Previously we looked at the ATP players that finished just inside top 50 and now we’ll look at the players in the 40-44 year end ranking slots, which includes a few surprises and American stalwart Steve Johnson.
#44: Steve Johnson
27 year old Steve Johnson has carved out a nice career for himself in the ATP top 50. He went 30-22 on the season, including an excellent 8-2 clay court record and took his second career ATP final in Houston early on in the season. Johnson beat Nick Kyrgios and Dominic Thiem late in the season, and Jack Sock in Houston, he also reached semis in Auckland to start the season. It wasn’t a banner year for Johnson, but he was relatively consistent, the American isn’t the flashiest player on tour and his Grand Slam results will need to improve if he’s going to reach the top 30 next year.
#43: Paolo Lorenzi
Paolo Lorenzi’s results tailed off at the end of the year but it was still an amazing season for the 35 year old Italian veteran. Lorenzi, a career journeyman, reached a career high ranking of 33 during the season and finished at #43 after putting together a 30-36 record. Over the past two seasons he’s put together solid ATP results, and this year he notably reached the final in Quito and Umag, the second week at the US Open, and the semifinals in Bucharest. The question for next season is his age, at 36 it’s realistic to assume Lorenzi will start to fall off a bit in terms of results. He didn’t win a match after the US Open.
#42: Robin Haase
Robin Haase was just 25-30 on the season but it was still his best ATP record since 2013 and he’s the top ranked Dutchman on the ATP tour in singles. Haase reached the semis of the Canadian Masters, beating Grigor Dimitrov en route, he also reached the semis in Dubai and posted a quarterfinal on every surface. Haase isn’t a world beater but at his best he can trouble top players and he remains a player capable of more, especially in slams.
#41: Benoit Paire
Talented but perennially disappointing, Benoit Paire went 35-33 in 2017, claiming his most ATP wins since 2013 and reaching a final in Metz. Paire showed himself to be an all-court contender as he reached the second week at Wimbledon, and the semifinals in Chennai, Montpellier, Casablanca, and Stuttgart, posting strong results on every surface. Consistency and beating top players will be a challenge for Paire, he beat David Goffin and Stan Wawrinka but did little else of note in 2017.
#40: Yuichi Sugita
Yuichi Sugita had an amazing year in 2017, the 29 year old Japanese player won a total of 45 matches in 2017, spread across the ATP and Challenger tours. Sugita had previously been a stalwart on the challenger tour, but he stepped it up in 2017, winning 3 challengers, the quarterfinals in Barcelona and Cincinnati, where he beat Richard Gasquet, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Jack Sock. He took his first ATP title on grass in Antalya, beating Adrian Mannarino and David Ferrer in the process, he also had a great Asian swing with semis in Chengdu, and quarters in Tokyo and Stockholm. Backing up his great results in 2017 will be the key for Sugita next year as he’ll be taking on a full ATP schedule and will need to remain balanced, focused, and healthy.