that the two Swiss men met each other in the Roland Garros quarterfinal, so only one of the two could get those points.

5. United States (6) -- We finally have our first change in our rankings. However, the United States is only some 300 points better than three years ago, so this change can be accounted more to Argentina's massive drop due to the wrist injury of Del Potro. However, the United States now has its highest point total that I have ever recorded and still has a lot of room to improve with plenty of young talent replacing the now retired group of Roddick, Blake, Fish, Russell, and Ginepri. By the end of the 2018 season I definitely expect the United States to be in the top three battling it out against the likes of France and Australia along with maybe even a Canada, Japan, or Korea.

6. Great Britain (8) -- What a year will do. Great Britain was No. 16 in August of 2014 and by June of this year was up to No. 5. It's been a roller coaster and its name is Andy Murray. The Scot faced some injury issues in 2014 and made a strong bounce back in 2015 winning his first clay title and then backing that up with a win in Madrid. The country also won a Davis Cup title, but this list proves that isn't the best way to judge a nation's tennis ability. Great Britain's ceiling is No. 5, but Murray's peak will come to an end in a few years and the whole country, which hosts tennis's most prestigious event, will come crashing down. Unless Kyle Edmund can save the day of course. No pressure lad.

7. Japan (13) -- It is possible to make big jumps forward on this list and it would have been no surprise to tennis fans back in 2012 that Japan would be one of the countries to make such a jump. The country was well-represented with six players three years ago, but none had yet to really break out. The country had been doing well on the tennis scene, so it was only a matter of time and this may only be the beginning. Many believe that Nishikori is a future grand slam winner and Nishioka also has a lot of promise which was seen this year. Kids are picking up tennis rackets in Japan thanks to those two, which will only catalyze the movement of the dominance of tennis from Europe to Asia.

8. Australia (14) -- Australia was down at 14 at the end of 2012 and dropped to No. 16 just a month later. Since then, Hewitt has announced his retirement, while Matosevic and Ebden suddenly disappeared. However, Ebden has now made an impressive comeback while Australia has developed a feared threesome of Kyrgios, Kokkinakis, and Tomic, which could dominate tennis for the next decade. Australia can only go up with quickly developing Omar Jasika knocking on the door of the top 300, while Thompson and Saville still are far from reaching their peak rankings.

9. Czech Republic (9) -- Stepanek and Rosol have been up and down over the last few years but Berdych has been solid while Vesely has risen quickly, so not a lot has changed for the Czechs. The Czech Republic did win multiple Davis Cup titles, but has never come close to being one of the top countries in tennis in reality. Berdych is a very good player, but it has taken an amazing effort from him to maintain the country in the top 10.

10. Italy (10) -- The 2012 and 2015 year-end rankings are the only times that I have recorded Italy at the No. 10 position. Every other time the country has been between 11 and 14. Only 35 points separate Italy and the No. 12 country, so nothing has really changed for the Italians, who rely on a decent amount of depth and a few good tournaments with some upsets and nothing really changes.

11. Croatia (12) -- Karlovic may be one of the oldest players on tour, but 2015 was one of his best seasons. Cilic had a slightly disappointing season, but expectations were high after winning the US Open. Meanwhile, Coric is the most promising teenager in tennis right now, so the future of Croatia is in good hands.

12. Argentina (5) -- The big drop is due to the loss of Del Potro, but thanks to the depth of the South American country, it only dropped seven spots. If Del Potro makes a strong comeback, the Argentines could get back into the top 10.

13. Germany (7) -- In August 2014, the Germans were No. 6 on this list ahead of the United States and just behind Argentina, but by June of this year, they dropped down to No. 14. Mayer and Haas are injured, Brown and Struff have plateaued early, and Kohlschreiber is now in his thirties. Kamke and Phau have also disappeared. Zverev is the future of German tennis, but they are a long way from being back in the top seven regularly.

14. Belgium (16) -- The Davis Cup runner-ups didn't have a great year outside of Davis Cup. Goffin was on the brink of the top 10 early in the year, but finished at No. 16. Darcis was Belgium's only other representative in the top 100, but Goffin alone secured a top 20 spot for Belgium.

15.. Canada (15) -- Canada looked very promising not long ago with Pospisil, Raonic, and Peliwo on the rise, but injuries and slumps have slowed down that progress. Just five months ago, Canada was ranked No. 12, but Raonic was unable to defend a lot of his points. The future is still bright, but Canada is having to wait longer than it hoped.

16. Russia (11) -- Russia is the ninth most well-represented country in the top 140 of the ATP, but still finds itself in the 16th slot. A lot of that is due to the lack of a true No. 1. Rublev soon will be that true Russian No. 1 and if Saffiullin can recover physically, Russia could actually be in a very good spot.

17. Ukraine (17) -- Not a ton of change for Ukraine. Dolgopolov has a couple good tournaments every year, but never maintains it, which keeps Ukraine from getting much higher.

18. South Africa (27) -- Anderson makes South Africa the best tennis country with only one player in the top 140. The South African reached the top ten in the first time in his career this year.

19. Austria (25) -- If it wasn't official last year, it became clear this year that Thiem has replaced Melzer as the face of Austrian tennis. Like Muster, Thiem prefers the clay, but can play well on other hard courts and is improving on hard courts. He rarely loses to lower ranked players, but hasn't started getting any big wins yet, so it is just a steady climb up the rankings.

