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July 12 • 09:33
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Three Biggest Movers to take on Top Seeds in Japan

October 06, 2011
Milos Raonic, Bernard Tomic, Alex Bogomolov.

A year ago, most of us had never have heard of these three native English speakers, except perhaps for Raonic, a 20 year old, 6'5" Canadian ranked as high #25 back in May. The only reason we might have heard of him a year ago is because Rafa beat him 6-4, 6-4 in Tokyo in the same round last year but made a point of telling the media that Raonic would be a top 10 player. Tomorrow the two will meet again in the round of 16 to play for the first time in exactly 12 months. A year ago Milos was ranked #200 and Rafa was a confident #1 coming off winning 3 majors in a row. Top seed Rafa may be looking over his shoulder in this one - at some serves he didn't see - but Raonic has played only 2 matches since Wimbledon, where he retired in the 2nd round at 2-3 in the 1st set. Had Milos won that math, we'd have seen a much hyped 2nd encounter between Milos and Rafa. I can't hype this one, but it is worth taking note of what's happened in 12 months.

Tomic, an 18 year old, 6'4" inch Aussie, has risen to #58 from #217 a year ago, and won nearly $700,000 YTD. We have to look back a ways to find a model for his game, all the way to the 80's when 'The Big Cat', Miloslav Mecir, reached the #4 ranking and the finals of the '89 Oz Open (he also won a gold medal in singles in '88). Mecir's ATP profile as a player notes that 'both his speed and shot-making were deceptive and difficult to anticipate'. Mardy Fish, seeded 4th, will be his opponent in the quarters on Friday, prevailed over the 17 year old Bernard (#246) 6-3, 7-6 (8), 6-2 in the 1st round of Wimbledon in 2010. Fish himself, though ranked 70 places lower back then, was coming back from injury but on his way to the top 20 by September. As Fish doesn't need to feed off pace and isn't one to wait for the ball to come to him, he matches up well against Tomic. Today Mardy routined Gulbis 6-2, 6-4, a good sign for his readiness against an opposite playing style.

A year ago Bogie, a Moscuvite transplanted to Florida for tennis as a child with his father (a player) as coach, was playing a Challenger tournie in Sacramento. His ranking then had dipped into the 300's from a high of #131 in '09, and he seem destined to end up on the other end of feeding balls for money. Today he is ranked #38, 200 places higher than a year ago, and has won almost $400,000 YTD. While he is not young for tennis at 27, he is rising and playing like a young stud, though at 5'10' he is of the Agassi variety. Bogie was just beginning to make his move this year in March, at #118, when he upset his opponent tomorrow, 2nd seed Andy Murray, in the 1st round of Miami, 6-1, 7-5. Murray had his revenge in the 1st round of Cincinnati, beating Alex in straight sets. Baghdatis, playing his best tennis of the year, took Andy to 3 sets today. With more speed afoot but fewer shots than Bagman, Bogie is still a long shot to stop Andy without the element of surprise, but Andy will not view the match lightly.

Whatever happens in Japan this week - and I expect nothing nuclear - the progress these 3 guys have made this year in the rankings puts them at the top of the movers and shakers on the ATP tour.

Each has beaten players who were in the Top 10:

- Raonic defeated Fish and Roddick (who was in the top 10 when he beat him)

- Tomic defeated Soderling

- Bogie defeated Murray and Tsonga

Rick Devereux

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