The unpredictabe nature is indeed one of the characteristics of the game PAW (Pick-A-Winner). To open 2004, the Gold Coast tournament was just that. En route to a memorable first career title victory, Belgian zorgzamesnip witnesses a herd of defining events that would dramaticise the 8 days of “tension and excitement.” The occurrences included the early brilliant performance of the wildcard entries, a major controversery arousing surrounding an accidental misjudgement surround one of the matches, top seeded SpikeyAidanm’s collapse from 1st to 12th within a day and the disablement of efficient service from WTAWorld message boards towards the concluding stages.
In what was a sparkling third tournament, world number 162 Rossana Fan surprised everyone by coming second, the flamboyant Aussie showed great potential in registering a total of 139 points. Compatriot and reigning Wimbledon champ – aussie_stars had a solid tournament to finish 3rd, ahead of 2003 riser – K&J fan, who tied equal 4th with early leader raquel and the very experienced WTA Handicapper. Debutant komwalkmas impressed with a 7th place finish, as did first timer matthias who finished 12th.
Unfazed by a 2 month break, Portuguese marcobarella has climbed a huge ladder of the past few months, registering 4 finals in which he won Tashkent. The form that he displayed in 2003 continued on in the Auckland tournament, a Tier IV tournament with a strong field, in which the 8th seed (ntohir) was ranked a highly 23. marcobarella picked with more conscience and technique, opting for some big pointers that is all so important in the game of PAW. Like in Helsinki and Tashkent, marcobarella and speedster_ engaged in a battle of brinkmanship, one similar to that of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis between Kennedy and Khruschev.
Top seeded speedster_ applied the pressure first opting for a final pick of “Harkleroad over Daniilidou” that would in essence bring him the title if she won, marcobarella made a tough decision to go for Daniilidou, yet it proved decisive, winning the tournament by a narrow 2 points over unseeded yet revitalized ghosts, who looks to be in sharp form heading into the 2004 form season. Newbie Philip performed with some weapons up his sleeve, reaching the semis with an equal 3rd, behind him were early pace setter silent140 (5th), 2nd seeded Jakub and aussiefan83, who despite finishing 6th, perhaps was a victim of WTAWorld’s inaccessibility over the end hours of the tournament.
Like his/her performance in Philadelphia 2003, matija-seles showed great precision in all 13 of his/her PAW’s. The lack of major upsets at the 2004 Sydney International was a welcoming sign for the Polish player who thrives on correct accurate picks to build up points. Canadian Nathan27 looks to be in for a breakthrough year, finishing a solid second ahead of the equal third duo of US Open champion yucky and the lone Mexican in PAW – Alek. Big things are expected of Nir this year and he didn’t disappoint, registering a 5th place finish that is currently at the top of her CV for 2004. Further down the table saw solid performances from Grice, croat123 & Lee-Waters’ Boy who tied for 6th, ahead of Belgium prodigy – kimclijsetrs4ever.
In 2003, Duleml was one of a hefty group of talented individuals who captured two PAW titles, in the span of two months – Zurich and also Pattaya. Just one tournament after his last tournament win, Duleml, now seeded 6, claimed another victory, this time in the Australian capital city of Australia. This player who is one of a few from Serbia Cerno-Gora has the potential to be a solid top 10 player, his temperament and persistence is already up there with the greats. Having not played since Miami 2003, former world number #7 kfh_9118 bettered 2003’s Canberra performance, finishing 2 places better in second. Always a regular – aussiefan83 lived up to his first ever seeding in a tournament, compiling a juicy 90 points to finish 3rd, ahead of newcomers – New from Singapore, and AGUSTIN from the Argentine.
Sentimental favourite – the ”old bionic battler” not only had to contend with the vastly improving newcomers but had to subjugate the harsh playing conditions characteristic of a Tier V, in a week which saw him capture his first career title since San Diego in 2002. First timer ~Isidora~ arrived to the scene and didn’t seem to display a single weakness to his/her repertoire, finishing second, yet faltering on his/her last two picks. German matthias, who debuted strongly last week on the Gold Coast proved he is indeed a force to be reckoned with this year, climbing from no where to finish 3rd. The success of Salerni helped Catriel earn his best ever tournament finish – a 4th, yet an unavailability to post his last two PAW’s ensured he is still searching fort hat elusive first title.
