Monday, October 21, 2019

Weekend Tennis Roundup


Sunday in Antwerp saw another tear-drenched outing for Andy Murray. Only instead of defeating Marius Copil in an early round match in D.C. or announcing his likely retirement in Melbourne, this time the 32-year-old Scotsman captured his first title since coming back from hip surgery, eking past Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to win the European Open. (It was also Murray's first title since Dubai in March 2017.)



 “I don’t know why you get emotional about certain things or the reason for why it comes. Everyone is different,” Murray said. “It was because the past few years have been hard for me and tennis is something that I love doing and today was unexpected and yeah, there’s lots of reasons for me to be emotional today.”


Although I'm a Stan fan -- and he too has been working his way back into the mix following injuries of his own -- I can't say I was bummed to see Murray come out on top. (The Big Four were boring enough let alone the Big Three.) Will be interesting to see if he can keep this up, or if Father Time has other plans.


Stan finds solace ...


Daniel Vallverdu was on the losing end this time ...


Similarly in Stockholm, I am a bigger fan of Filip Krajinovic than Denis Shapovalov. But after seeing the young Canadian fail to win countless semifinal matches, I could appreciate his breaking through to the next level and capture the Stockholm title, beating the Serb 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes. The win made him second player born in 1999 with an ATP crown after Alex de Minaur. (Who will be the first 2000s champ?)


And let's be honest, it's hard to call this a "loser."


Strike a pose ...


The tournament was also noteworthy because it saw Janko Tipsarevic play his final pro match -- and what a battle it was. Lucky loser Yuichi Sugita needed TEN match points to finally win, sending the Serb into retirement, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(4) in three hours and six minutes. Tipsareivc will now return to his Belgrade tennis academy, which he will reportedly begin franchising soon. 


Joao Sousa ousted defending champion Karen Khachanov early in Moscow, so it was only fitting that another Russian would take home the crown -- with Andrey Rublev lifting the second ATP title following a 6-4, 6-0 triumph over Adrian Mannarino. Not a bad way to spend your 22nd birthday!


But it wasn't an all-red affair: Belinda Bencic recovered from a set down to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the Moscow women's final. It was the Swiss's fourth career title, capping a year that saw her start to live up to her early potential.


And speaking of which: Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia beat former doubles partner (and defending champ) Julia Goerges 6-4, 6-1 to win the Luxembourg Open final on Sunday. It was the third career title for Ostapenko -- who won the French Open two years ago -- and her first since Seoul in 2017. 


Nice that both women were allowed to win this time around.


Of note: Coco Gauff followed up her title in Lintz (where she upset Ostapenko in the final) with a a 6-4, 6-0 loss to Anna Blinkova in Luxembourg. But the young American did take home the doubles crown with countrywoman Caty McNally, their second of the season 

In Challenger land:


On Sunday, Vasek Pospisil took a break from terrorizing men on the main circuit to win the ATP Challenger in Vegas, beating Australian James Duckworth 7-5, 6-7 (11), 6-3.


It was the 29-year-old Canadian's eighth Challenger title to date.


It takes a village.


Vegas, baby!


Kevin Smith Lukas Lacko beat Maxime Cressy 6-3, 6-0 in the Wolffkran Open in Ismaning, Germany. (I can see why the "loser" is the one smiling -- look at him!)


Later in the afternoon, Cressy was back on court for the doubles final. The 22-year-old teamed up with fellow American James Cerretani but they lost 6-3, 7-5 to the all-French combination of Quentin Halys and Tristan Lamasine. 


Halys lost in the singles Round of 16, if you can call this losing.


And at the ITF France 19 event: Albano Olivetti teamed up with Dan Added to defeat Benjamin Bonzi and Gregoire Jacq 5-7, 7-6, 10-4 in doubles final. Watch the big Frenchie in white shorts HERE.

Around the net ...


Congrats! Now if the Spanish GOAT will just honeymoon for a few weeks, Novak Djokovic can end the year number one again ...


CrossFit seems to be agreeing with Jan-Michael Gambill ...




Who is filling his suit out nicely on The Tennis Channel.


Alex Robein and Manuel Absolu celebrate a birthday ...


My one-way love affair with Damir Dzumhur continues ...


My stiff competition?


Noah Rubin is busy carving up the sport of tennis...



This week Julie Heldman speaks Behind the Racquet ...


Tommy Paul inexplicably pulled out of his first-round match against Pablo Andujar at the Stockholm Open. But this photo of his "thick boiiisss" were far more entertaining ...


Who doesn't want to play in bed with John Millman's balls?

Next stops:


Federer, Tsitsipas, Zverev and Wawrinka are in Basel ...



While Dimitrov, Berrettini and are in Vienna ...


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