20. Slovakia (20) -- The last country left on the list that has three representatives in the top 140. Slovakia has been between 20 and 23 every time I have tallied the ranking points. It's certainly the most consistent nation in tennis.

21. Portugal (28)
22. Brazil (19)
23. Bulgaria (31)
24. Netherlands (18)
25. Colombia (23)
26. Luxembourg (33)
27. Bosnia & Herzegovina (NR)
28. Uruguay (NR)
29. Cyprus (26)
30. Korea (NR)
31. Dominican Republic (NR)
32. Poland (21)
33. Uzbekistan (30)
34. Kazakhstan (35)
35. Chinese Taipei (32)
36. Latvia (39)
37. Lithuania (37)
38. India (NR)
39. Israel (36)
40. Tunisia (38)
41. Georgia (NR)
42. Turkey (NR)
43. Maldova (NR)
44. Sweden (NR)

Countries like Sweden, Korea, and Bulgaria will almost definitely move up on this list in 2016. Meanwhile, Uruguay, Cyprus, and the Dominican Republic will drop in this list if they can stay on it at all.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Serena doesn't deserve Sportsperson of the Year

The Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award is one of the more prestigious awards in sports, so as a tennis fan, I should be stoked that it went to a tennis player. After all, that means more attention to the sport. However, the award went to the wrong tennis player, Serena Williams.

That's not to say that Williams' accomplishments weren't impressive in 2015. She won three grand slams and reached the final of the fourth. She recorded a 53-3 record  and had 3885 more ranking points than the No. 2 player in the world.

Williams also won two titles apart from her three slams, winning both in her home country in Cincinnati and Miami. Against her top 10 peers, Williams won five of her six matches and pulled out from a potential clash with then world No. 3 Simona Halep.

In fact, Williams' whole season was plagued by injuries. She pulled out of matches three different times and then just ended her season after a shocking loss to world No. 43 Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the US Open.

However, ATP No. 1 Novak Djokovic's accomplishments are better than Williams' in every category. Djokovic also won three grand slams and reached the final of the only major that he did not win. His record was 82-6 and he never withdrew from a match. He was also 7640 points ahead of world No. 2 Andy Murray.

Djokovic didn't have the benefit of playing tournaments in his home country, but he still found a way to win eight tournaments aside from his three grand slams, which is four times more than what Williams did.

The biggest gap between Djokovic and Williams comes when looking at their strength of schedule. Djokovic didn't have the luxury of avoiding the best players in his sport like Williams did, but that didn't stop him. Djokovic played 36 matches against other players in the top 10, which is six times more than Williams and he won 31 of those matches.

Djokovic also managed to reach the finals of 15 events in a row in 2015. Williams reached five finals in total in 2015.

The Serb outright demolishes Williams in every statistical category in 2015 and the nice thing is that neither of them is a horse, so it is very easy to make the comparison. I guess Djokovic needed to give out more chocolates to the press to get any love.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Under 22 Country Rankings

This list is to give an idea of which countries will be dominating tennis in five to 10 years.

The formula is sum ranking points of teenagers in top 1000 from said country plus sum ranking points of players 20 and 21 years old in the top 500 from said country.

No. Country - Ranking Points (# of players that fit criteria)
1. Australia - 2869 (11)
2. France - 2447 (18)
3. United States - 2168 (17)
4. Croatia - 1108 (2)
5. Germany - 1105 (7)
6. South Korea - 1057 (4)
7. Russia - 1031 (8)
8. Italy - 901 (9)
9. Serbia - 851 (6)
10. Great Britain 788 (2)
11. Belgium - 757 (4)
12. Spain - 740 (9)
13. Czech Republic - 613 (4)
14. Sweden - 490 (2)
15. Japan - 487 (3)
16. Argentina - 439 (5)
17. Chile - 393 (3)
18. India - 352 (4)
19. Poland - 273 (4)
20. Brazil - 187 (4)

Analysis - In total there were 42 countries that had at least one player that met the criteria. In the formula, there is only one adjustment for age, which isn't really an adjustment at all, because with the top countries, the points of players outside the top 500 have very little impact anyways. In other words, countries with more players in their early twenties have a clear advantage on this list, that is really not a good predictor of future success. Those advantages went specifically to Great Britain and Australia.

If we only counted teenagers, it would be a two-way race between Croatia and the United States. Germany and Russia are also doing particularly well among teenagers. France meanwhile, has a good age distribution and the most representatives of any country.

Not surprisingly, if you have seen other posts of mine on this topic, Spain is in big trouble. Although there are nine representatives from Spain, which is tied for the fourth most, the Spaniards are 12th on the list even though it is the top country in tennis right now.

Brazil and South Korea each come out a little underrated, while Italy and Serbia are both slightly overrated. The future of Belgium is in a good place. The Belgians are in 11th place and that does not count David Goffin, who will be around for a long time still.

If 22-year olds had been counted on this list, Austria and Czech Republic would have stood to gain the most. Also if we counted 23-year olds, which will be hitting their peaks in about five years, the United States and Australia would have really separated themselves from France, whose highest-ranked 23-year old is outside the top 250 in the world.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Baughman Claims Third Title in Claremont

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- 19-year old American Deiton Baughman won his second ITF Futures titles on American soil and third title this year with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over fellow American Mackenzie McDonald on Sunday morning at the Claremont Tennis Club

With the win, Baughman is now 33-16 in futures events this year, collecting 106 ranking points so far in 2015, which almost guarantees a year-end spot in the top 400 in the world. McDonald was playing in his first career final of a professional event and will move up nearly 100 spots in the rankings from his current ranking of 816.

Baughman dropped a set for the first time in the tournament as McDonald broke in the opening game and added an insurance break later for a 5-1 lead. Baughman forced the UCLA No. 1 to serve out the opening set and he did for the early advantage.
Early breaks determined the next two sets as well as Baughman broke McDonald and took a 3-0 lead in response to dropping his first set of the tournament. However, McDonald got the break back to make the score 6-2, 3-4, but the 20-year old American gave it right back and Baughman held the next game to even the final.
McDonald double faulted on his first two points in the third set, which proved costly as Baughman took advantage with a return winner on break point for a lead that never went away. The native of Carson, Calif. held serve four consecutive times and then broke serve again to claim the title.
McDonald will next play in the futures event in Costa Mesa, Calif. Baughman meanwhile is not currently in the acceptance lists for the other two futures events in California in September. Former UCLA No. 1 Dennis Novikov also was in an all-American final today, where he defeated Ryan Harrison in Cary for his first career ATP Challenger title.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

American Young Guns Set to Clash in Claremont Final

Americans Mackenzie McDonald and Deiton Baughman will go head-to-head for the first time in a professional match in just over two years, when on Sept. 17, 2013, Baughman defeated McDonald 7-6(3), 6-0 in Costa Mesa, Calif. However, since then, their careers have gone in two very different paths.

Both players at the time had just received their first ATP ranking points in the previous months and were among the more promising talents in American tennis. Mackenzie McDonald had just accepted a scholarship to go play tennis at UCLA in the upcoming spring season, putting off his professional aspirations.

Baughman on the other hand had received a scholarship offer from rival USC. The native of Carson, Calif. graduated high school in the spring of 2014 and went the opposite route of his opponent on Sunday. He decided to play a full professional schedule.

McDonald's match against Baughman two years ago was the last main draw professional match he played for the next nine months. During that hiatus, McDonald played No. 3 singles as a freshman for UCLA and earned an 18-4 record in dual matches.

Meanwhile, Baughman got his hands dirty, playing futures events week after week slowly boosting his ranking nearly 1000 spots to be on the brink of the top 1000 by the summer of 2014. Baughman went south of the border to play a futures event in Mexico and his quarterfinal victory there cut his ranking down to just three digits.

Earlier this year, McDonald returned to UCLA for a breakout sophomore season. As the team's No. 1 player, he went 15-1 in dual matches to earn the No. 3 ranking in the nation, while still playing professional events every couple of months, keeping his ranking inside the top 1000.

Baughman in the meantime has had a breakout 2015 season, justifying his decision to turn pro. He won his first futures event in January and then reached a final in Nigeria and won another title in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Baughman has also traveled to the Netherlands and Belgium this year, building his ranking to as high as 408 in the world.

The pair of Americans crossed paths again just a few weeks ago at the 2015 US Open. Baughman played his first career grand slam, receiving a doubles wildcard to play with Tommy Paul in the main draw. McDonald was there for the College Invitational where as the No. 2 seed he won the championship, earning a wildcard to the 2016 US Open qualifying draw.

Now after two years since they first played each other, the two will get to see how much their games have improved since both going in drastically different directions in their career. With this tournament Baughman will move into the top 400 in the world, and McDonald gets more valuable experience for when he commits to a full professional schedule.

All-American Final set in Claremont

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Americans Deiton Baughman and Mackenzie McDonald both advanced to the final of the $10,000 Claremont Classic Futures with straight set victories Saturday morning at the Claremont Tennis Club.

Baughman, the tournament's only remaining seed, won the first semifinal, defeating German Sebastian Fanselow 6-3, 6-3. In the second semifinal, McDonald defeated 19-year old American Collin Altamirano, 6-2, 6-2.

Baughman clinched a spot in the top 400, becoming the 25th teenager ranked in the top 400 this week. The 19-year old turned down a scholarship to USC to turn professional and the decision has paid off as Baughman has a 32-16 record in main draws as a professional this year and this is now his fourth final.

The American No. 32 broke Fanselow twice in the first set to claim a 6-3 lead. Baughman continued to attack the Pepperdine graduate's second serve and got another break in the second set before serving out the straight sets victory.
The second semifinal pitted two Americans born in 1995 against each other. Both Altamirano and McDonald are coming off successful college seasons. McDonald was the No. 1 singles player for perennial power UCLA, and finished the year as the No. 3 player in the nation. Altamirano was the No. 50 player in the nation after helping Virginia win a national title as a freshman.

Altamirano already had two wins against Bruins, including a three-set win over former UCLA No. 1 Marcos Giron. Altamirano came back from down a set in their first round meeting, but the Cavalier couldn't repeat the accomplishment against McDonald.