PAW Grand Slam Champions are becoming more and more difficult to predict with the last three winners coming from players ranked well outside the top 100. #165 Geoffry did the inevitable in Melbourne, after just beginning PAW this year, he became one of two Belgians to win the possible six titles that have been contested this year. But not only did Geoffry become a Grand Slam champion but he won it like a true champion – displaying calm nerves and thoughtful moves beyond years. He ended up with 17-9 win-loss for his 26 PAW’s and was able to climb up to the top through collecting a series of points rather than going for outright winners. And that seemed to be the case at the Australian Open, most of the big points were collected in the first few rounds and it was up to players to carefully pick their matches for the last few rounds. Je_ne_sais_quoi bettered his former best PAW result in Toronto last year, by finishing runner-up. The World No #47 got up the table earlier by gaining some big points with a limited number of picks, it was just up to him to hold of his opponents the rest of the way.
Playing also in only his 3rd tournament, Sydney's cooldudeanzela finished 3rd on 239 points ahead of the all so consistent bbypk from Spain, who successfully defended his 2003 Aussie Open points from last year. Bbypk (6) is without doubt the best PAW player that has never won a title, surely he is set to get the monkey off his back this year. Further down saw a very impressive performance from Canadian pReUrBrIyN who was equal 5th with a rejuvenated ZAK. Veteran warhorses filled the rest of the table with the experienced bionic71 (14), Elisse (18) and Buitenzorg (9) being mixed with the newcomers of camoya, levos (debut tournament), jrm, korben and Razor (debut tournament).
A total of 109 players made their 2689 picks in which 78 went for “Molik over Hantuchova,” the tournament’s most popular PAW made on the day when the PAW Aussie Open thread was controversially moved to the PAW forum.
The always optimistic Rtael, ranked 11 after the first Grand Slam of the year was quoted saying - “I can guaranteed you that I will win one (title) this year and probably a lot more than just one!” in his pre-tournament press conference at the Gold Coast. Whilst some players may talk to talk but fail to walk to walk, Rtael has obviously proved not to be one of those. Last year’s clay court starlet found the numerous WTAWorld shutdowns as just a minor distraction, carving his way to a juicy total of 137 points from 8 correct picks. 2nd seeded sandg recuperated from his early blues after failing to defend the Gold Coast. Sandg picked smartly notching up a fancy 9-2 win-loss ratio from only 11 PAW’s. The inability to post the full amount of PAW’s was a characteristic of this tournament particularly with WTAWorld’s continuing inaccessibility and four matches in the main draw that never took place due to withdrawals. A nuisance for all 102 players, indeed.
Playing in only his/her third tournament, Slovakian jrm is starting to raise a few eyebrows for his high standard of play, after a round of 16 performance at the Australian Open, jrm added more points to his/her total, finishing a classy 3rd. The iron man of the tour – ghosts, had a return to form finishing in 4th place above last year’s Quebec City champion, the emotional and highly energetic ntohir. Unheralded Brit andrew_uk notched up his best PAW tournament performance (6th) along with j_dementieva27 (7th). Further down the table, recent Grand Slam winner Geoffry finished equal 28th.
Having squandered early leads in Birmingham, Zurich and the Masters, world number one SpikeyAidanm (AUS), did something unique in Paris. Instead of setting the early pace, he gradually made his way up a very closely contested table for an extremely narrow victory. It what was the first World No 1 vs 2 final this year, Spikey finished just one point ahead of his versatile rival. It was sandg’s second consecutive final, having also finishing runner-up last week in Tokyo TPP. World #64 KoOlMaNsTeVeN, a former winner of Antwerp had a very promising tournament, notching a 3rd place finish.
Early joint leaders – sPAWrty and aussie_stars appeared to be unbeatable after the completion of the second round, by leaving out the “Golovin over Dementieva” pick, they both were relugated from their top position. In the end sPAWrty, playing in only his/her third tournament finished equal 5th with the steady and all to consistent bbypk, whilst aussie_stars made a third quarter-final (8th) of the year, moving up to a new career high of #13. US-Swiss giant ZAK, already a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open, finished 4th and is now 8th in the PAW Race to the Champions. Somewhat quietly, former world number 8 bionic71, notched up his five consecutive top ten finish of 2004, ending up 10th.
