Monday, February 24, 2020

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Reilly Opelka won twice on Sunday to capture the ATP Delray Beach Open title, outlasting Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2 in the championship match. It was a second career ATP crown for the 22-year-old American, whose other title came at last year's New York Open, and he won after he played a morning semifinal at the rain-hit Florida venue. Opelka battled back to eliminate Canadian second seed Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in the semis, saving a match point in the tiebreak. 

Reilly is looking awfully studly with the beard, although he says it's more out of laziness than style. 

Ten months ago, studly Cristian Garin didn't own an ATP Tour trophy. Just more than a year ago, he had never reached a tour-level final. But after beating Italian qualifier Gianluca Mager 7-6(3), 7-5 on Sunday to win the Rio Open, Garin is a four-time ATP Tour titlist. The Chilean has won a personal-best nine consecutive matches after also triumphing earlier this month at the Cordoba Open in Argentina. With rain suspending play in both singles semifinals on Saturday evening, Garin had to do double duty in Brazil on Sunday. 

With Brazilian tennis legend Gustavo Kuerten

He needed only four games to finish off a straight-sets victory against fifth seed Borna Coric. The third seed then returned to later in the afternoon to beat Mager in one hour and 35 minutes for the trophy. This is Garin's first ATP 500 crown -- and he moved to a career-high No. 18 on Monday. 

Borna may have come up short in the semis. But his new beard took his looks to a record high!

Defending champion and second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Marseille Open for the second time in a row. The victory made Tsitsipas the first man to win back-to-back trophies at the tournament since Sweden's Thomas Enqvist in 1997-98. Auger-Aliassime lost his second final in eight days having been beaten in the title match at the Rotterdam Open, and the 19-year-old is yet to win a set in five ATP finals in his short career. 

Of note: "Next Big Thing" Daniil Medvedev crapped out again, this time to Gilles Simon in the quarterfinals. (The short-shorts-wearing Frenchman is like a fine wine, looking hotter with each match.)

In just their third event as a team, Nicolas Mahut and Vasek Pospisil lifted their second team title at the Open 13 Provence on Sunday. The French-Canadian tandem, making its first appearance since winning the 2016 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, saved both break points it faced to beat Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 6-3, 6-4 after 72 minutes.

The dreamy Borna Coric lookalike and recent Aussie Open mixed doubles champ and his partner from the Netherlands may have come up short in the final ...

But it was a real Dutch-Croatian treat as far as I'm concerned ...

On the women's side, No.1 seed Simona Halep was forced to the brink, but battled to a hard-earned second Dubai title, as the Romanian fought back from a set down to overcome rising 20-year-old Elena Rybakina, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in Saturday night’s classic final. It was an incredible seesaw battle of a match, that saw the unflappable Kazakh hold a match point in the tiebreak before ultimately coming up short. Never thought I'd saw this, but Simona's made a fan out of me.

Around the net ...

Tommy Paul coach Brad Stine, right, with a mystery hunk

BTW: What is Nike doing to these young men, dressing them in 1990s-print smocks?! Tommy's so beautiful he can pull it off -- but poor Jack Sock!

Fun with balls ...

Look, Ma: No balls!

Noah Rubin turned 24 ...

Robert Farah is up to his old tricks, planning to return in Acapulco.

Youngster Thiago Seyboth Wild  took advantage of a wild card at his home tournament, advancing to the round of 16 before narrowly losing to Borna Coric in a third-set tiebreak.

Daddy Taylor Fritz crapped out in the first round in Delray Beach, but  didn't let them stop him from getting his "Miami Vice" duds out.

Dominic lost to a qualifier in his first post-Aussie Open event, but didn't disappoint the sponsors.

 Serbian Danilo Petrovic have arrived in Mexico ...

The ATP tweeted out a video for Love Your Pet Day, but it quickly became clear that Alexandr Dolgopolov was the only "cat person" on tour. Sadly, the outcome wasn't as cute as I had hoped for. 

Sure, Borna lost in the semis of Rio. But after first-round exits in Melbourne and Buenos Aires, it was a a step in the direction. 

Giving the fans what they want ...

My favorite moment from Rio was when Borna's court escort was way older than the usual "child," while Garin was paired with a girl. 

Shy boy

Tommy's a work of art, all right.

Damir Dzumhur feeds into my "Is he gay?" theory with this shirtless practice session south of the border.

Grigor still has his looks ...

How Guido Andreozzi maintains that beefy Argentine ass ...

 Stan the man does Acapulco ... 

Christian Harrison and Dennis Novikov fuel their run to the doubles quarterfinals in Delray Beach.

Get well soon, Kevin.

(With wire services)

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