Monday, October 01, 2018

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Bernard Tomic isn't exactly a role model for tennis. But here's hoping his dramatic win in Chengdu -- he saved FOUR match points to beat Fabio Fognini 6-1 3-6 7-6(7) in the final, his first title since 2015 -- is the beginning of a real turnaround. He and countryman Nick Kyrgios bring an exciting element to the game that it is sorely lacking. (The Fognini-Taylor Fritz / Tomic-Jao Sousa semifinal lineup was yet another landmark in hotness.) 

Then and now ...

Winning form

Doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France blew a golden opportunity to capture a singles crown, losing a grueling three-set match to Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the final of the Shenzhen Open. The 23-year-old Nishioka, ranked 171st in the world, played seven matches across eight days yet still had enough gas in the tank to come out on top. 

The tournament also marked the return and end of Andy Murray -- he beat top-seed David Goffin in straight sets then lost to Fernando Verdasco -- who called it a season after injuring his ankle. He will spend the rest of the year focusing on getting better for 2019, although his optimism doesn't seem to be running high. (While others are speculating about a Nadal/Federer/Djokovic type of comeback, he's thinking more along the lines of del Potro.)

Arnya Sabalenka continued her recent string of strong play walking away with the Wuhan Open trophy, her first Premier-5 title of her career. The Belarussian defeated No. 27 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. It was a week of upsets, with Simona Halep continuing her streak of first-match losses -- she's already lost again in the first round of Beijing -- Goerges, Svitolina, Bertens, Kvitova, Pliskova (a winner last week), Muguruza and Kerber all losing early. 

With coach Carlos Martinez

And lastly, ESPN reports that Margarita Gasparyan won her first WTA title since 2015 as she beat beat Anastasia Potapova 6-2, 6-1 in an all-Russian final at the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan. Former world No. 41 Gasparyan missed the majority of the 2017 season due to injury and saw her ranking fall to outside the Top 1000 after undergoing knee surgery. But the 24-year-old, who is currently ranked world No. 299, will expect to see a significant rise after she secured her second career title, following victory at the Baku Open three years ago.

Shenzhen Style: Damir (quarters), Denis (second round), Borna (second round) and Andy (second round) looking good in street clothes ...


Blame it on the rain ...

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