Like his compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne (who debuted with a tournament win), K&J fan proved to be a force to be reckoned with in his premature years. He was a finalist at the prestigious Tier I – Berlin in only his third tournament highlighting his strong sense of composure and maturity, a final component needed to be a top PAW player. And after his first victory, in his hometown of Antwerp, K&J fan was lost for words, describing the triumph as mere “beautiful.” Not only does the title ensure a crack into the top 10 for the first time, but it crowned a third Belgian title winner this year, joining zorgzamesnip (Gold Coast) and Geoffry (Australian Open). But the Belgian success continued with 5 Belgians rounding out the top 20, Come-on-Kim (4th), Geoffry (10th), zorgzamesnip (16th) and kimclijsters4ever (19th). Latvia’s Lady, one of two players from a minor tennis playing country picked well to finish 2nd, ahead of the vastly approving j_dementieva27, who held a perfect win-loss record heading into day four. World number two sandg had a third consecutive top 10 finish, moving him to third in the race after finishing a solid 6th.
PAW was privileged when Mexican Alek – runner of the game FWTT and a respected moderator of the board joined PAW for the first time in 2004. After only five tournaments, on week 6 Alek was crowned a champion but had to withstand a very nervous last few hours, he needed Zvonareva to defeated Raymond, which was looking unlikely as she was down 2-5 and had to fight off three match points. At the same time 21 Watts (a WC) also was on the verge of his first title having picked Raymond, he would eventually have to be content with a 4th place finish. Zvonareva’s amazing comeback was a major relief not only for Alek (who now moves into the top 100), but for the revitalised ghosts, who had yet another impressive week finishing 2nd. Playing at home for the first time all year, jerk-in-the-box notched a 3rd place finish. 4th seeded Grice finally dusted some of the cobwebs, recording his/her first satisfying result of the year (5th).
Pondering retirement at the fragile age of 14, Tomas11’s career headed to a new direction after claiming his first title in Hyderabad, in only his fifth tournament. Having personal problems in Paris, this victory was one the talented Israeli deserved to treasure, vowing to return next year. Tomas11 only needed 12 picks to wear down the field, big things are expected of Matthias and he delivered with a blossomy 2nd place finish. Early leader Nicky2002, whilst disappointed of not winning should be proud of her 3rd place finish. Further down, 4th place went to the unpredictable azza, with “rivals” marcobarella and speedster_ mirroring with success, claiming equal 5th.
Renowned for coming to win from "no-where" World No 8 petosp won yet again, Claiming a narrow 1 point victory over world number four butch, completing another high-class final. Petosp did not look in contention before the quarter-final, in fact he was outside the top 10 which makes his victory all the more remarkable. The pivotal pick came in "Shaughnessy over Myskina," not the most popular pick but one which gave him a juicy 15 points. He later made a critical and somewhat controversial decision to edit his final PAW - to Kuznetsova over Sugiyama, instead of the reverse, this elevated him to first place.
Last year's 3 title winner butch, who had never lost in a final until this tournament, finally made up amends for what so far has been a lacklustre 2004. One of butch's pivotal picks was "Daniilidou over Capriati." In 3rd place was zorgzamesnip, who had his best performance since winning the Gold Coast, the rapidly improving Russian saab95 placed fourth ahead of four aussies - Benny, Nicky2002, aussie_stars and azza, who occupied the 5th - 8th positions. World number two sandg continued his amazing consistency, finished in the top 10 for the 4th straight week.
Playing in his first tournament in his own continent, Argentina's Catriel who may have squandered a chance to win in Hobart this year, did not look back and claimed his first title on the competitive PAW tour. In a week which say two massive excess 150 pointers from a match, the seven players who successfully opted for "Falcon over Leon Garcia" and "Schwartz over Schruff" were awarded with top 7 finishes. One of these was Australian Open champion, Geoffry, an early leader who ended up 3rd, behind speedster_, who was labelled "a lower tier expert" by Nir this week. Rounding off the podium saw cdpoulin1, playing in his first tournament in 2004 finishing 4th ahead of the dynamic Brazilian - Hantuchov who placed 5th.
Nicky2002 has been a success story in 2004. The young Australian now completes three consecutive top 10 finishes in the past three weeks and has set herself to be a forced to be reckoned with for the rest of the year. In second place placed Jeff, who despite not picking the Li over Callens (36 pointer) was still able to catapult to a whopping 166 points through careful conscience. Last week’s Doha winner petosp, proved to be yet again extremely comfortable with the Arab conditions, ending up 4th despite picking his last two PAW’s incorrectly in a last minute decision. The other semi-finalist was oren987 who has already achieved his highest PAW rank last week by breaking into the top 30, and this week will rise even higher. Yes, the Israeli bandwagon keeps on rolling.
