Playing at home, Alexander Zverev defended his Munich title with a 6-3 6-3 victory over countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber. Zverev beat two other Germans this week, Yannick Hanfmann in three sets, and Jan-Lennard Struff in straights, his semifinal opponent was Hyeon Chung, who he also put away in straights.
The veteran Kohlschreiber didn’t drop a set prior to the final, scoring wins against Ivo Karlovic, Mischa Zverev, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Max Marterer. The doubles title went to Rajeev Ram and Ivan Dodig, they defeated Mektic/Peya.
Japan’s Taro Daniel won his first ever ATP title, capturing the Istanbul trophy 7-6 6-4 over Malek Jaziri, a feisty veteran that was also seeking his first ever ATP title. Daniel grinded away wins this week against Matteo Berrettini, Aljaz Bedene, Rogerio Dutra Silva, and Jeremy Chardy, the latter two wins coming in three sets.
Jaziri had a special week defeating Marsel Ilhan, Marin Cilic, Jiri Vesely (in 3 sets), and Laslo Djere.
Inglot/Lindstedt won the doubles title over Mclachlan/Monroe.
Newlywed Marin Cilic The Top Seed at the Istanbul Open Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The clay 250 in Istanbul features newlywed Marin Cilic as it’s top seed, he’s joined by hungry group of ATP players seeking form ahead of the bigger clay court stops to come. Here is your full preview, with predictions.
Marin Cilic will open with Malek Jaziri or Marsel Ilhan, with a qualifier likely awaiting in the quarters. Neither Jiri Vesely nor Gerald Melzer are in good form, and I’d expect qualifiers Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Thiago Monteiro to knock them off, with Cilic edging Gimeno-Traver in the quarters. DGT is in good form at the challenger level.
Budapest semifinalist Andreas Seppi will face Laslo Djere or Denis Istomin in round 2, while Paolo Lorenzi should defeat Cem Ilkel before facing a qualifier, either Marco Trungelliti or Elias Ymer. Yet again I have a qualifier in the quarters, as Trungelliti is in far better form than Lorenzi. Seppi should reach the semis.
Damir Dzumhur is in poor form and will open against Thomas Fabbiano or Mikhail Youzhny. I’m not confident but I’ll put Dzumhur into the quarters opposite Jeremy Chardy. Chardy has a challenging opening match against Nikoloz Basilashvili, and then will face either Budapest finalist John Millman, or Dusan Lajovic, probably Lajovic given Millman’s fatigue. Chardy is my semifinalist from this weak section.
Aljaz Bedene, a semifinalist in Budapest, will face Matteo Berrettini or Taro Daniel in round 2, I have him winning that and advancing to the quarters opposite Rogerio Dutra Silva. The Brazilian should take advantage of a weak path of Radu Albot and Viktor Troicki/Bernard Tomic to reach the quarters. Tomic and Troicki are a shell of their abilities. Bedene should win the section.
Basilashvili leads Khachanov 2-1 in the h2h but on clay the Russian will be favored. A quarterfinalist in Barcelona, Khachanov’s form is also slightly better, although Basilashvili has had a great season overall. Both of these players are rising, and this is an interesting test as to who is the better player right now.
Damir Dzumhur vs. (Q)Stefanos Tsitsipas
Greek young gun Tsitispas will get his third shot at a maiden ATP main draw win against Dzumhur who is in average form at best. Tsitsipas came through qualifying, and he has enough of a game to win this, Dzumhur can be a tough customer but I’ll back the young gun to get it done.
A winner of sixteen of his last seventeen matches, Aljaz Bedene should ease past Marton Fucsovics and then get a big match with top seed Milos Raonic. Raonic, 11-2 this year, hasn’t played since Miami, but is usually competitive on clay, although not elite. Presuming Raonic is healthy he should put away Budapest finalist Bedene and then defeat Rogerio Dutra Silva in the quarters. RDS opens with Riccardo Bellotti and neither Radu Albo or Bernard Tomic, one of whom will await in round 2, are great on clay or in good form. Raonic has a pretty easy path to the semis excluding Bedene.
Budapest semifinalist Laslo Djere should beat Daniel Brands before falling to Paolo Lorenzi, who is 9-6 on clay this year and makes his living grinding away in 250’s like this. Marcos Baghdatis is not great on clay, and Viktor Troicki should win his round 1 match against a fellow veteran and then beat the winner Basilashvili/Khachanov winner. Lorenzi is the favorite to reach the semis in this section.
Marin Cilic has struggled this year but on clay he should be good enough to reach the quarters past Tsitsipas or Dzumhur. Cilic should then run into Jiri Vesely, as Vesely is the clear favorite over Marcel Granollers, and the winner of Steve Darcis/Dudi Sela. Vesely will have a punchers chance against Cilic, but Marin is the veteran favorite for a reason.
Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Diego Schwartzman, the defending champion, looks set to defeat either qualifier Adrian Menendez-Maceiras or young gun Jordan Thompson, then edge past Borna Coric in the quarters, presuming Coric defeats Dusan Lajovic and Mikhail Youzhny or local favorite Cem Ilkel. It’s a tough call between DSS and Coric, but I back Schwartzman’s form barely right now.
If Cilic puts up another poor performance Vesely should be the player to take advantage, he has a great shot to reach at least the semifinals, and could perhaps take this title. The Czech has underperformed in his young career after entering the main tour with promise, but it’s not too late to turn that around.
Semis Raonic d. Lorenzi
Cilic d. Schwartzman
The top 2 seeds should be favorites over dirtballing specialists in the semifinals.
Final Cilic d. Raonic
On clay I give Cilic the slightest edge to take this title.
Unseeded Nicolas Almagro captured his first ATP title since 2012 with a three set victory in nearly three hours over young Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. Almagro serviced twice for the opening set, at 5-4, and 6-5, but was broken both times by PCB, before eventually losing the first set tiebreak 8-6, in a show of mental weakness.
In set 2, Almagro was again 5-3 up, and served for the set, but was broken, only this time he won the tiebreak 7-5, converting his second set point chance of set 2. In the third he finally heaped the pressure on, forcing PCB to save multiple break points two games, and breaking in two more games, all while holding his own serve without incident to win the match. He converted his third match point, and with it, won the title.
This match was a tremendous mental and emotional turnaround for Almagro, in a grueling clay court battle. He demonstrated superior talent, but PCB was not an easy opponent to dispatch.
It was once again an exciting tournament for the Estoril Open, the stands were filled to capacity for the final, and most of the big matches, as Portugese fans turned out to show their support and dedication to Portugal’s only ATP event.
Tennis Atlantic would like to once again thank the tournament for allowing us to provide credentialed media coverage.
Philipp Kohlschreiber and Dominic Thiem went to war and brought out the heavy artillery on clay in Munich, as Kohlschreiber prevailed in narrow fashion by winning a third set tiebreak, after dropping the second set. Kohlschreiber once again showed his love and appreciation for the tournament in Munich, as he won here for the third time in his career.
Kohlschreiber served for the opening set twice, after five separate breaks in the set, but he failed to convert any of his five set point opportunities until the opening set tiebreak. In that tiebreak, neither player demonstrated much in the way of holding serve, but Kohlschreiber finally won it 9-7, on his eight set point chance.
In set two, things were surprisingly closer to the vest, as Thiem managed to hold his way through the set, saving a break point at the end of it, to maintain the lone break advantage he captured, and take it 6-4.
In the third, Thiem found himself broken easily to go 4-2 down, but Kohlschreiber again failed to serve the match out at 5-3, getting broken at love, and then he couldn’t convert either of his match point chances, with Thiem serving 4-5, to win the match.
The third set tiebreak saw six minibreaks between the players, and Kohlschreiber was able to win consecutive minibreaks from 5-4 up to walk away with the trophy.
Thiem showed his skill with a semifinal win over Alexander Zverev, but he just didn’t have that extra experience in the final, while Kohlschreiber beat accomplished clay courters Fabio Fognini, and Thiem, in consecutive fashion, showing he could serve as a bit of a French Open dark horse later on this month.
The doubles title was captured by Henri Kontinen and John Peers over Cabal/Farah.
Tennis Atlantic would like to once again thank the tournament for allowing us to provide credentialed media coverage.
Diego Schwartzman stunned Grigor Dimitrov to capture his maiden title, as the undersized Argentine clawed back from a set and a break down to defeat the cramping, and incredibly frustrated Bulgarian #1 in front of a packed house in Istanbul.
The victory was the biggest of Schwartzman’s career, as the 23 year old who clocks in at just 5-6, 140 lbs beat a host of clay courters, and won three consecutive three set matches this week. The first set featured a ton of breaks, but Dimitrov eventually edged it 7-6, in set 2 Dimitrov was 5-2, and 5-3 up, but couldn’t close out the match, while DSS failed at his own chance to serve out the set. Schwartzman went on to win the tiebreak, and then bagel a hobbled Dimitrov, who was given a game penalty at the end of the match due to his frustrated behavior, in the third set.
Schwartzman beat Facundo Bagnis, Bernard Tomic, Damir Dzumhur, and Federico Delbonis this week as well, winning three setters against Dzumhur, and Delbonis. He was playing in his first ever ATP final.
Dimitrov hasn’t won a singles final since 2014, as he dropped his third consecutive ATP final, and his second of the season. In both finals this year, he found himself a set up, but lost in the end. Grisha is still a great talent, but he appears mentally troubled at the moment, as he’s failed to live up to his potential, and still sits outside of the top 20.