McDonald is the much better mover of the two college standouts, and the difference was evident. The Bruin raced out to a 6-2 lead with a pair of breaks. McDonald shrunk his side of the court with his movement forcing Altamirano to go for more from the baseline, but the 19-year old was misfiring off both wings under the pressure.
McDonald broke again early in the second set for a 2-1 lead, but consolidating that break proved to be his biggest challenge of the match. Altamirano created three chances to break at 0-40, but McDonald fired two big serves and got a forehand error to get back to deuce. Altamirano created three more break points, but McDonald answered each time before three consecutive unreturned serves consolidated the beak for a 3-1 lead that he held onto for victory.
Baughman and McDonald will play the final on Sunday starting at 10:00 a.m. The winner will get 15 ranking points in the first of three consecutive futures events in southern California.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Three Americans go to Semifinals in Claremont

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- Five Americans born in 1995 or 1996 took the courts at the Claremont Tennis Club in USAF26 quarterfinals on Friday, and three of them advanced to the semifinals which will be played on Saturday.

No. 2 seed Deiton Baughman was the first to secure a spot in the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Gonzales Austin less than a minute before Mackenzie McDonald joined him with a 6-2, 6-4 win over qualifier Tom Fawcett.

Collin Altamirano, who already took out No. 1 seed Marcos Giron, was the third American into the quarterfinals, crushing No. 5 seed Daniel Garza 6-2, 6-0. Pepperdine graduate Sebastian Fanselow prevented the semifinals from being four young Americans by upsetting the No. 4 seed Ernesto Escobedo with a 6-3, 7-5 victory, meaning Baughman is the only seed remaining in the draw.

Baughman has looked good despite a tough draw, not losing more than four games in any set. He will likely move into the top 400 in the world for the first time in his career on Monday regardless of his result on Saturday.

McDonald has also won six consecutive sets to reach the semifinal, including a 6-4, 6-4 win over No. 6 seed Evan Song. It hasn't been a good tournament for former UCLA No. 1 singles players with the elimination of Giron in the first round as well as Clay Thompson's first-round loss to Austin in straight sets. However, the current UCLA No. 1 is into his second futures semifinal this year after ending an impressive run by Fawcett.

Altamirano was the No. 3 singles player for National Champion Virginia Cavaliers in the spring, which he followed up by a trip to Italy during July and August. Now in his first tournament since returning from Italy, the benefits of his time in Virginia and Italy are evident in his wins over UCLA's Giron and Martin Redlicki, followed by a very convincing performance to beat Garza.

Escobedo did not have his best day in falling to Fanselow. Escobedo was playing just 10 minutes east of his home in West Covina, Calif., but to him the match was the "biggest choke of my life." Escobedo struggled to make first serves in the first set and was broken twice as a result. However, he broke to start the second set and started taking some speed off his first serve and started having a lot of success.

After Escobedo went ahead 4-2 in the second set, Fanselow turned the match around, breaking at love to even the match at 4-4. Then with Escobedo serving with new balls, Fanselow broke again to seal the match 6-3, 7-5.

Fanselow had won two futures events in Germany and reached a semifinal at a futures in California before entering the tournament, but the German had to navigate a difficult draw to reach his sixth career semifinal as a professional.

He defeated No. 8 seed Aleksandar Vukic in the first round and then had to go through fellow German Jan Meyer, who is the No. 1 singles player in NCAA Division II, playing for nearby Azusa Pacific. Meyer had won five consecutive matches to reach the second round and earn his second career ranking point. Fanselow got through Meyer in straight sets to set up his match with Escobedo.

On Saturday, Virginia No. 3 Altamirano will look to take out another UCLA representative as he takes on Bruin No. 1 McDonald. On the bottom half, Pepperdine graduate Fanselow will play No. 2 seed Deiton Baughman, who was recruited by USC, but decided to go play professionally. The first match will begin at 10 a.m. local time.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Greatest Tennis Seasons Ever

Novak Djokovic grabbed his third grand slam title of 2015 at the US Open and reached an 11th consecutive final, continuing what has been one of the greatest tennis season of all time. But how does it compare to the other great seasons in tennis history.

I limited this comparison to the last 26 years since that's when the Masters Series 1000 events became part of the tour. That way each season is more comparable and this won't just be a comparison of success at the majors.

Djokovic this year has gone 63-5 with seven titles for a total of 12,785 ranking points, which is enough to clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking. Meanwhile, Djokovic has faced one of the toughest schedules in tennis history, racking 21 wins over opponents ranked in the top 10, which is the most by any player through this point in a season in the era.

With four tournaments left to play, Djokovic is chasing two of the greatest seasons ever, including one that is his own. In 2011, Djokovic won three grand slams and had a 64-2 record at this point in the season. In 2006, Roger Federer started the year 56-4 and also wrapped up three grand slam titles.

However, there is a ranking system for a reason, and if we apply the ranking system, we can really start to compare players from different seasons.

Ranking points earned in a season through the US Open:
1. 2011 Novak Djokovic 13,070
2. 2015 Novak Djokovic 12,785
3. 2006 Roger Federer 12,605
4. 2008 Rafael Nadal 11,805
5. 2005 Roger Federer 11,480
6. 2007 Roger Federer 11,090
7. 2013 Rafael Nadal 11,010
8. 2010 Rafael Nadal 10,815
9. 2004 Roger Federer 10,460
10. 2012 Novak Djokovic 9910
11. 2009 Roger Federer 9840
12. 1994 Pete Sampras 9385
13. 1993 Pete Sampras 9120
14. 1995 Pete Sampras 8885
15. 1992 Jim Courier 8400
16. 2014 Novak Djokovic 8000
17. 1999 Andre Agassi 7725
18. 1990 Stefan Edberg 7645
19. 2003 Andy Roddick 7460
20. 1996 Pete Sampras 6840
21. 1997 Pete Sampras 6795
22. 1991 Stefan Edberg 6735
23. 2002 Lleyton Hewitt 5969
24. 2000 Gustavo Kuerten 5665
25. 1998 Pete Samrpas 5590
26. 2001 Lleyton Hewitt 5290

Federer went on to finish the 2006 season with 16,155 ranking points. Djokovic will need to be nearly perfect this fall to make this one of the greatest seasons of all time. There are 4000 more points up for grabs for Djokovic and he needs to take almost 3400 of them, leaving very little room to breathe.

