Klizan, Thiem are Surprise Titleists in Rotterdam and Buenos Aires, Nishikori takes Memphis
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Martin Klizan won his fourth career ATP title in a surprise over Gael Monfils 6-7(1) 6-3 6-1. Monfils was in control of play until the wheels came off, and his mental weakness once again reared its ugly head in an ATP final.
The hard hitting Slovak won all but one of his matches in three sets this week and an unexpected champion at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. He beat Tommy Robredo in three sets, Marcos Baghdatis in straights, and then both Roberto Bautista Agut and Nicolas Mahut after dropping the first set in a tiebreak. Grit and fight was the story of the week for him.
Monfils beat Ernests Gulbis, slipped past Borna Coric in three sets, and then defeated Alex Zverev and Philipp Kohlschreiber to reach the final.
Mahut and Vasek Pospisil defeated Philipp Petzschner and Alexander Peya in the doubles final as it was a strong week for Nico Mahut.
ATP Buenos Aires
Dominic Thiem won his fourth career ATP title and continued his rise up the ATP rankings with a surprise result in Buenos Aires. Thiem won a nip and tuck three set match over Nicolas Almagro 7-6(2) 3-6 7-6(4). The young Austrian #1 stunned Rafael Nadal in a third set tiebreak in the semifinals as he went toe to toe with the king of clay and came out on top in the pressure points.
Thiem also beat Pablo Carreno Busta, Gastao Elias, and Dusan Lajovic in BA this past week. Nicolas Almagro reached his first ATP title since early 2014 with wins over Albert Montanes, Federico Delbonis in 3 sets, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and David Ferrer, the latter two were upset wins.
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah beat Inigo Cervantes and an in form Paolo Lorenzi to win the doubles title.
Kei Nishikori dropped just one set this week as he won his fourth career title in Memphis. The Japanese #1 has dominated the southern tournament, and he took out teenage finalist Taylor Fritz 6-4 6-4. Fritz reached an ATP final in just his third career ATP tournament as an 18 year old. The American has a well rounded game, both defensively and offensively, and he got off to a 3-0 lead against Nishikori, only to surrender the first set, and then get broken in the second set and lose the match in straights.
Nishikori beat Ryan Harrison, Mikhail Kukushkin, and Sam Querrey this week, dropping that lone set to Querrey. Fritz beat young gun Michael Mmoh, Steve Johnson, Benjamin Becker in a third set tiebreak, and Ricardas Berankis in three sets as well to reach the final. Fritz is the first American to reach an ATP final after just three career events and has a bright future ahead. He’s nearly into the top 100, with barely any ranking points to defend.
Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez beat Johnson/Querrey to retain the doubles final.