Men's Tennis Players Whose Stock Is Soaring After 2014 ATP BNP Paribas Masters
Just seven days in tennis can guarantee the type of movement that changes a season. The 2014 BNP Paribas Masters has enabled the stock of several players to soar. Just ask Lucas Pouille.
The Frenchman picked the perfect moment to announce himself, ousting Fabio Fognini and Ivo Karlovic.
Milos Raonic continued to position himself as the front runner in a hungry pack of players desperate to clinch a maiden Grand Slam.
His eventual defeat in the final of this Masters 1000 event did little to sway the school of thought that, as Simon Briggs of The Telegraph put it, he will "challenge tennis's status quo."
The following slides will document the players whose reputation has been enhanced before the sport hibernates for a month.
Stan Wawrinka will be glad to see the back of Kevin Anderson.
The 6-7 (2) 7-5 7-6 (3) defeat to Anderson in Paris was the third time this season that Wawrinka had lost to the South African in a Masters 1000 event.
Another tight match in Toronto ended in Anderson's favour, as did March's round-of-16 clash in Indian Wells.
Anderson, though, has been hovering around the top 20 all season. His win against Wawrinka and marginal defeat to Tomas Berdych in the Paris quarter-finals should see him close in on the top 15.
Much is made of Anderson's height and blistering serve—18 aces to Wawrinka's eight on Thursday.
Yet a glorious shot down the line and on the stretch against Wawrinka in the third set of their last-eight match painted a fairer representation of what Anderson can do.
The shot veered away from the Swiss, who appeared to have the left-hand side covered at the net. Anderson placed the shot to perfection to stop Wawrinka breaking his serve at a pivotal moment.
Anderson continues to cement his status on tour as a steely opponent. Having been unable to advance beyond the round of 16 in any of this year's Grand Slams, he can improve his reputation further in 2015 by making a charge for at least the quarter-finals.
Defeat to Novak Djokovic will hurt Raonic, but it shouldn't diminish what was an excellent showing in Paris.
Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych were felled in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively. Next came Djokovic, in search of a 20th Masters 1000 title. A 6-2 6-3 win earned the Serbian his landmark, but Raonic will have learned more from reaching his third final of the season.
The Canadian edged a tight contest with Federer. The only category in which he dominated the world No. 2 was aces, in which he hit 21 to Federer's 8.
Aces are a large part of Raonic's game, but he punctuated the win with passing shots, good play at the net and a growing acceptance that he could tame the crowd's darling.
The support for Federer turned out to be in vain, as Raonic clinched a semi-final place. He continues to display the hallmarks of a future Grand Slam winner.
Of course, beating Federer, or even Berdych, is no guarantee of achieving such a feat. The loss to Djokovic showed he is still several rungs down the ladder, but Paris provided more than enough encouragement for Canada's star.
Before taking to court in Paris last week, Lucas Pouille hadn't played anyone ranked higher than 53rd placed Teymuraz Gabashvili in 2014.
A year spent predominantly on the Challenger Tour has seen Pouille reach one final, in Meknes, Morocco. Progression, then, in Paris would have initially constituted holding his own against Ivo Karlovic in the round of 64.
The 20-year-old had little intention of leaving the French capital with just the experience to talk of.
He stunned Karlovic 6-1 6-4. Limiting him to only five aces, Pouille said, via atpworldtour.com, "I could guess when I saw him toss the ball where he was going to serve, so this is why I didn't miss many first serves or I didn't get aced too much."
Pouille might not have anticipated another scalp, but he then saw off world No. 20 Fabio Fognini over two tie-breaks.
Roger Federer proved immune to the refreshing zeal being shown by Pouille in the quarter-finals, but few get much satisfaction from the Swiss.
Pouille will be a name to look out for in 2015, with Grand Slam qualification a priority.
Away from the shock limelight he garnered with Vasek Pospisil at Wimbledon this year, Jack Sock is morphing into a fierce contender on tour.
Perhaps motivated by the doubles victory over the Bryan brothers in July, Sock has picked up some notable results.
Kei Nishikori and Jeremy Chardy have both come off second-best in straight sets against the American following Wimbledon.
In Paris, Sock qualified for the round of 64 by beating Bernard Tomic. He then saw off Pablo Andujar, ranked four places above him, 6-1 6-1.
Although he took a set against Raonic in the following round, the battle of North America resulted in victory for Canada. Raonic won on a third set tie-breaker.
Paris showed Sock to be capable of continuing his ascent. Cracking the top 40 is a real possibility, particularly if he can continue to beat players of Nishikori's calibre in the Masters 1000 events.