Raonic Shuts Off the Lights in San Jose, Nadal Returns to Glory in São Paulo and Del Potro is King in Rotterdam
ATP San Jose
Milos Raonic came into the SAP Open not having lost a set, much less a match in San Jose, and he kept that streak alive throughout the final edition of the tournament, shutting out the lights with a win over Tommy Haas 6-4 6-3.
Raonic was dominant with his serve, but also brutal and precise with his groundstrokes all week, notching wins over Michael Russell, Denis Istomin and Sam Querrey, who he plainly dismantled. Not only did he serve well, but he also broke serve quite well.
As for Haas, after an iffy start to his season, he got back to playing the kind of quality tennis we saw from his last year, navigating past Jesse Levine, Steve Johnson and John Isner without dropping a set before running into the brick wall that is Raonic in San Jose.
I’m sure Milos will join American and California tennis fans in lamenting the demise of this event, as will Xaiver Malisse and Frank Moser, who took the last doubles title over Lleyton Hewitt and Marinko Matosevic.
ATP São Paulo
Rafa Nadal won his 51st title against a fellow traveler on the comeback trail, David Nalbandian in a clean and confident straight sets 6-2 6-3. The final was much easier for Rafa than some of his other matches, including 3 set wins over Carlos Berlocq in the quarters and Martin Alund in the semis, where at times he was clearly struggling. He still isn’t at 100% but given the opponents he was playing, he relied on mental edge and his tenacity to prevail. He also beat Joao Souza in his opening match.
Nalbandian was equally compelling, having not played a tour match in 6 months yet beating Jorge Aguilar in 3, Guido Pella, Nicolas Almagro in 3 and Simone Bolelli in the semis to reach the final. He showed he still has something left in the tank in what is his 13th year on tour and time will tell if he continues this level of play in the coming weeks and months.
Also some extra credit to Alund, who hadn’t won an ATP main draw match before this tournament, yet raced out to the semis, and will be top 100 with a career high ranking at the age of 27. He’s a truly determined grinder in the game. The Golden Swing has featured a strong showing from Argentines, and not the usual suspects either.
Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares took the doubles title over Frantisek Cermak and Michal Mertinak.
Juan Martin Del Potro did one better than last year, capping off the title in Rotterdam 7-6 6-3 over surprise finalist Julien Benneteau. Del Potro imposed himself on his opponents all week and didn’t drop a single set against his other opponents Gael Monfils, Ernests Gulbis, Jarkko Nieminen and Grigor Dimitrov (who did well for himself to make the semis).
Benneteau, meanwhile, was equally dominant until the final, beating Tobias Kamke and Victor Hanescu in the early rounds, before beating Roger Federer in a huge upset again in the quarters. He then followed that up with a victory over Gilles Simon. Unfortunately, another final defeat drops him to 0-8 in ATP finals as he continues to have the moniker of “close but no cigar”.
In the doubles, Robert Lindstedt and Nenad Zimonjic beat Thiemo De Bakker and Jesse Huta Galung.