WTA Handicapper finished 5th his best performance to date for Britain’s sentimental favourite, however he could have seriously contended for the title after being 10th from only 4 picks after day 2. Nevertheless he enters Indian Wells with newly found confidence. The vastly improving ntohir recorded a 6th spot, ahead of New (7th), Klio (8th) and equal 9th – SpikeyAidanm (1) and efss.
Exactly 500 points was the total, January’s player of the month yielded in 13 brilliant picks to become the first player this season to win 2 titles. The Belgian whose performance this week will give added momentum to his PAW race ranking lead looks set to be the ”SpikeyAidanm” of 2003, who similarly did not fear his inexperience in his first year of PAW. In what was an impressive performance, fellow 2004 debutant kyk710 placed 2nd for his top effort of the year, ahead of ghosts and jrm, a Bulgarian and Slovak Republican respectively who have been superb all season. This was ghosts fourth top 4 finish for the year and for February’s riser of the month – jrm, another momentous performance. Cdpoulin1 loves the clay, finishing 5th.
Former No 3 Jakub was 6th albeit hindered a chance for victory by failing his last PAW. Further down, speedster_ finished in the top 10 for the 5th time this season, “Mr Consistency” recorded a 7th place finish ahead of the equal 8th duo of paellapan and canuckfan. To emphasise the competitive nature of this tournament, paellapan could have won the title with a correct last pick, but instead finished 8th. The best of the players that failed to pick one of two 200 pointers this week was Nathan27, whose efforts were rewarded with a 28th finish and a mere 2 ranking points.
There a few players come above Hantuchov in terms of personality, sportsmanship and temperament. The lone yet fresh Brazilian on the tour had a major rites of passage victory in the prestigious Tier 1 of Indian Wells winning by 5 points ahead of mypapa_je. Hantuchov’s game style has always been attributed by believing in his favourites which makes this triumph all the more satisfying. To win a tournament, you must have a few picks which are risks and differ from others, an example was his “Sucha over Loit” pick, which may have been only for 13 points but demonstrates how he did not fall in the trap of simply picking the obvious.
It was a promising tournament for mypapa_je, who now breaks into the top 30 barrier. Always a threat, he raced to an early lead, thanks to some “big” upsets early on. In 3rd place was Latvian Lady, who has already put herself in contention for the PAW newcomer of the year award with a series of excellent high podium finishes. Like Lady, Philip is another newcomer to this game who began in 2004 and similarly is improving tournament by tournament, the Brit who rates PAW as his second favourite game had a perfect 4-0 start and never looked back.
Antwerp winner K&J fan looks to break into the elusive top 5 with another very nice 5th finish, he is awarded with a fruitful 107 rankings points, and has none to defend until Berlin. Tied for equal 6th was nitsansh (endured his best ever PAW Tournaments through always opting for big pointers), Je_ne_sais_quoi (who finally put in a “decent” performance after his Aussie Open breakthrough) and geegables (whose final pick of “Henin over Davenport” illustrated he does have a future beckoned upon him). A total of 112 players participated, the most ever for a PAW tournament, with the post popular pick being “Kleibanova over Kostanic” which drew 78 players.
The last time a PAW player came close to emulating a feat Hantuchov achieved in Miami was Grice who won Toronto (Tier 1) and San Diego (Tier 2) within the space of 3 weeks, last year. But what Hantuchov did this time round was indeed more impressive, a mark that will almost certainly go down in PAW’s Hall of Fame. Back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami, coming first in a 112 player field both times, and in Miami’s case absolutely dominating the field, that he was already odds on to win the title even during the half way point of the tournament. Hantuchov is set for some enormous 2004, inevitably he will be the hunted not the hunter.
Semis in Indian Wells were following by a runner-up in Miami, despite getting slaughtered in the final, Philip claims “Riser of the Month of March” and the talent in Great Britain is surely blossoming. Coming back from his first tournament since placing 5th at the Australian Open, Plear (formerly pReUrBrIyN) who was a late wildcard entry here finished third, even despite picking the “Dragomir over Ondraskova” match, a fine achievement for the Canadian. The unpredictable kyk710, a finalist in Acapulco proves he can match it on his home turf as well, ending up 4th.