Even if Djokovic does not catch Federer's 2006 season in terms of ranking points, he could have a better season in other regards. Federer finished the season with just 19 wins over top 10 opponents and Djokovic already has more than that. The Serb is chasing Nadal in that category, who had 24 in 2013.

In Nadal's 2008 season, he had the most wins up to this point with 75 to go along with nine losses. Federer went 71-3 up to this point in 2005 and Djokovic was 64-2 in 2011 after the US Open. The most titles following the final slam was 10, which Nadal (2013), Djokovic (2011), and Federer (2005) all achieved once.

We are truly in a golden era for tennis. The top 11 years in terms of ranking points all happened in the last 12 years. Also the top 10 years for top 10 wins up to this point all happened in the last 12 years as well, showing the consistency of the top 10 players to get to the later rounds of big events.

Also, there are four players right now that would be having year-end caliber years if their timing was better. Andy Murray's 2015 season would show up at 20th on the list above, Federer would place 23rd, and Wawrinka would place at 26th ahead of Hewitt's 2011 season.

Overall, Djokovic is having one of the greatest seasons ever at a time when the competition has never been tougher. Click here to see a comparison of the difficulty of Djokovic's opponents to previous seasons.

Djokovic Adds to List of Achievements

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated world No. 2 Roger Federer in the final of the US Open 6-4, 5-7, 7-4, 6-4 to clinch his 10th grand slam title in his career and ninth in the last five years. The win adds another crown to an incredible season, but also does a lot of good for the Serb in a lot of other ways in regards to his career resume. Here's a look at the significance of the Djokovic title.

No. 1 Ranking

Djokovic clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking with his title in New York and is guaranteed to be the world No. 1 going into the next major as well, meaning for the next 18 weeks, Djokovic is guaranteed to retain the top ranking.

Weeks at No. 1
1. Roger Federer 301
2. Pete Sampras 286
3. Ivan Lendl 270
4. Jimmy Connors 268
5. John McEnroe 170
6. Novak Djokovic 164 (182)
7. Rafael Nadal 141

Ranking Points

Djokovic now has earned 16,145 ranking points in the 52-week rankings which is the most ever by any player since the rankings system began in 1973. Djokovic also has 12,785 ranking points in 2015 alone. His lead over world No. 2 Federer in the 52-week rankings has blossomed from 5,800 (which was already a record) to now 6,600. If you added the ranking points of Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Marin Cilic, you still wouldn't have as many ranking points as Djokovic.

Career Ranking Points

Djokovic has now earned 11,140 ranking points in his career at the US Open, making it his second most successful grand slam behind the Australian Open by just 140 points. The US Open is now the third major where Djokovic has earned over 10,000 ranking points, making the Serb and Federer the only players to do so at more than two events.

In the final, Djokovic surpassed Federer in average points earned per grand slam.

Average points per grand slam
1. Bjorn Borg 1148
2. Rafael Nadal 949
3. Novak Djokovic 904
4. Roger Federer 890
5. Rod Laver 851

In total points earned, Djokovic has parked himself within striking distance of a whole pack of players just barely ahead of him. In fact, Djokovic could potentially move all the way up to No. 2 by reaching the final at the Australian Open.

Career points earned at grand slams
1. Roger Federer 58,795
2. Rafael Nadal 40,835
3. Jimmy Connors 40,480
4. Pete Sampras 40,385
5. Ivan Lendl 39,890
6. Novak Djokovic 39,790
7. Andre Agassi 37,675

Nadal's lead on Djokovic is 1045, so if Nadal reaches the fourth round or better, Djokovic will have to win the title to pass the Spaniard. If Nadal reaches the final, he will prolong his stay at the No. 2 position, which he earned at Roland Garros this year.

Record against rivals

Djokovic had two wins over top 10 ranked opponents in his run to the title. He now is 21-4 against top 10 opponents in 2015 and 148-79 in his career. Those 148 wins are the second most in tennis history behind only Federer.

Against the Big Four, Djokovic has tied Nadal for the most wins within the four-way rivalry.

Wins against Big Four (overall record)
1. Novak Djokovic 61(61-53)
1. Rafael Nadal 61 (61-37)
3. Roger Federer 45 (45-55)
4. Andy Murray 20 (20-33)

Grand Slams

Ten grand slam titles now belong to Djokovic - five Australian Opens, three Wimbledons, and two US Opens. He joins, Federer, Nadal, Sampras, Lendl, and Stefan Edberg as the only players with multiple slams at three different majors.

