USO SERIES PREVIEW: Who is a predator, and who is a prey ?
Written by isaldor
01 Aug'20 - 23:11
WRITTEN BY MAIRON
An introduction to a hot American summer on ITST World Tour
Can you feel it too? Yes, it is that time of the year again, the time when all the ITST wildlife storms out of their humble jungle eager to compete for some of the biggest prizes on the tour. There will be predators and there will be preys, hunters and hunted. It is not easy for a prey to become a predator and predators rarely become preys but it would be a mistake to think there can’t be.3 any surprises in the big, sometimes confusing jungle, that is ITST. If the results from this year prove anything, it is that nothing is set in stone and champions of the past are not always guaranteed to win.
We can be sure of one thing, however, controllers and keyboards will be broken, desks will be smashed, and dreams will be crushed. Only one player can stand victorious in the end.
Now let’s take a look at the upcoming tournaments and what’s at stake.
BBT Atlanta Open
As the first tournament to be held on hard court after Miami Open Masters, Atlanta has attracted plenty of good players this year. No less than 43 of them are competing for this ITST 250 title. 2019 champion Don is looking to defend his title and has already dispatched the resurgent veteran Alex Jasmins in 3 sets but Said, Rharm, JiJo, and Omeyer will also have something to say before the tournament is over.
Players such as Steffplawusan, Poland, and vinD may also have a shot and shouldn’t be discarded easily.
ITST 500 series tournament in Washington DC will be the first major US Open hard court swing event to be played in and should set the tone for the rest of the American hard court season. This tournament will show how players have adapted to hard courts and scorching summer heat, as well as to the brand new 1.21 version of the mod which sparked some controversy in regards to the big changes to the gameplay that it introduced.
The field looks strong, with the world no.3 Talwoutte as the currently highest ranking player who signed up, and veterans like Said, Alex Jasmins, Omeyer, Vramvrim, and Federer2 completing the lineup.
One of the oldest and most prestigious Masters tournaments, held in Canada, will have plenty to offer to virtual tennis enthusiasts this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has maybe prevented us from enjoying the real game but it can’t prevent us from enjoying the virtual one. The field surely won’t disappoint. After all, what better remedy for boredom caused by a lockdown than spending the entire day glued to your gamepad and trying to win an ITST masters title. Only the few have been able to pull it off. Even the (former) predators of the game, such as Mohd, can testify to that!
Western and Southern Open (Cincinnati)
Everyone loves Cincy! ITST players even more so, because it offers the last chance to revel in glory before the US Open. Some of the biggest names in the game have won titles in Cincy, including TheBoss94, Isaldor, and Nutmegdinosaur, which is an incentive enough to new players to become a part of ITST history by winning this prestigious title.
PS: Do have a spare game pad at hand in case something goes wrong. Yes, we’re talking to you Pablo and Retro.
Winston Salem Open
Why would anyone care about this tournament, one might ask. Well, all we can say is that 250 ranking points and a title represent no small reward. After all, there aren’t many players who captured a tour-level title. Most of them are doomed to remain prey. The ITST jungle can be as unforgiving as the Amazon.
All roads lead to New York. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done before, as long as you do well in New York City, your name will shine brightly on the ITST wall of fame for a long time. Isniper has won the title last year (d. Henrijames) but there will be plenty of challengers, hungry for a little piece of grand slam glory.
If you’re a prey, you’re certain to fall to some predator sooner or later. Now, you might be wondering what can you do not to be a prey anymore. The only tip is, there’s no tip! Channel your inner Richie and ask tennis gods for mercy. When the US Open begins, you will need it.
These guys aren’t the favorites for nothing. Most of them have already won slams and know how to play this game. Challenging them is both tiring, frustrating, and there’s no guarantee of success. We introduce the venerable readers to the big guns.
Having won 10 Grand Slam titles, Richie has easily established himself as the GOAT of ITST. Richie’s track record will prove extremely hard to match and even harder to surpass. Richie, however, shows little sign of slowing down. He’s had a stellar season so far, winning no less than four masters titles and a grand slam. Richie has returned to the top spot and looking at his huge lead over the world no.2 Henrijames, he looks like he’s going to remain at the top for a long time.
The French ace has had a great clay season but came short at Roland Garros, unexpectedly falling to TesterAVI, the later champion, in R4. He was quick to put this weakness to rest and bounced back in a spectacular fashion, winning Wimbledon (d. Pablo Hernandez), a title which cemented his GOAT status.
The high bouncing courts at Flushing Meadows suit Richie’s game, all the more reason why we should consider him the favorite. Richie will be the man to beat this summer.
Season record: 46-4.
Titles: Dubai, Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Wimbledon (6)
Finals: Fever-Tree Championships (1)
ITST Ranking: 1
For a relatively new player, Talwoutte has already made a big impact in the ITST jungle. Currently ranked 3rd on ITST ranking list, the Frenchman has captured his maiden grand slam title at the Australian Open (d. Henrijames). He enjoyed excellent results on clay, the surface which favors his game style but has been beaten by TesterAVI in the French Open final, having previously dispatched the ITST legend Pidzi, and resurgent Pablo Hernandez in a dramatic 5-set quarterfinal showdown. The fact that he lost only to the likes of Tester, Isniper, and Richie, is evidence enough of Talwoutte’s class.