Playing in only his second tournament, Dutchman James is another on the exciting young prospects on the rise, showing no mercy to finish 5th. Finally registering a decent performance this year, 11th seed Pintaled tied 6th with early leader saab95. Nicky2002 picked with perfection early on but faltered later on, denying her a better finish than 10th, the two ahead of her - _shorty_ and AGUSTIN (both talents on the rise) both put in solid performances to seal equal 9th, at what is renowned as the “5th Grand Slam” on the PAW Tour.
Strategies to succeed in a PAW Tournament were shown in contrasting angles at Amelia Island 2004. For Canadian Plear, playing in only his 5th tournament of the year after a 1 ½ month break after the Australian Open, it was compiling a juicy large amount of points through picking the “big-pointers” all in the first and second round. For sandg, the eventual winner, it was picking a few upsets but mainly relying on using every single pick effectively, which meant even picking some 6-pointers, as well as some 18-pointers, he also spread his picks nicely throughout the tournament.
Both techniques if done to near perfection has it’s benefits, Plear was coming off a semi in Miami, and now remains the player to watch out for the rest of the year whilst sandg, already having made 2 tournament finals, captures his first title since Roland Garros last year, but moreover becoming PAW’s new world number 1 player, now a few points above SpikeyAidanm.
Rtael, who needed “Henin to beat Mauresmo” to secure a second title of the year, ended up 3rd, but nevertheless is proving to be a consistent force all year. PAW veteran with a new namesake – spencercarlos lived up to his seeding tying fourth with wateva. Despite a late start, Jakub went 15-1 in his 16 picks and was rewarded with a 7th place finish behind the somewhat revitalized Buitenzorg at 6th.
Sometimes a break from the PAW tour can have its benefits, skipping a few weeks can make one more ready, fresh, prepared and motivated to go. For Finland’s only player – korben, coming off a 4th round showing at the Aussie Open, the 2 month break did him wonders, he came back and along with bgbgbg (who finished 2nd) to blitz the 23 player field to capture his first title in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city.
Bulgarian’s No 2 player, a newcomer already performing like an experienced campaigner – bgbgbg made life tough for korben, the two exchanging picks until the very last hours before the finals match, it was a tense time. In 3rd place, a player who is habitual at lower tiers – marcobarella, in fourth place was masha who only used 8 picks and 5th and 6th place were given to paellapan (4) and Pintaled (1), both having impressive starts but shallow finishes.
Perhaps it what was the best ever possible start to any PAW tournament, mypapa_je picked 7 correct upsets and held 100 points from seven picks after day one. This title was already his to be won. With alarms in his camp to tell him not to “choke,” mypapa_je played maturely and it was pretty evident that no one could catch him, winning with a pick to spare and 10 points above first timer kafelek in the final, who surprised all with such a spectacular debut. The Canadians have started to become the latest force on the PAW Tour, and perhaps the most consistent of those has been Plear, who has now recorded three straight top 5 finishes in Miami, Amelia Island and Charleston. Indeed he is a player on the rise and his compatriots are doing likewise.
Plear finished 4th, with 3rd going to Canuck_Fan, in his best ever performance. In 7th spot, cdpoulin1, who since his Acapulco debut has made four top ten finishes out of his 6 tournaments this year. Wateva, seems to like the Green Clay, carrying on last week’s form for a 5th place finish, Lore, the latest of the Belgium juggernaut showed promise by reaching 6th. Rtael had a major comeback after being 47th after round two, picking the upsets and being rewarded, climbing all the way to 9th, proving the tournament is never over until it’s over.
Is bgbgbg a future PAW Champion? … It certainly is appearing to be that way. The Bulgarian, who impressed in his debut in Doha, now has two finals to his name, and after just four tournaments, has won a PAW title – in Estoril, and the convincing nature of the win (18 pts of the RU) made all the more promising. In what turned out to be a tournament for the “Bulgarians,” 2004’s Comeback player it seems – ghosts, had another monumental tournament, climbing up the table steadily for a 2nd pace finish. He was followed by crazillo who had his best ever PAW tournament result with a equal 3rd place finish. Dutchman James, a QF'ist in Miami, made up for a lacklustre week in Casablanca to finish 3rd. In equal 4th saw a mixture of talent, newbie tuna and German Frongie. Further down Duleml had his best tournament since his victory in Canberra, finishing 7th ; top seeded aussie_stars did not have the best of tournaments, finishing equal 21st, clearly the bigger tournaments are in his comfort zone.