Dimitrov beat Adrian Ungur, in three sets, Jiri Vesely, and the big server Ivo Karlovic this week.
Veterans Flavio Cipolla and Dudi Sela beat Andres Molteni, and Schwartzman in narrow fashion to capture the doubles title, as DSS was likely too fatigued after playing the singles final.
Qualifying Day 1 Recap at the Inaugural Istanbul Open ATP Ahmet Fevzi Guclu for Tennis Atlantic
The main draw was determined in addition to qualifying action today (photo credit Ahmet Fevzi Guclu)
Today at the inaugural ATP Istanbul Open, the qualifying tournament was started with 16 matches, on 5 different courts.
The star of the day was 3rd seed and rising teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis, who was against Turk Barkin Yalcinkale (a 23 year old futures player) on court 1. With around 50 people in the stands, the Australian started the match with the break, and routined his opponent in two sets, Yalcinkale had no break point chances during the entirety of the match. Kokkinakis seemed motivated, and adjusted to clay well, his forehand was decent throughout the match, but he couldn’t find his first serve often.. He will need to improve in his next round clash against Nikola Mektic.  Kokkinakis def. Yalcinkale 6-1 6-2
Kokkinakis won easily as expected (photo credit Ahmet Fevzi Guclu)
The Surprise of the day, and only losing seed was seen in court 2, when World No: 154 Thiemo De Bakker, lost against Italian Roberto Marcora (a 25 year old at a career high ranking of 178). Marcora was able to come back from a bagel set in the opener, and won the second set with great backhands, breaking the Dutchman three times. In the final set, De Bakker lost his temper after losing the 6th game, allowing a break for 2-4. The 8th seed was having a miserable day in Istanbul and threw his rackets to the ground multiple times, mixed in with swearing. Marcora continued his good serving performance and won the match in 1 hour 37 min. He is playing against his countrymen No: 384 Lorenzo Giustino next round. Marcora def.  De Bakker 0-6 6-2 6-3
Marcora was the calmer customer on the day (photo credit Ahmet Fevzu Guclu)
Next match in court 2, was between 6th seeded Australian John Millman and 31 year old Ukrainian Vadim Aleeksenko. While Aleeksenko was doing nothing special, Millman was obviously a bit conservative, and anyone could tell that it was his first clay match in two years. Alekseenko made some easy errors in 3-4 game, and Australian celebrated with a fist pump. He served out the set in following game. It was all Millman in second set, he raised his level while his opponent struggled to get rhythm on his forehand, and as a result Alekseenko failed win a single game. The match was absolute domination but from the occasional skillful shotmaking by the Australian, it was a bad match tennis wise. Evgeny Donskoy from Russia will be his next opponent.  Millman def. Alekseenko 6-3 6-0
Millman isn’t comfortable on clay but he still won (photo credit: Ahmet Fevzi Guclu)
#1 seed Blaz Kavcic played the first match in center court, it was a good display from both players, other being Dragos Dima s (22 year old Romanian futures player). Kavcic played with good intensity, and young Romanian went for his shots, his backhand was also a strong weapon on the day. Kavcic won the first set 6-3, but world no: 540 Dima forced his opponent to make errors, and broke him twice and made it to 3rd set. The final set started even between the two, but Kavcic broke Dima after an amazing passing shot, only to fail to win the following game. Slovenian No: 76 broke again, and was serving for the match at 5-3, but after long rallies 22 year old broke him to 30. After they both won their service games, at the last game of the set, Kavcic played skillful tennis, with great forehands and won the match in his 3rd match point. Regardless that he got the win, Kavcic was far from decent level today on clay,and will be up against Turkish WC Efe Yurtacan tomorrow on court 1.  Kavcic def. Dima 6-3 1-6 7-5
Kavcic and Dima played a high quality contest (photo credit Ahmet Fevzi Guclu)
In other results:
Efe Yurtacan d. Andriej Kapas 3-6 6-1 7-6, Philipp Oswald d. Aleksandre Metreveli 6-1 7-5, Michael Venus d. Dimitar Kuzmanov 6-7 6-4 6-4, Teymuraz Gabashvili d. Aldin Setkic 6-2 6-3, Radu Albot d. Altug Celikbilek 6-3 6-4, Evgeny Donskoy d. Benjamin Ballaret 7-5 6-1, Michael Linzer d. Petru-Alexandru Luncanu 7-6 6-3, Marton Fuscovics beat Tuna Altuna 6-0 6-3, Nikola Mektic d. Jurgen Zopp 6-4 6-0, Alexandr Nedovyesov d. Mate Pavic 6-1 6-2, and Fedor Chervyakov d. Sarp Agabigun 6-7 7-5 6-0.