Paire, Thiem Win ATP Titles in Bastad and Umag, Tomic Defends Bogota
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The week that was saw a young gun and a first time ATP winner crowned tournament champions on European clay, and a title defended in South America.
Formerly top 25 Frenchman Benoit Paire, now 26, captured his maiden ATP title on clay in Bastad, Sweden as the talent, known for his erratic and streaky play, caught fire this week. Paire beat Spanish veteran Tommy Robredo 7-6(7) 6-3 as he saved the two break points he faced, holding serve all match as his elite backhand pushed the Robredo back.
It’s been a long road back to the top 50 for Paire, but hopefully he’ll find staying power this time, as his abilities were never in doubt. He started the week with a straight set win over Markus Eriksson and then he really picked up form, upsetting top seed David Goffin, and Denis Istomin with ease before shocking Pablo Cuevas in straights to reach the final. Paire was dominant all week, not dropping a set, and still poses a dark horse threat in ATP events to come if he continues to play like he did in Bastad.
Robredo played well to reach the final as his #2 seed would suggest, he didn’t drop a set against Albert Ramos, Paul-Henri Mathieu or the young gun Alex Zverev en oute to the final. At 33 Robredo remains in the top 25 and continues to be a threat to win smaller tournaments.
In doubles Jeremy Chardy and the serve and volleyer Lukasz Kubot won a close doubles final over Colombian’s Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal.
Dominic Thiem captured his second title of the season, and the second of his career (both on clay, both ATP 250 events, the other coming in Nice), with an underdog run in Umag, Croatia. The talented Austrian had to battle hard this week, and his 6-4 6-1 victory over Joao Sousa, who featured in his second ATP final this season, was perhaps his easiest win of the week.
Thiem won his first two matches in part by retirement, Dusan Lajovic decided he couldn’t continue with Thiem up 6-1 3-1, and his countryman Andreas Haider-Maurer collapsed up a set and retired 6-7 6-1 3-0 down. Thiem then had one more tough task ahead of him to reach the final, the talented Gael Monfils. Monfils got off to a great start in the match and was flawlessly transitioning from defense to offense in the first set, however Thiem turned it around and eventually won 1-6 6-3 6-1 in a rollercoaster match that is common for Monfils. The Austrian with his extremely visible young gun hair cut continues to rise up the ATP rankings and has especially shown his abilities on clay.
Sousa the Portugese #1 caught fire this week like he did in Geneva previously on clay, he rolled past Toni Androic and Andreas Seppi, neither of whom put up much resistance then upset Fabio Fognini in a third set tiebreak and Roberto Bautista Agut from a set down. He likewise has shown talent, but consistency will be required fo h im to reach the next level.
Maximo Gonzalez and Andre Sa took the doubles title over Mariusz Frystenberg and Santiago Gonzalez.
Bernard Tomic put his personal problems aside and won a deserved second title in Bogota, Tomic was the most talented player on paper in the field, and he continues to demonstrate solid, and surprisingly consistent play on hard courts this year. Tomic put on a serving clinic in the final against Adrian Mannarino winning it 6-1 3-6 6-2, as his game drifted in the second set but otherwise he controlled the match on his racquet against the in-form Frenchman as they both played junkball tennis.
Bernie found it to be a tough go of things in his opening match as Adrian Menendez-Maceiras took the first set, but he bounced back, proving he’s not “Tomic the tank engine” as much this year, winning the next two frames and following that match up with a routine win over Tatsuma Ito. He then played a nailbiter of a match against the serve and volleyer Michael Berrer, Berrer took a second set tiebreak to force a third set, and then pushed the match to a third set tiebreak that Tomic took 7-3.
Mannarino beat Rajeev Ram in straights, Malek Jaziri in 3 sets, after a breadstick first set and defending finalist Ivo Karlovic in two impressive tiebreaks. The Frenchman has had a career year this year and is rising up the rankings under the radar, he’s also fun to watch.
Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Radek Stepanek got past Mate Pavic/Michael Venus in the doubles final.