Querrey Stuns Nadal for Acapulco Title, Murray Strengthens Hold on World #1
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
29 year old Sam Querrey won the biggest title of his career and returned to the ATP top 30 after a stunning run in the Acapulco 500 level tour stop. Querrey made it nine career ATP titles with a masterful serving performance against Rafael Nadal, prevailing 6-3 7-6 in upset fashion over the fan-favorite Spaniard. Nadal struggled on return and in the second set tiebreak it was Querrey who was clutch.
Now 10-4 on the season, Querrey dropped sets against Kyle Edmund and fellow big server Nick Kyrgios on the week, while defeating top 15 players David Goffin and Dominic Thiem in straight sets to reach the final. His serve was strong all week, and perhaps the best match of the tournament was a showdown against Kyrgios where he was able to power past the young gun.
Kyrgios upset Novak Djokovic earlier in the week, after Djokovic had survived Juan Martin Del Potro’s challenge. Djokovic’s loss hurts his bid to reclaim the world #1 ranking anytime soon.
Nadal moved to 12-3 on the season after posting routine victories over Mischa Zverev, Palo Lorenzi, Yoshihito Nishioka, and Marin Cilic. Despite suffering a shocking defeat, Nadal still has a shot to equal his number of hard court wins last season (18), before the clay court season begins. Rafa has made big strides in 2017 and seems healthier, fitter, and more focused compared to recent years.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated John Isner and Feliciano Lopez to take home the doubles trophy.
Andy Murray claimed his first title of the season and extended his hold on the world #1 ranking with a routine 6-3 6-2 victory against Fernando Verdasco in Dubai. Murray was unthreatened throughout the week, except for two sets of a thrilling contest with Philipp Kohlschreiber. Murray defeated Malek Jaziri, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and Lucas Pouille with ease over the course of the week.
Kohlschreiber had more than a half dozen match points in a second set tiebreak that finished 20-18 in favor of Murray. The Brit conceded plenty of chances to the German veteran, but he as unable to take them. Kohlschreiber has always been talented, but hasn’t risen as high as he probably should have in his career because of losses like the one he suffered against Murray.
With two critical Masters 1000 tournaments coming up, Murray is looking to be in solid form compared to his main rivals at the top of the men’s game. AO champ Roger Federer was stunned in a third set tiebreak against Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai. Donskoy was far behind the Swiss legend, but he didn’t give up, and Federer outright choked in uncharacteristic fashion.
Fernando Verdasco, who made the semis in Doha, has really enjoyed playing in the Middle East this year. The 33 year old made the final with wins against Andreas Seppi, Roberto Bautista Agut, Gael Monfils, and Robin Haase. His wins against Haase and RBA came in three sets. It was the first hard court final in six years for Verdasco.
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau defeated Rohan Bopanna and Marcin Matkowski in a doubles final that featured two teams of full-time doubles specialists.
ATP Sao Paulo
Pablo Cuevas awoke in Sao Paulo, snapping a four match losing streak dating back to January, and going to win the title in the Brazilian destination for a third straight time. The renewed 31 year old won the final stop of the Golden Swing in a Monday final 6-7 6-4 6-4 over Albert Ramos, after rain delayed the match on Sunday.
Cuevas posted victories over Facundo Bagnis, Diego Sebastian Schwarztman, and Pablo Carreno Busta as well, with his win over DSS revenge for a loss to him earlier in the season, and a very close three setter. Cuevas now has six career ATP titles, all of them on clay where he plays his best tennis by far.
Ramos fell to 1-3 in career ATP titles, but made his fourth title by defeating Gastao Elias, Guido Pella, and Joao Sousa, needing three sets against both Pella and Sousa. The Spaniard’s spin remains a damaging weapon on clay courts, and he’s now 11-7 on the season after making the Quarterfinals or better of every Golden Swing clay court stop. He’s also one of the handful of players to take part in all four Golden Swing tournaments.
Home joy was felt for Rogerio Dutra Silva and his fellow Brazilian Andre Sa as they defeated Marcus Daniell and Marcelo Demoliner in the doubles final.