He will be eying for another grand slam title in New York and will be difficult to stop.
Season record: 46-11
Titles: Australian Open, Rio Open, Barcelona (3)
Finalist: Roland Garros (1)
ITST Ranking: 3
Few players are as devoted to the tour as Pablo. The Portuguese has been absent from the tour for a while, which resulted in a drop in rankings. However, Pablo quickly shook off the rust in a rather grand fashion – he stormed back to ITST jungle capturing a title in Houston (d. Jmills) and continued to shine on clay, winning BMW Open, Geneva, and Hamburg Open.
Going into the French Open, Pablo had big hopes, but those were dashed by Talwoutte in the quarterfinal.
Despite the disappointment at the FO, Pablo made a stellar run at Wimbledon, a grand slam he won back in 2018 (d. TheBoss94), reaching the final where he suffered a defeat to Richie, in a tightly contested 5-set final.
Pablo will be difficult to handle on the hard courts and looks sure to compete for the biggest prize remaining – the USO.
Season record: 59-12
Titles: Houston, BMW Open, Geneva Open, Hamburg Open (4)
Finalist: Argentina Open, Barcelona Open, Rome, Wimbledon (4)
ITST Ranking: 5
When an ITST player sees Tester’s name in his part of the draw, he gets chills, and for a good reason. A Rafa fan from Spain, Tester is in many ways the ITST version of his idol, as never gives up and fights hard for every single point. We knew for a while that Tester was going to be a formidable force on ITST tour but Tester finally proved it this summer, winning his maiden grand slam title at Roland Garros, beating the greats such as Richie and Pidzi en route to his first slam.
He’s looked very strong on grass as well, but lost in Wimbledon R4 to his old nemesis Pablo Hernandez. However, he has won the Fever-Tree championships, beating Richie in the final.
His rivals have much to worry heading into the USO Series. These courts suit Tester’s game and most players will be his prey. Who can stop him from claiming another grand slam title in New York?
Season record: 35-10
Titles: Roland Garros, Fever-Tree Championships (2)
Finalist: Indian Wells (1)
ITST Ranking: 7
For those familiar with the ITST jungle, there can be no doubt Pidzi stands out as one of the top predators. With 5 grand slams titles to his name, Pidzi has already cemented his All Time Great status and has nothing more to prove. Despite this, he has come close to fighting for yet another slam title at Roland Garros, but came short in the semifinal, losing to Tester in 4 sets.
At Wimbledon, he had generously decided to step aside and leave the other predators fight it out among themselves, while he was working hard on the new version of the mod. Pidzi may still be plotting a surprising USO run. Underestimate him and you’ll end up becoming the old man’s prey.
Season record: 18-10
Finalist: Miami Open (1)
ITST Ranking: 13
All of you who think becoming a predator is easy, you clearly don’t understand how tough it is to stand out in the ITST jungle. These guys aren’t preys, but they aren’t predators either, yet.
Will the Italian Stallion actually show up for the USO hardcourt swing? Two-time grand slam champion has not played much this summer, which is the only reason why he isn’t included among the predators. Quit drinking that cappuccino amico and come back to the jungle where you belong.
Henri Come to Paris James is currently the world number 2, and has played slam finals before but these days he’s not around often. If he shows up he can pose a threat to the predators, for no other reason than for his supreme boxing skills. Come to ‘Murica Henri!
Let’s face it, it is easy to misunderstand the aspiring French doctor but despite his antics, iNoob is a dangerous opponent on the court. He is currently in a good place but one never knows with him. If he shows up in a good form on the American hard courts, he could easily snatch a title.
A veteran of the tour has return to competition after a 3 year break, reaching Wimbledon R4 without dropping a set. In the quarterfinal, he was beaten by the later finalist Pablo in 4 sets.
2017 Australian Open champion was one of the best players on the tour and will be a force to be reckoned with on hard courts, providing he returns to form.
Players to watch
Do these guys really matter? It’s a legitimate question. Under right circumstances (the Predators getting a heat stroke, COVID-19, or the iNoob bathroom syndrome, for example) they can pull off an upset. Let’s take a look at the dark horses.
Said has made a statement by winning Halle, Mallorca Open, and Newport, all on grass but can easily translate his form onto hard courts. He’s definitively a player to watch this summer.
Rharm made a big impact as a relative newcomer. As the player who improved the most over the last couple of months, Rharm is bound to make a breakthrough sooner or later, if he can manage his bane Omeyer, that is.
Omeyer cannot be overlooked this summer. The Polish has already won Mercedes Cup which will gives him confidence heading into the USO series.
AlexJasmins a controversial Portuguese veteran still has a lot to say. Since his comeback a few months ago, he’s been in 3 finals, on both grass and clay, a reason enough to hope he can sneak a title win during the USO series.
kenos ranks highly among the veterans. He has pulled it off before so there’s little reason why he couldn’t do it again. He has returned after a long break and has been in the Halle final where Said denied him the title.
If we failed to mention someone, they probably count among the preys.
Brace yourselves for a hot American summer on ITST tour.
WRITTEN BY MAIRON
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