Roberto Carballes Baena and Mirza Basic Claim Maiden ATP Titles to Start February
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
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Qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena defeated Albert Ramos in a three set tilt 6-3 4-6 6-4 to capture his maiden ATP title on the clay of Quito, Ecuador. Carballes Baena defeated Federico Gaio, Paolo Lorenzi, Nicolas Jarry, and Andrej Martin after qualifying, dropping sets in his final three matches but prevailing each time.
His countryman Ramos, the more experienced of the finalists, defeated Roberto Quiroz, Gerald Melzer, and Thiago Monteiro, his win over Monteiro coming in three sets.
Jarry and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo, both hailing from Chile, defeated Austin Krajicek and Jackson Withrow in the doubles final.
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Lucas Pouille, who captured a career high three ATP titles in 2017, captured his first of 2018, 7-6 6-4 over countryman Richard Gasquet. Pouille benefited from a retirement in the semifinals when trailing against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as Tsonga injured his knee up a set and 5-5 in set 2. Carlos Taberner and Benoit Paire both lost to Pouille in straight sets.
Gasquet showed good form yet again on home courts, he beat Daniil Medvedev, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Damir Dzumhur and David Goffin. The wins over Herbert and Goffin coming in three sets.
British brothers Ken and Neal Skupski defeated Hugo Nys and Ben Mclachlan in the doubles final.
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Both Mirza Basic and Marius Copil had a shot at their maiden ATP title, and Basic came out ahead. The Bosnian edged Copil 7-6 6-7 6-4 in the final, after upsetting both Philipp Kohlschreiber and Stan Wawrinka to reach the final. Basic, a qualifier, also defeated Florian Mayer and Max Marterer in the main draw. Basic was on the ropes in his opening round qualifying match against local player Alexander Lazov, and dropped a set against Marterer as well, but improved throughout the entirety of the week. He was rock solid on serve against Wawrinka and finally got the upper hand.
Copil defeated Robin Haase, Blaz Kavcic, Gilles Muller, and Jozef Kovalik to reach the final, not dropping a set in those four victories.
Haase and Matwe Middelkoop will head into a home tournament in Rotterdam with momentum after capturing the doubles final over Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya. It’s their second title of 2018.