Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Via Tennismash: On Friday, Roger Federer made history when he recaptured the No.1 ranking after a five-year gap. On Sunday, he ensured the week ended on an even higher note by going all the way to the Rotterdam title. The Swiss star was in a class above Grigor Dimitrov in a routine final, brushing aside the second seed 6-2, 6-2 to win his 97th career ATP final. “It’s definitely one of those weeks I will never forget in my life. It’s unbelievable to get my 97th title and get back to world No.1. It’s very special,” Federer said. 

Federer sits in second place behind Jimmy Connors on the list of most career titles won; Connors won 109 professional titles. Federer is also guaranteed to remain at No.1 for at least four weeks through to the end of the fortnight in Indian Wells, where he is the defending champion.

In doubles, Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut ended the dreamboat team of Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic’s unbeaten start to the 2018 season 2-6, 6-2, 10/7 to lift the crown in Rotterdam on Sunday. The third seeds came from behind to hand the second seeds, who had won all 17 of their previous matches this season, their first defeat of 2018. Marach and Pavic had been bidding to win a fourth title of the season after earlier triumphs in Doha, Auckland and at the Australian Open, but it was the all-French duo who tasted victory after 68 minutes of play.

 Petra Kvitova took her winning streak to 13 matches -- the second longest of her career -- with another breathtaking performance in Doha. This time, Kvitova came from a set behind to defeat Garbine Muguruza 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win her second straight WTA title after her recent victory in Saint Petersburg. The victory over Muguruza followed her come-from-behind triumphs against world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals and former world No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round. Kvitova will return to the world’s top 10 for the first time in nearly two years (June 2016) thanks to her win at the Premier 5 event in the Middle East. “I don’t know [how I did it]. I just…tried?” she told after completing a week featuring three victories over top-five opponents. She’ll next head to Dubai, where she is unseeded, and will open against Anett Kontaveit.

Meanwhile in New York, Kevin Anderson outlasted Sam Querrey 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) to become the winner of the inaugural New York Open. The tournament was located in an inconvenient part of Long Island, so Damian and I had no chance of making it there during the week, getting off around 8 p.m. We thought of trying to go on the weekend. But we had a friend in town from Washington -- and the matches didn't look very exciting -- so it just didn't happen. 

Top-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria beat Slovenia’s Alijaz Bedene 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Argentina Open for the second time in three seasons. The 24-year-old Thiem, ranked No. 6 in the world, didn’t lose a set in the clay-court event. He won his ninth career title and first since an event in Rio de Janeiro in February 2017. “When you win a tournament it’s good news, because we’re used to losing more than winning,” Thiem said. “With these conditions — slow and hot — there are many chances for me to play well. It was my goal before starting the week and it is incredible to have achieved it.” 

The singles was shaping up nicely for Argentine fans with Guido Pella (above), Leonardo Mayer, Diego Schwartzman and Federico Delbonis all through the quarterfinals. But then just Delbonis advanced -- only to lose to Bedene in the semis, leaving the locals very disappointed. 

All was not lost, though. Fourth-seeded Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina beat top-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia 6-3, 5-7, 10/3 to win the doubles crown.

The doubles runners-up took in a football match with Diego and Dominic ...

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