Grand Slam titles (Open Era)
1. Roger Federer 17
2. Pete Sampras 14
2. Rafael Nadal 14
4. Bjorn Borg 11
5. Novak Djokovic 10

Before taking the title in New York, Djokovic also won Wimbledon, making it the third time that Djokovic had won consecutive grand slam titles in his career. In the majors this year, Djokovic went 27-1, which equals the best record by a player in majors since Rod Laver won the grand slam in 1969. Federer was the other player to go 27-1, doing so in 2006.

GOAT debate

Djokovic now holds many of his own records. The peak he has reached in 2015 is the highest peak ever reached by a player. He has won four of the first seven 1000 events played so far this year and reached the final of all six that he has played in, while winning three of the majors and all four major finals.

However, when it comes to career records, the 28-year old has some work to do still. Many of Djokovic's accomplishments have the side comment of "Federer is the only other player to ever do this." While, Djokovic may lead Federer in average points earned per major, Federer leads the Serb in almost every other category having to do with grand slams.

Other than Federer though, nobody else is putting up numbers that are out of reach, except perhaps the incredible mark by Borg of 1148 ranking points earned per major. On the GOAT rankings, Federer may be out of reach for Djokovic right now, but everybody else is at risk of dropping behind Djokovic in the coming years.

Ultimately, what we saw in the 2015 US Open final were two of the sports all-time greats if not the two all-time greatest fighting for the most important trophy left in the 2015 season. Only time will tell how far Djokovic can climb the GOAT list.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Nole Disposes of Defending Champion in 85 min.

 NEW YORK, U.S. -- No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic wrapped up a comprehensive semifinal victory over defending champion Marin Cilic, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 in one of the most lopsided victories at the semifinals of a Grand Slam event in recent memory, Friday afternoon at the Billy Jean King Tennis Center.

The Serb won 14 of the first 15 games of the match for a convincing 6-0, 6-1, 2-0 lead before closing out the match in just 85 minutes to reach a fourth consecutive major semifinal. Djokovic is the first player since Roger Federer in 2009 to reach all four finals in a calendar year.

Djokovic has now reached his 18th career grand slam final and on Sunday will take on a Swiss player in his pursuit of his 10th career major title. Djokovic would join Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, and Bjorn Borg as the only players with double-digit men's singles titles at Grand Slam events.

When looking at some of the most lopsided major semifinal victories, Djokovic's win on Friday stands out among the best with Djokovic winning more than twice as many points as his opponent (83-39), giving him a dominance ratio* of 2.61.

At the  2006 Wimbledon semifinals, Federer needed just 77 minutes to dispatch Jonas Bjorkman, 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 with a dominance ration of 2.41 in the straight-set victory. Nadal also had a very lopsided win in the semifinals of his favorite Grand Slam, beating David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in 106 minutes with a dominance ratio of 2.03.

Djokovic had a similar match against Ferrer, beating him 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in 89 minutes with an incredible dominance ratio of 3.98 in the 2013 Australian Open semifinals, winning two-thirds of the point in the match.

There is no such thing as an easy semifinal opponent, but the way Djokovic eliminated the defending champion was one of the most statistically impressive wins at this stage of a major in recent memory.

*Dominance ratio is a stat from which is points won on return divided by points lost on serve.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

US Open 2015 Preview

The 2015 US Open could be a slam that we  look back on 10, 20, 30 years from now and point to as one of the most important majors in tennis history. Opportunity knocks for the sport of tennis to grow immensely in popularity over the next 15 days.

The main reason of course is Serena Williams' pursuit of the Grand Slam, which she is seven wins away from completing in her home country. It is the most prestigious accomplishment in tennis, and it hasn't been achieved since Steffi Graf in 1988. The sports world comes to a stop whenever a horse comes close to winning the triple crown. Imagine the excitement when as a human gets closer and closer to an even more impressive achievement in a real sport.

Here is a look at the other main story lines that make this US Open one of the most exciting majors in recent memory.

Youth Meets Experience - The men's singles draw is both as old and as young as it has been in recent memory. There are 10 teenagers in the main draw, representing the future of tennis and 40 players over 30 years old, representing what has been a golden era on the ATP. There are going to be several key match ups between players from the two groups, meaning lots of opportunities for a teenager to make a breakthrough on tennis' biggest stage.

The two matches that jump out from the draw are 18-year old Borna Coric against 14-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal and 20-year old Nick Kyrgios against London Olympics gold medalist Andy Murray. A win for either of the young challengers would rock the tennis world and could usher in a new era.

The other key potential matches between youth and experience are
Frances Tiafoe vs. Viktor Troicki
Hyeon Chung vs. Stan Wawrinka
Jared Donaldson vs. Roger Federer
Alexander Zverev vs. Roger Federer
Tommy Paul vs. Novak Djokovic
Lucas Pouille vs. Marin Cilic
Andrey Rublev vs. Kevin Anderson
Yoshihito Nishioka vs. Andy Murray
Dominic Thiem vs. Andy Murray
Bernard Tomic vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Thanasi Kokkinakis vs. Richard Gasquet

A win for anyone in the left column would be huge for tennis and not only create buzz for the rest of the tournament, but be a historic moment to look back on five years from now.

Bryan Brother's Pursuit of 17 - There's also the No. 1 men's doubles pairing of Bob and Mike Bryan, who are looking for a sixth US Open title and 17th grand slam title, which would tie John Newcomb and Roger Federer's record for most grand slam titles in a single discipline.

Americans of New York - There are 22 women and 17 men from the United States in the singles draws, including the No. 1 female tennis player Serena Williams in search of the Grand Slam.

