Nadal Wins Hamburg, Thiem Makes It Two Titles in Two Weeks in Gstaad
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Rafael Nadal had a tough first rounder in Hamburg, and at times his game was far from perfect, but he did capture the title 7-5 7-5, avenging his previous losses to Fabio Fognini this season in the process. Nadal moves to #9 in the rankings, and has now captured three titles on the year, two of those coming in Germany where he seems to enjoy playing.
The Spanish lefty faced pressure against Fognini, and the Italian had his chances, but under pressure he choked and Rafa got through. In round 1 a similar storyline took place as Fernando Verdasco roared out to a 1 set lead, only to falter over the next two sets, winning just two games in a 3-6 6-1 6-1 victory for Rafa. Nadal played a poor first set, but was ruthless the rest of the match. In round 2 he beat Jiri Vesely in two sets with a second set tiebreak, and then got better as the tournament went on with routine wins over Pablo Cuevas and Andreas Seppi without dropping a set. Seppi living up to his #4 seed and reaching a 500 level semifinal.
Fognini like Nadal got off to a slow start in Hamburg, as he needed three sets against Jeremy Chardy and Albert Ramos, but then beat Aljaz Bedene in straights and surprise semifinalist Lucas Pouille in a straight set semifinal. Pouille continues to improve on the season and posted another excellent result in his steadily rising career. Fognini improved his subpar record on the season with a great result on clay. Fognini drops to 0-2 in ATP finals on the season and both of those were 500 level tournaments on clay.
Jamie Murray and John Peers beat Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah in the doubles final for their second title of the season together.
Dominic Thiem won his second title in as many weeks in Kitzbuhel as he beat David Goffin for the second time in an ATP clay court final. After claiming victory in Umag, the Austrian young gun won 7-5 6-2 over Goffin in a dominant victory. The win pushes Thiem nearly into the top 20, at a career high of #21, and he’s likely to reach that achievement, and perhaps the top 15 by the end of the year.
Thiem padded his winning streak on clay this week with wins over Federico Delbonis, Pablo Carreno Busta (in 3 sets), and Feliciano Lopez, also in three sets, as he dealt with the Spaniards slice serve and broke when needed.
Goffin reached his second title of 2015 with wins over Horacio Zeballos, Joao Sousa (in a third set tiebreak from a set down), and Thomaz Bellucci.
The doubles title went to Aliaksandr Bury/Denis Istomin as they beat Oliver Marach/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.