When players perform at a high level after limited experience on tour, you know they have something “special” about them, whilst persistence is awarded in PAW, so is talented natural instinct, something which has to be naturally built into you. Two shining angels shared the Warsaw title, the first joint PAW title since Filderstadt 2003, silverwhite playing in only his/her third tournament carefully finished the week with an 11-2 record and a wealthy 92 points, these efforts are a testament to the Singaporean’s 'no-fear' attitude. Equally impressive was saab95, one of the best rookies on tour ever since his Shanghai debut (where he finished 2nd) last year, the best Russian now moves within the top 40, alarm bells are ringing, this player is a contender to be a consistent top tenner, only time, and little time, will tell.
The week in Warsaw was characterised by very few limited “big pointers” that won, with “Schiavone over Mauresmo” only being PAWed by 8 different players. It was the type of week where safe picks were rewarded, whether that meant going for 8 or 7 pointers. This meant it was no surprise that WTA Handicapper, renowed for conservative but thoughtful PAWing had a successful tournament, the former top tenner finished 5th.
Whilst the press in Belgium are still casting blames over their Fed Cup’s team lousy loss to Germany, Lore, who was idle that week, is proving to be an emerging new talent, finishing 4th and proving Belgium’s future continues to flourish. Ahead of her was Grice (3rd), somewhat pressurised - defending champion butch failed to impress, losing confidence with a 37th finish.
A common question that may have to be pondered - What is the best PAW rivalry since the open era – Spikey/Sandg? Nah…, Wojtek/Ajayares… sure but…., what about if you think more deeply of what makes a rivalry – think Marcobarella/Paellapan…. :devil: . These two are your typical jungle warriors who will leave all their emotions out on court. The Budapest Final was the grudge match of the year, with personal reasons separating the two, it was a conflict not to miss, the greatest match up ever? No, but surely one of the most fierce and competitively fought. The Albanian who defeated the Portuguese father of two in Sopot, did the same in Budapest, although there appeared to be some sarcasm at the end of the match and during the trophy presentation, with both players exchanging :nerner: ’s.
Paellapan claims his 3rd title, joining an elusive group, marcobarella meanwhile made his 6th PAW final, impressive for a player who only debuted just 12 odd months ago. The German renaissance continued, Fed Cup hangovers played dividends, crazillo (3rd) and Matthias (6th) both will go into the Berlin Open next week with high spirits. Playing in his 2nd tournament, alwayshingis is another name to watch out for, Great Britain’s best performer in the Fed Cup finished tied for equal 3rd. Another notable performer was MagicMilan (5th).
Belgium’s 5th crown of the year did not come without its rewards. For 6th seeded K&J fan, already a winner in Antwerp, his narrow 2 pt win over raquel in the final assured the retrieval of privileges every PAW player aspires to. K&J fan was awarded with an increase in his yearly total earnings to $408,880, a rise to a career high #4 in the world ranks, a leap to # 2 in the Race, as well as bringing home a 5th title of the season. Just going back to the point that he is now No 2 on the race, fellow Belgium Geoffry is still No 1 … does this remind you of a certain duo :cuckoo: :p
There were other lessons learnt from Berlin, there is fine line between winning and simply “losing:, from coming 1st and 2nd there is a big difference in it’s rewards. If Venus Williams did not come back from a set down against Karolina Sprem in their SF, raquel would have won the title and further guaranteeing the final match would be played, so WTA Handicapper’s position could have risen. PAW is indeed a game of luck, but also of careful and conservative picking, which we can tell from WTA Handicapper’s 4rd place finish. After a “slow” start to the year, the veteran had his first semi since the Gold Coast, with one pick to spare.
Another lesson learnt from this tournament with 107 players was that players seem to perform better when the pressure is on, when they have a whole junk of points to defend. If K&J fan hadn’t finished at least in the top 5, he would have departed the top 10, he played carefully and resisted temptation (something that is very hard to do, I might add!), last year saw a similar story with ajayares defending his title.
Raquel, the captain of Great Britain’s gallant Fed Cup team had a momentous tournament in finishing 2nd, an American looking to replicate their recent misfortunes - kerbear proved his rise with 3rd, steady marcobarella and exciting Nica tied for 5th and further down Ireland’s first player in PAW - Frooty_Bazooty made a promising debut by placing 14th.
