Nishikori repeats in Barcelona, Garcia-Lopez claims second ATP title of the season in Bucharest
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Barcelona continued it’s trend of not creating new champions as Kei Nishikori repeated in the Catalan heartland over surprise finalist Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-4. Nishikori only had one difficult three setter all week, as he rolled past Teymuraz Gabashvili and Santiago Giraldo, overcame Roberto Bautista Agut with a breadstick third set, and then dispatched Martin Klizan to reach the final. Even with the large field of players, he was clearly a cut above the rest this week, and continues in his quest to have top 4 Roland Garros seeding.
Pablo Andujar boosted his ranking back up to 42 with a run to the final. The unseeded 29 year old, nicknamed Picasso, reached his first 500 level final (3 250 titles on clay, and an additional three 250 level finals on clay). Pablo beat his compatriot Albert Ramos in round 1, and then got past Leo Mayer in 3 sets, to setup a match against another Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. He won that one, and then upset Fabio Fognini, and David Ferrer in consecutive matches, without dropping a set to reach the final, in a remarkable week for him. Fognini had previously beaten Rafael Nadal for the second time this season, as he continues to struggle.
Henri Kontinen and Marin Draganja beat Jamie Murray/John Peers for the doubles title in three close sets.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez won a nailbiting final over Jiri Vesely, who was playing for his second ATP title of 2015 (and the second of his young career), 7-6 7-6. The veteran Spaniard used his variety to get the win and has nearly returned to the top 30 in the rankings, with his second ATP title of the season (won Zagreb). GGL has now added three titles to his trophy case over the past two seasons, and appears to be having a late career resurgence.
GGL beat Lorenzi Giustino, Marcos Baghdatis, and Lukas Rosol without dropping a set, and then upset Gael Monfils in a three set battle reach the final. Vesely came out of the 7 seed slot in the draw and beat Diego Schwartzman, Malek Jaziri, Ivo Karlovic, and Daniel Gimeno-Traver, an in-form player who upset Gilles Simon in the previous round, to reach the final with a three set win. Vesely is rapidly improving, all be it inconsistently, and he’s a force to be reckoned with these days on tour.
Romanians won the doubles title, but it wasn’t their normal top doubles players, as the underdog team of Marius Copil and Adrian Ungur beat Artem Sitak/Nick Monroe for the title.