Serena's Star-Spangled Path - This will be Madison Keys' first time playing in Flushing Meadows since reaching the Australian Open semifinals this season. She along with Sloane Stephens, who won her first career title in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, could be two of Serena Williams' opponents in the first week. Venus Williams waits as a potential quarterfinal opponent for her sister.

American Men's Youth: For the American men, fans will get a glimpse of the future with a stacked lineup of young talent. At 22 years old, Jack Sock is at a career-high ranking of No. 28 in the world and seeded at the US Open for the first time. The draw also features American teens such as Tommy Paul (18), who is making his grand slam debut, Frances Tiafoe (17), who is one of the most hyped teenagers in the sport, and Jared Donaldson (18), who is the third youngest player in the top 150 in the world.

Fish's Fairwell - For Mardy Fish, this will be his last US Open. The American reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 and held the torch as the American No. 1 for more than a year. He won five of his six singles titles in the United States and reached the second week of the US Open four times.

Djokovic's Perfect Season - Through the first three quarters of the season, the Serb has been as good as anyone in tennis has ever been leading into the US Open. If he reaches the final in Flushing Meadows, he will be the first player since Roger Federer in 2009 to reach the final of all four slams. If he wins the title, he will become the fifth male player in the Open Era with double-digit slam titles.

Federer's Quest for 18 - At 34 years old the Swiss Maestro has his best shot to win a grand slam title in years, following his title in Cincinnati, where he defeated the US Open's No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 3 seed Andy Murray. If he gets it done, he will be the only male tennis player with 18 ever tie Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in grand slam singles titles, trailing only Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tennis Stocks 2015

This time last year, I wrote a piece on the future of tennis in the best 40 countries at the time. I started by looking at where each country was ranked at the time and then tried to predict whether they would improve or not, or simply stay the same in general.

Now, a year later, I want to do the same predictions for five more years into the future. The rankings of the top countries are explained here. I made one change to take the top 38 and then add in Chile and Sweden, because both of those countries will be in the top 40 five years from now without a doubt.

For each country, I'm going to choose to buy, sell, or stay on each country's stocks over the next five years based on the age of the current top players from that country and the success of the younger players that are making their way up in the rankings.

1. Spain - SELL - This one is a slam dunk just like it was a year ago. The future of Spain is horribly dark, that in five years, they might not even be in the top 40. Spain currently has 12 players in the top 100 and 17 players in the top 132. Yet out of all those 17 players, only four are not yet 29 years old, which means all 13 of those 17 will be retired in five years if not at least very close to retirement and dropping in the rankings. The other four players aren't exactly young either and will be nearing the end of their careers in August of 2020 as well. Juame Munar is the one player that Spain can turn to for hope in the future and he has had a very disappointing 2015 season. Munar might be able to keep Spain on the tennis map, but he won't be able to keep it anywhere near the top 10 of this list.

2. Serbia - SELL - Novak Djokovic is literally 87% of the reason that Serbia is No. 2 on this list and a large part of the remaining 13% belongs to Viktor Troicki. Djokovic will probably still be around in five years, but there is no way he will still be producing this kind of magic in that far into the future. There are players that can pick up the slack, like Dusan Lajovic, Filip Krajinovic, Laslo Djere, Pedja Krstin, Miki Jankovic, and Nikola Milojevic, but none of those six players have really stepped up in the last 12 months. They all show promise, but even the six of them combined can't replace what Djokovic has done.

3. France - SELL - France isn't quite as old as Spain, but only a handful of its players 12 players currently in the top 140 will still be around in five years. France also has much more young talent than Spain, but it likely won't be enough to replace the consistency of maintaining good rankings of Jeremy Chardy, Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The young players making their way up are Laurent Lokoli, Corentin Moutet, Quentin Halys, Maxime Janvier, Theo Fournerie, Johan Sebastian Tatlot, Calvin Hemery. Maxime Hamou, and Enzo Couacaud. That's a large group of young talent and someone is sure to emerge out of that group. Also Lucas Pouille and Pierre-Hugues Herbert have not yet reached their peaks. France may have the most depth in the top 200 in five years, but staying top three is going to be a big task for the young group.

4. Switzerland - SELL - Roger Federer is 34 years old and still winning titles, so what's to stop him from doing the same when he is 39 years old? Still, I wouldn't bet on it. Stan Wawrinka is also sure to start dropping in the rankings very soon. These are the glory days of Swiss tennis, and there is nothing to suggest that they will ever return to this level any time in the foreseeable future.

5. Great Britain - SELL - Kyle Edmund is going to be a great tennis player when he hits his prime. There is no question about that. However, for me to buy on Great Britain, I would have to be arguing that he will be even better than Andy Murray essentially, which would be setting the expectations unrealistically high. I think Murray will still be around in five years, but a 33-year old Murray combined with peak form Edmund still isn't as good as Murray is right now with a 20-year old Edmund and Aljaz Bedene.

