Monday, February 18, 2019

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Didn't make it to the New York Open again -- not only is it on Long Island, but the LIRR doesn't let out near the venue -- but got to see sexy gland freak Reilly Opelka win his first ATP Tour title Sunday, beating qualifier Brayden Schnur 6-1, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (7). The 6-foot-11 Opelka hit 43 aces for the second straight match, the final one to finally end things after an overturned call had helped him set up match point. 

The Associated Press reports that a night after overcoming six match points to beat top-seeded John Isner in the semifinals, Opelka needed six of his own to finish off Schnur -- who has an incredible body that was frequently on display thanks to his shirt doubling as a sweat towel -- in the matchup of first-time finalists. Schnur, who had never won a tour-level match before arriving in New York and making it into the tournament through qualifying, nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback after getting blown off the court in less than 20 minutes in the first set. The 154th-ranked Canadian appeared to finally have a match point of his own, but Opelka challenged what initially looked like Schnur's ace. The serve was ruled out, and Schnur double-faulted on his second serve. Opelka then wrapped it up with the last of his 156 aces in the tournament.

The Italian got 250 points and some mate cocido!

Italian Marco Cecchinato won the Argentina Open on Sunday with an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory over hometown favorite Diego Schwartzman. World No. 18 Cecchinato raced through the match in little over an hour to claim his third ATP title. 

Buenos Aires-born Schwartzman -- who had upset No. 1 seed and doubles partner Dominic Thiem in the semis -- buckled under the pressure of playing in front of a hometown crowd and at one stage lost seven games in a row. Cecchinato romped to the title without dropping a set all week. The 26-year-old -- who you may recall is the last person to beat Novak Djokovic in a major -- captured titles in Umag and Budapest last year and is now three for three in ATP finals. 

And speaking of doubles, Thiem and Schwartzman reached the final before getting killed by the equally sexy team of Máximo González and Horacio Zeballos 6-1, 6-1.

The finalists with Richard Krajicek

Gael Monfils defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Rotterdam Open. Monfils, the runner-up three years ago, held off Wawrinka's second-set surge to ease through the decider to capture his eighth career title. Wawrinka, the 2015 champion in the Dutch port city who is continuing an 18-month comeback from double knee surgery, was playing in his first final since Roland Garros in June 2017. It was the first championship match in 11 years at Rotterdam to feature two unseeded players.

And on the women's side, unseeded Elise Mertens captured the biggest title of her career at the Qatar Total Open on Saturday. The Belgian rallied from a set and a break down to defeat top seed Simona Halep, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to win her first-ever WTA Premier-level crown, and the fifth title of her career overall. The former World No.12 defeated three Top 10 foes in the last three rounds overall, as she also defeated Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. Will Mertens finally move up the rankings so she can start being seeded?

And interest in the Osaka-Bajimn divorce shows no sign of tapering off. Naomi said in an interview that her split with coach Sascha Bajin was about putting "happiness" before "success." (Ouch.) Read HERE.

The ups and downs of professional tennis

(With wire services)

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