When a PAW Tournament goes down to the wire, no player in contention is without a burden of anxiousness and panic whether it be during matchtimes or during practice. The 119th PAW tournament of the game’s rich history was perhaps one of the most closely fought. :hatoff: firstly to the winner Nathan27 who practically led the whole way through. What is interesting was Nathan27 – already a finalist at Sydney this year was forced to employ a new game plan since he would be busy during the week. Surely this approach will not bring out consistent results but every once in awhile it works. Just look at the flashy Buitenzorg’s 6th place finish - he can have some real rough tournaments but some real good ones. And although succeeding in PAW requires consistency, players that may finish around 10th each week for 8 consecutive weeks will earn around as many pts that Nathan27 did for one week.
Was this PAW Tournament a war? :scared: Well, certainly the similarities in the environment can be made. Intense, unpredictable, even to a terrifying extent. Intense during the Capriati – Mauresmo match where there was no clear winner until the final set (8-6) tiebreaker, unpredictable in WTAWorld’s frequent crashes and terrifying for his rivals when Nathan27’s original PAW16 was declared too late.
The strongest were rewarded, with a collection of medallions? Well not quite, but with big and important PAW ranking pts especially in an era of unthinkable competition.. No one will :banghead: over Capriati’s loss than canuckfan, with chances for his 2nd PAW title ... instead he finished 3rd, behind the player who always seems to feature in exciting PAW tourney finishes - 47 Rambaldi <0>. With a QF to defend, Pintaled moved up another level to finish 4th, ahead of Hantuchov who added extra spice in the tournament when Farina Elia was just one game away from taking him to the lead after day 5. Three talented pupils filled 7th place, the accomplished Lady, the ascending andrew_uk along with the very skillful silverwhite.
lol, didn't know anyone read it, it will be up soon, I hope :)
May 25th, 2004, 07:34 AM
of course we read them :drool:
May 25th, 2004, 07:52 PM
I just love those reports :D
since I finished 3rd in Vienna, I really can't wait any longer to read it, seems like my performance in RG is suffering from it :p :lol:
May 26th, 2004, 12:07 AM
lol, didn't know anyone read it, it will be up soon, I hope :)
I like read these reports! :p
May 26th, 2004, 04:21 AM
Spikey will not be participating in any PAW management duties until further notice :sad:
May 26th, 2004, 04:54 AM
Why, Why, Why??????/
May 26th, 2004, 05:04 AM
It's a time thing, I have to get my priorites straight, I have some major exams which I am behind in, I need to make a drastic move on or I will fail.
May 27th, 2004, 12:46 PM
Yes same for me Aidan. I wont run the tourneys I think. Fucking school.....
Jun 4th, 2004, 11:06 AM
PAW Prizemoney updates from Vienna/Roland Garros/Strasbourg and Commentary from Vienna/Strasbourg will be posted on June 10/11th.
Jun 4th, 2004, 12:01 PM
Thank you very much mate.
Jun 5th, 2004, 06:42 AM
A note to all, PAW Title commentary will now appear in the monthly PAW Magazine that will be posted in a few days time.
The May Issue will be released soon.
Jun 5th, 2004, 07:51 PM
Great idea SpikeyAidanm.
Jun 5th, 2004, 09:52 PM
God I Love Your Ideas Aidan!!!!!! :bounce:
Jul 1st, 2004, 08:07 AM
PAW history was made in Strasbourg, for the first time in history has a player leapt from such position (outside the top 20) to No 1 on the final day, Lee-Waters’ Boy, who has had an average year finally got a much needed boost in his 2nd year on tour, by winning his first title. As mentioned, in the most bizarre circumstances. His victory is also a motivation for players who may be totally out of contention before the final. Claudine Schaul who was largely responsible for his title with an unlikely win over Lindsay Davenport in the final, in one of the biggest upsets this year indeed. The experienced bubble, who has returned to the tour from a serious injury lead early, but ended 2nd with 96 points, ahead of the flashy kafelek (3rd). PAW officials were disappointed that no player from France entered in their home tournament.
