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Sports Then and Now



Rising Star Thomaz Bellucci Looks to Break Through 3

Posted on March 11, 2010 by Rob York
2010 Australian Open - Day 2

Thomaz Bellucci's left-handed forehand is already a formidable weapon.

Things a tennis player ought to have by age 22:

Overpowering forehand: Check.
Safe, consistent backhand:
Check.
Heavy, effective serve:
Check.

Lean but stout build (a la Novak Djokovic): Check
At least one tour title: Check
Deep run in a major: Uhm …

Currently No. 32, Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci is one of the least-known players in the world’s top 50. That has the potential to change — and soon — but whether or not it does will largely depend on factors other than his physical gifts.

The tools are there, and have already been demonstrated in the young Brazilian’s two career titles, last year at Gstaad in August, then in February in Santiago. Of these two clay court wins, his result in Switzerland would have to be considered the more impressive in terms of volume, as he came through qualifying to win seven matches and take his first title.

Though rather fortunate that the very tough German Nicolas Kiefer withdrew after winning the first set from Bellucci, the young Brazilian scored several impressive wins in the process: He topped the No. 2 Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka fell in the first round, then Russia’s mini-Nadal, Igor Andreev in the semis, and finally German Andreas Beck in the final. In doing so, he added his first tour title to his six Challenger wins. Read the rest of this entry →

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      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

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