David Ferrer wins second title of 2015 in Rio, veterans Simon, Karlovic, add titles in Marseille and Delray
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
David Ferrer took advantage of a relatively easy draw for a 500 level event in Rio, and captured his second title of the 2015 season with a 6-2 6-3 drubbing of Fabio Fognini. Ferrer broke early on against Fognini, and shellacked him the rest of the way. Though a few games were close, Ferrer broke Fognini’s desire by the time he got his first break of the second set and went up 6-2 5-1, eventually closing it out 6-3. His movement and shotmaking were top quality, while Fognini lacked consistency.
Previously in the tournament, Ferrer, who has lost just once this year, defeated Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straights, Thiemo De Bakker via retirement from a set up, Juan Monaco in 3 sets, 6-2 in the third, and surprise semifinalist Andreas Haider-Maurer in straights. Haider-Maurer upset Tommy Robredo en route to the semis in a great week for the veteran dirtballer.
Fognini, who was in atrocious form going into this tournament, recaptured some of his previous top 15 ability on clay and scored wins over Jiri Vesely in 3 sets, Pablo Andujar in straights, and Federico Delbonis in 3 sets, before shocking Rafael Nadal 7-5 in the third set to reach the final. With the exception of the Andujar match, all of Fognini’s contests were remarkable to watch this week. He got breadsticked in the opening set against Vesely, and looked listless, but stormed his way back to win a second set tiebreak 9-7, after which Vesely collapsed. Against Delbonis he generated more than a half dozen match points over two sets (he lost the second set tiebreak 10-8 after taking the first set), in the third he took the tiebreak 11-9 in the longest match of his career that ended after midnight in Rio. Again Nadal he was also breadsticked in the opening set, in a match that appeared routine, but stormed his way back to win the final two sets.
Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald formed a winning partnership in the doubles, they defeated Pablo Andujar and Oliver Marach in the doubles final, as Oswald beat his countryman Marach.
Gilles Simon won his first title in over a season, and his second career Marseille title (the other came in 2007) with a nailbiting 6-4 1-6 7-6 victory over his countryman Gael Monfils. The win will help Simon stay in the top 20, and he beat Monfils even while winning 7 fewer total points, and generating fewer break point chances (8 compared to 11). In the third, both players broke once, and Simon took the final set tiebreak 7-4.
Simon beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert from a set up via retirement, and then beat Borna Coric in 3 sets, Jeremy Chardy in 2 sets, and Sergiy Stakhovsky from a set down, in 3 sets. Stakohovsky upset Stan Wawrinka this week in a massive win for him.
Monfils again played well on home soil, beating Alex Zverev, Andrey Kuznetsov, Simone Bolelli and Roberto Bautista Agut without dropping a set.
Marin Draganja and Henri Kontinen won the doubles title over UK duo Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray.
Ivo Karlovic joined Simon as a veteran champion this week, the old school, big serving 35 year old beat an in-form Donald Young 6-3 6-3 with 13 aces and 3 breaks of serve. Young generated 7 break point chances against the Croat but no success at taking them as he lost his second career ATP final. The title is the sixth of Karlovic’s career, and his first since 2013, Karlovic moves to 6-7 in ATP finals and did one better than his 2010 final in Delray.
Dr. Ivo performed successful surgeries against Dustin Brown in 3 sets, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Steve Johnson, and Adrian Mannarino all in straights.
Young continued his strong run of play with wins over Ivan Dodig, Alejandro Gonzalez, Alex Dolgopolov and Bernard Tomic this week, the latter two wins coming in 3 sets. Also notable is Yoshihito Nishioka, the Japanese teenager reached his first ever ATP quarterfinal, by qualifying and defeating Igor Sijsling and Marinko Matosevic in straight sets, before losing to Tomic.
The Bryans won a doubles title on home soil over Raven Klaasen and Leander Paes.
On an interesting sidenote, a total of 7 main draw singles retirements took place in one day (2 in Delray, 4 in Rio, 1 in Marseille), 8 total retirements took place on tour this week, in what seems like a high number for a week on the ATP tour.