6. United States - BUY - We have our first buy and this one is about as much of a slam dunk as the Spain sell was. The United States may be No. 6 on this list, but that is still just about as bad as it has ever been for American tennis. Thankfully, the future is extremely bright. Let me just start naming off some reasons in no particular order: Jared Donaldson, Frances Tiafoe, Stefan Kozlov, Ernesto Escobedo, Collin Altamirano, Noah Rubin, Nathan Ponwith, Mitch Krueger, Tommy Paul, Reilly Opelka, Michael Mmoh, Taylor Fritz, William Blumberg, Dennis Uspensky, Alex Rybakov, and Deiton Baughman. Also, let's not forget about the guys that have already made a name for themselves but still haven't reached their peaks yet: Jack Sock, Denis Kudla, Bjorn Fratangelo, Ryan Harrison, and Tennys Sandgren among many others. Plus, there are the guys that went to college and are taking a little longer to reach their peaks, but in five years, will be very dangerous: Steve Johnson, Bradley Klahn, Austin Krajicek, Rhyne Williams, Jarmere Jenkins, Dennis Novikov, Marcos Giron, and Connor Smith among others. The United States will have an unreal amount of depth in five years. Possibly even more than what Spain has now.

7. Japan - SELL - I bought on Japan last year, largely because they were No. 12 in the world at the time. Continuing to move up will be a huge challenge for the Japanese. Yoshihito Nishioka and Taro Daniel look like the future of Japanese tennis aside from Kei Nishikori, who is No. 4 in the world. It's hard to predict that Nishikori will remain that high five years from now, which is a large reason I am selling on Japan. However, the drop won't be too significant.

8. Czech Republic - SELL - This one is pretty simple to analyze, since there's not a lot of moving parts. In five years, Tomas Berdych will be at least near retirement, while Jiri Vesely will be 27 years old, which is the peak for a lot of tennis players. Lukas Rosol will be out of the picture by then and Adam Pavlasek will be much more developed physically. It's simply a question of will Pavlasek and Vesely be better in five years than Berdych, Vesely, and Rosol are now. That does not look too likely.

9. Croatia - HOLD - Will Borna Coric have a better career than Marin Cilic? I would say, yes. Will Cilic still be in the top 100 in five years? Most likely. Will there be room in the top 35 in five years for three Croations? That's what I can't see. Ivo Karlovic and Ivan Dodig will be long gone in five years. There are other Croats on the horizon, but it really all comes down to Coric. He certainly has the ability to be a No. 1 player in the world, but moving the country into the top eight in five years will be tough to do. Remember that a large part of why Croatia is in the top 10 to begin with is because Cilic won the US Open in the last 12 months. 

10. Australia - BUY - This is an obvious one. Almost all of the players that helped Australia get to No. 10 on this list will still be around in five years and the majority of them will be even better. Plus, Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis, and Omar Jasika all have top 10 potential for a country that currently has nobody in the top 20. Aside from the United States and perhaps France, nobody's future is brighter than Australia's.

11. Italy - SELL - I held on Italy last year and then Luca Vanni came out of nowhere and bumped their ranking up a couple spots. In five years, they will go back down a couple spots.

12. Argentina - BUY - These last 18 months have been a disaster for the Argentina with the injury to Juan Martin del Potro and the struggles on Juan Monaco. They can only go up from here.

13. Germany - BUY - Alexander Zverev has the hopes of a nation riding on his shoulders. This is another country that is accustomed to being in the top eight. No. 13 is about as low as it gets. If Zverev doesn't step up, somebody will.

14. Belgium - HOLD - David Goffin and Kimmer Coppejans represent the future of Belgian tennis. They have already moved the country up from No. 30 to No. 14 in just one year. The two of them should be able to keep the country's ranking right around there.

15. Canada - BUY - Milos Raonic has been injured lately which has allowed Canada's ranking as a country to slip. However, they should be back in the top 10 within a couple years and then it is just a matter of maintaining it with the help of upcoming juniors like Felix Auger Aliassime and David Volfson.

16. Austria - SELL - Dominic Thiem is already No. 20 in the world and he is going to have to improve enough in the next five years to almost single-handedly replace the efforts of the other two Austrians in the top 140.

17. Ukraine - SELL - There just isn't much to be excited about in terms of tennis in European countries and Ukraine is no different. When talking about the next generation Vadym Ursu is the only one who is really even a part of the conversation from Ukraine and he alone can't replace the talent there is now.

18. Russia - BUY - It seems like every Russian is in a slump right now. That's what it takes to drop such a great tennis country down to No. 18. Roman Safiullin, Karen Khachenov, and Andrey Rublev are three of the most exciting teenagers in tennis right now, surely Russia will be much higher on this list in five years.

19. Brazil - HOLD-  Orlando Luz, Guilherme Clezar, and Thiago Monteiro all have shown lots of potential on the clay, but not much outside of the clay. Still, three solid clay specialists will be enough to keep Brazil in the top 20. 

20. Slovakia - SELL - Martin Blasko looks like he could reach the top 100 some day, but that won't be enough to keep Slovakia at the top 20. With Klizan and Lacko reaching the ends of their careers at that point, Slovakia won't be in fantastic shape.

21. South Africa - SELL
22. Bulgaria - BUY
23. Colombia - SELL
24. Kazhakstan - HOLD
25. Uruguay - SELL
26. Luxembourg - SELL
27. Portugal - BUY
28. Dominican Republic - SELL
29. Cyprus - SELL
30. Slovenia - BUY
31. Poland - BUY
32. Latvia - SELL
33. Uzbekistan
34. Korea - BUY
35. Lithuania - SELL
36. Netherlands - SELL
37. Turkey - SELL
38. Moldova - SELL
39. Chile - BUY
40. Sweden - BUY