Monday, May 07, 2018

Weekend Tennis Roundup


Would have been happy either way, but Joao Sousa ended up beating American Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 19 minutes to take the Estoril Open title. It was the 29-year-old Portuguese's third tour-level crown and first since 2015, when he prevailed in Valencia. Tiafoe had a great week upsetting Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets in the semis, having outlasted ugly American Tennys Sandgren in a third-set tiebreak in the first round -- aka my favorite result from the week. 


Stefanos Tsitsipas followed up on his good results last week by upsetting top-seeded Kevin Anderson before eventually losing to Sousa in the semis. 


Kyle Edmund ran out of gas against Sousa in the quarterfinals. But then teamed with countryman Cameron Norrie (as in they were both born in South Africa!) to win their first career doubles title -- the start of a rather handsome partnership!


I was a little disappointed with the results in Turkey. Taro Daniel claimed his first ATP World Tour title Sunday after defeating Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri in straight sets to win the Istanbul Open. Daniel beat Jaziri 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 to win the ATP World Tour 250-level clay-court tournament at Garanti Koza Arena and cap off the best week of his career. (The 25-year-old jumped 32 spots in the ATP rankings to a career-high No. 82 with the maiden victory.) 


Nothing against Daniel -- whose story is kind of the male version of Naomi Osaka -- but it's kind of hard to root against a body like Jaziri's. (He became the first Arab since Younes El Aynaoui in Casablanca 2003 to make an ATP final when he beat also-easy-on-the-eyes Laslo Djere in the semis.) 


And No. 1 seed Alexander Zverev defended his title in Munich, with a straight-sets win over fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber. Sasha's semifinal win over Hyeon Chung was probably the event's most noteworthy result as it was the German's first win over his Next Gen rival in three tries.


Petra Kvitova came from a set down to beat seventh-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the Prague Open final on Saturday, to capture her 23rd career title. The draw opened up when Karolina Pliskova withdrew from the event, dodging sister Kristyna in the first round. (To her credit, the less-gifted sister seized the opportunity and reached the quarters before losing to Buzarnescu.) 


Elise Mertens extended her winning streak to 12 matches by beating Australian Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 7-6(4) in the final of the Rabat Grand Prix in Morocco on Saturday. The 22-year-old Belgian took control of the match from the start as Tomljanovic struggled to keep up with the fierce Belgian’s creative and powerful onslaught of shots and was brushed aside in the first set.


And lastly, ESPN reports that Irina Khromacheva beat Zheng Saisai on Saturday in a dramatic final that saw the Russian win her first WTA 125K title. The 22-year-old, ranked World No. 210, saved three match points to upset No. 4 seed Zheng, winning the two-and-a-half-hour final in Anning, China, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5). Khromacheva was trailing 5-3, 40-15 in the final set to Zheng's serve but managed a break and a later match point to take the game to a tense tiebreak, which she won.


The result gave some insight into what female players experience on social media. (I say these horrible things to Damian -- but I don't tweet them!) 


How quickly they forget that she was the one who rallied to win a 125K title just a couple weeks ago in Zhengzhou.


The men and women are in Madrid now and from the looks of things it should be a fun week!

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