OTW Extra Email Archive - February 2022

On court tonight - One to Watch for years to come...

Thursday 10th February 2022

In this year’s Ones to Watch in 2022 report, I set out our stall as follows:

With our Ones to Watch in 2022 list, the intention is to look beyond the players at the top of the current rankings. To find players who are not yet in the Top 10 – but could be heading there in the not-too-distant future. Every name on the list is age 21 or under as of the start of the season…

My week-to-week analysis focuses pretty much exclusively on the main-level ATP & WTA Tours. And of course, the four annual Grand Slams as they come along.

But it also pays to keep an eye on the lower-tier circuit. With ‘Challenger’ events sitting below the main ATP & WTA Tours. And underneath that, a vast range of ITF (International Tennis Federation) tournaments taking place pretty much all year round, all over the world.

It’s on that off-the-beaten track ITF circuit that we’ll often find ex-Top-100 players still playing for the love of the game, working their way back from injury, clambering for small prize-pots, with the hope of plotting a return to the top. But more prominently, the ITF Tour is an on-the-job training ground for new, young players making their first steps towards a professional tennis career.

And when I say young, I mean it…

One to Watch for years to come…

Last week, 14-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova became the youngest winner of an ITF Tour event in over six years. The Czech teenager lifted the trophy at the W25 Tucuman event in Argentina.

This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about Brenda. At the start of July in the strange ‘lockdown’ season of 2020, I flagged up Brenda and her older sister Linda (who is only 16 herself) as potential ones to watch in years and tournaments to come. Read that piece here.

Unsurprisingly, at no.1078, Brenda Fruhvirtova is the highest ranked player of her age in the official rankings. Next on the list on the WTA website is fellow 14-year-old, Brazilian Helena Bueno, ranked no.1214.

Helena Bueno has played one ITF match in 2022, and was dismissed via the ignominy of a ‘double bagel’ score-line, 6-0, 6-0.

On court tonight…

On the other hand, Brenda dished out a double-bagel victory yesterday, crushing her 18-year-old opponent Gabriella Price, 6-0, 6-0

That thumping straight-sets win came in Argentina once again, site of the W25 ‘Tucaman 2’ tournament – following on from the ‘Tucuman 1’ event that Brenda won last week.

  • Brenda Fruhvirtova has played 10 competitive matches so far this year – and won 9 of them

The 14-year-old is in action again tonight. Due on court in Argentina from 7pm, UK time. Taking on Germany’s Katharina Gerlach, who at 23 years of age, is something of a veteran in comparison.

Gerlach is ranked no.230 in the world, not far off her career-best of no.223. The bookmakers are clearly more interested in the teenage rising star’s ability than the difference between the two in the on-paper rankings… Bet365 have Fruhvirtova priced at short odds-on to win again this evening, at just 1/6 (1.17).

  • 6 of Brenda’s 9 match wins this season have come in straight sets. Bet365 make Fruhvirtova a 1/2 (1.5) chance to record another 2-0 win tonight

More important than today’s prices and this week’s results at a minor event in Argentina, Brenda Fruhvirtova and her sister Linda are two names that we should keep an eye on as the season develops, and in years to come. Rest assured, I’ll keep you posted…

The Fruhvirtova Sisters:

  • Brenda Fruhvirtova age 14, rank #1078
  • Linda Fruhvirtova age 16, rank #300

I’ll be in touch again next week with another Ones to Watch EXTRA piece for you. Including a look at the emerging trends on show in the tournament Outright Winner prices so far in the new season.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch