Monday, February 26, 2018

Weekend Tennis Roundup

 Frances Tiafoe won the title in Delray Beach, Fla., yesterday, hitting two consecutive aces to defeat Peter Gojowcyk of Germany, 6-1, 6-4. It was particularly nice to see that he didn't suffer a letdown after upsetting Juan Marin del Potro in the fourth round -- and that he was able to beat fellow NextGen stars Denis Shapovalov and Chung Hyeon, about whom you hear so much more. The breakthrough title for the 20-year-old inserted a much-needed burst of energy into American men's tennis, with Tiafoe becoming the youngest U.S. man to win a tournament since Andy Roddick captured Houston at 19 in 2002. 

And between Tiafoe's ass and Gojowcyk's cute hair, the match was an eye candy feast!

Diego Schwartzman won the Rio de Janeiro Open with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Fernando Verdasco. The title raises the Argentine's ranking to 18th. (The Jewish Telegraphic Agency points out that it is the first time that a Jewish player is among the top 20 in the ATP rankings since 1990, when American Brad Gilbert was fourth.) “I’m very happy to break into the top 20,” Schwartzman, 25, said afterward. “It’s a very difficult tournament, with top 10 [players], great players in the draw and when the week starts you don’t think you are going to play the finals.”

No. 1 seed Marin Cilic was taken out by Gael Monfils and No. 2 Dominic Thiem inexplicably lost 4 and 0 to Verdasco. 

And in another porn-worthy final, Karen Khachanov outlasted Frenchie Lucas Pouille 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 for the crown in Marseille. It was the big-serving Russian's second ATP title of his career.

"I hope there are many more finals between us in the future," Khachanov said to Pouille, who celebrated his 24th birthday at the event. "I felt I was playing good here from the first day. It's nice to play on a full court in the final, and I hope to come back next year."

In Budapest, 23-year-old Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck upset Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the final of the Hungarian Ladies Open, to clinch a second career WTA title. 

And finally, just when it seemed we were safe from Elina Svitolina overtaking the No. 1 ranking, she easily defended her title in Dubai, with a 6-4, 6-0 blowout against unseeded Darya Kasatkina. (En route to the final, the 20-year-old Russian had saved two match points to beat seventh-seeded Johanna Konta in the second round, and three against second-seeded Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.) Angie Kerber looked like she was continuing her strong play by killing Barbora Strycova and Karolina Plishkova, only to lose to Svitolina 3 and 3. (Sigh.)  

Of course, this photo with Andrew Bettles sort of softens the blow ...

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