With four titles within a 9 month period, speedster_ may be thinking of extending his trophy cabinet. He was particularly impressive in his 2 point triumph over oren987 in the final, with the Israeli having been PAWing in a rejuvenated fashion ever since losing his status as the top Israeli late last year. In PAW, you are usually rewarded if you pick a “big pointer” that isn’t necessarily the most popular pick – speedster_’s “Jidkova over Rubin pick” justifies this theory. Early leader K&J fan had another sparkling tournament in 3rd and Nir looked more determined on court with a SF showing (4th).
Roland Garros now completes are quartet of the most unlikely Grand Slam winners in PAW history, with all of them coming from outside the top #100. #118 ranked crazillo even admitted he was surprised with this win, at his first ever Grand Slam. The German Number 3 whose best performances of the year were a 3rd in Estoril and Budapest made Roland Garros a tournament to savour. He compiled a total of 214 points in a unique fashion, in round two he PAWed “Garbin over Henin-Hardenne,” probably the best ever PAW made in the history of the game. Not for the 41 points but for the fact that he was the only player to have PAWed this, just a simple decision is the difference in triumph and disaster.
Spencercarlos, usually a shallow performer in Grand Slams, reached the final and equals his career high rank of #2. Interestingly, spencercarlos is the type of player that can have some shocking tournaments but also some very high finishes, not your typical consistent battler but he is rewarded for it nevertheless. And With #1 SpikeyAidanm having a disaster tournament, he may become PAW’s 6th player to hold the World No 1 rank in a few weeks.
Intriguing talent Hantuchov finished 3rd which moves him to first position in the Race, four points behind placed Nir who seems to rise to the occasion of a slam and now moves into the top 10 for the first time. This Grand Slam also marked the rise of the newcomers, jrm showed a game of a veteran in placing 5th, geegables (6th), bgbgbg (10th) Lore (12th) all proved themselves to be players to watch out for in the future.
In of the most tightly Tier 3’s contested in PAW history, canuckfan and Nexeo shared honours on the final day, both earning 200 points from their 16 PAW’s. For canuckfan this is second title after winning Philadelphia on debut last year, another title for the Canadians who seem to have put themselves in strong contention for the country of the year award. Bahamian Nexeo, playing in only his second tournament, was not overwhelmed by the situation and his title shows the diversity and depth of the PAW Tour. Tournament winners are becoming more and more unpredictable to this day. Matthias finished 3rd after leading for most of the tournament, he too has the tools to be an stabled top 10 player.
With one of the most dynamic names on tour, Frooty_Bazooty did everything right in Eastbourne, well he didn’t pick perfectly, but it was better than his 68 other competitors. Frooty picked Daniela Hantuchova in each of her 5 matches, she had been a rough player to PAWers recently, losing many matches where she should have won. But Frooty’s belief in her was something else. *Yoav* unexpected run to the final boosts Israel’s future as a Fed Cup nation, many believe it was Nir who was able to spur that belief amongst Israeli PAW newcomers. WTA Handicapper who has been having a bit of a revival this year after admitting his form was not good enough to win an ITF title late 2003 claimed the 3rd spot, again his tactic of saving up picks but not taking too many risks was rewarded. In 4th place was Hantuchov, who is already a celebrity in Brazil and no longer holds the status of a PAW newcomer, this player has come a long way in 6 months already and he admits he is far from his peak. “He brings this whole notion of freshness and excitement to the PAW League” a PAW player admitted.
Wateva surely made his first tournament as a seed (number 8) something to remember, by winning ‘s-Hertogenbosch quite convincingly. Wateva now dusts the cobwebs off as a one tournament winner, having won also in Shanghai last year. “A PAW player is never complete, unless without a title” he rightly admitted. Late entries Edman, canuckfan and Masha, all Wildcards showed no signs of jetlag placing 2nd, 5th and 8th respectively. Saab95, a young Russian who has an incredible arsenal of talent delivered once more in finishing equal runner-up. Grand Slam champ Geoffry was a popular star attraction in the tournament and he impressed his admirers with a 4th place.
Jul 1st, 2004, 08:16 AM
Wow Thanks Aidan! :eek: :hearts:
Jul 1st, 2004, 06:25 PM
Thanx a lot Aidan! :worship: :yeah: :D
Jul 2nd, 2004, 11:14 PM
Great reports Aidan.
Jul 3rd, 2004, 08:38 AM
Jul 3rd, 2004, 04:14 PM
Oct 1st, 2004, 05:08 AM
Any chance you will do it with the Olympics? :hearts: