Wawrinka and Thiem Claim ATP Titles Ahead of Roland Garros 2016
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Opting to play on home clay in Geneva worked out well for defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka had been mired in a bad slump for quite some time, but his game woke up quite nicely with routine wins over Albert Ramos, Pablo Carreno Busta and Lukas Rosol, leading to a final victory over top 15 player Marin Cilic 6-4 7-6(11). Rosol and Cilic, power hitters, gave Wawrinka more difficult challenges, taking a set off of him in Rosol’s case, and forcing a pair of tight sets in Cilic’s case. Still, the Swiss #2 has his third title of 2016 in hand as he heads to Paris and reached his first semifinal or better since Dubai, which takes place in the early hard court season. The Swiss fans were quite pleased with their stars performance.
Marin Cilic reached his second ATP final of the season, but was once again foiled in his bid to capture his first title of the season. The Croatian still didn’t drop a set before the final, defeating Ernests Gulbis, Federico Delbonis, and David Ferrer, a trio of quality wins that will build confidence and form as he prepares for Paris.
Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey were the surprising doubles champions as they defeated Rajeev Ram and Raven Klaasen in the doubles final. The American pairing rarely play well on clay, but they found form this week.
Dominic Thiem won his third ATP title of 2016, as he continues to make a push for the top 10. The Austrian defeated fellow young gun Alexander Zverev for the second time this year on clay, 6-4 3-6 6-0, as Zverev challenged him hard, but faded late, handing Thiem a routine third set win, and a second consecutive title in the French coastal city.
As the top seed and defending champion Thiem the favorite for the title, and he didn’t disappoint, defeating Leonardo Mayer, Andreas Seppi, and Adrian Mannarino, not losing more than 3 games in any set in advance of the final. It was simply a dominant week for Thiem, who is a potential French Open dark horse.
Zverev was playing in his maiden ATP final, it fittingly came on clay after wins over Kyle Edmund (who injured his ankle and retired), Marcel Granollers, Gilles Simon, and Joao Sousa. The path for the German was much tougher, and he suffered from fatigue by the end of the week, as all of his matches went three sets after the first round, including a third set tiebreak contest against Simon. This young gun has a bright future ahead, but he hasn’t developed quite as quickly as Thiem has.
Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah won their third title as a team this season in doubles, all of their trophies this year have come on clay. They defeated Mate Pavic and Michael Venus in the final.