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Brkic/Cacic Clinch First ATP Title In Buenos Aires

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic claimed their first ATP Tour title as a team on Sunday after toppling fourth seeds Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar in the Argentina Open final. 

The unseeded Bosnian-Serbian duo dropped only one set en route to the trophy, and needed one hour and 16 minutes to defeat the Delray Beach champions 6-3, 7-5. 

“It was a great week for us. Coming from Cordoba, where we lost in the first round, we came here and prepared well and practised,” Cacic told after the match. “We played very good, and I think we deserved to win today. That was our best match of the tournament.”

Brkic and Cacic only dropped serve once throughout the contest. They had to deal with a late comeback effort as Behar and Escobar a saved match point at 5-4 and tried to force a second-set tie-break. But Brkic and Cacic held firm, and converted their second match point to seal the victory in straight sets.

“[It’s the] first ATP title for us. This is our second tournament on the ATP Tour, and already we won a tournament. It’s a great feeling,” said Cacic. The pair have previously won an ATP Challenger Tour title in Forli last year.

The Buenos Aires triumph marks Brkic’s first ATP Tour doubles title and Cacic’s third. Brkic also became the first player representing Bosnia and Herzegovina to win a tour-level doubles title with his victory on Sunday.

“It’s a great experience for me, I’ve played already three semi-finals,” Brkic said. “It’s good for the self-confidence [to know that] I can play with the guys who are the best in the Tour in doubles.

“We just started to play together, so it’s good for us that we had such a good result here and I hope that it continues in Santiago next week.” 

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Schwartzman Ends Home Title Wait In Buenos Aires

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

Top seed Diego Schwartzman completed a dream week at the Argentina Open with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against qualifier Francisco Cerundolo on Sunday to claim his long-awaited first ATP Tour title on home soil.

The Buenos Aires native had previously reached two finals in Argentina, including one here at the ‘Cathedral of Argentine Tennis’ in 2019, but he had yet to taste victory at home. Schwartzman was in control from start to finish on Sunday and ended Cerundolo’s run in one hour and 21 minutes to seal his fourth ATP Tour title.

“I’m very, very happy, it’s been an amazing week for me,” Schwartzman said in the trophy presentation. “It’s the first time that [I have won at] home. Two years ago, I reached the final here and lost… I was very unhappy, but two years later I have my revenge against Francisco, who is a great player.”

Last week, his opponent Cerundolo’s younger brother, 19-year-old Juan Manuel Cerundolo, turned heads with his own title-winning run at the Cordoba Open. Francisco was trying to replicate his run after qualifying in Buenos Aires, but he ran up against a rock-solid top seed and World No. 9 in the final. 

After playing five three-set matches in one week, Cerundolo’s fatigue was evident from the start and Schwartzman wasted no time in testing his legs. He broke the Cerundolo serve six times, and stayed aggressive from the baseline as he marched to victory.


“[Cerundolo] had a spectacular week, I’ve been following him since he qualified and we’ve had great conversations and talked about his matches,” Schwartzman said. “I also know his whole family, they were there at the same club where I started playing tennis before [Francisco] was born… This was his week, last week was [Juan Manuel’s] week.”

With the triumph, Schwartzman became the first Argentine champion in Buenos Aires since 2008, when David Nalbandian won another all-Argentine final against Jose Acasuso.

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Win A Courtside Seat In Santiago’s ‘Virtual Stadium’

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

The second edition of the Chile Dove Men+Care Open will take place behind closed doors, but that doesn’t mean tennis fans can’t be a part of the action. 

The tournament has been rolling out several fan-centric digital initiatives to make sure fans can follow every point from the ATP 250 event, held in the Chilean capital of Santiago at Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica, without ever leaving home. 

Centre Court will be decked out with three screens around the stadium, allowing more than 60 passionate tennis fans to book a court-side seat in the Virtual Audience. Selected fans will be able to follow the match live, as well as support their favourite players and bring atmosphere to the lively South American event.

“With this format, we never run out of tickets and everyone can participate, they have the platform to do it. They can take part in this and experience the event as if they were there,” said Catalina Fillol, tournament director of the Chile Dove Men+Care Open.


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Booking a seat in Santiago’s Virtual Audience is as simple as a social media post. Fans can either comment on the tournament’s Instagram post and let them know why they should win a spot or comment with a great tennis-related personal anecdote, and they will be entered into the contest.

“Our main objective is to bring the people closer. To make sure that the players feel the support of the fans, however technology may allow, and let fans watch matches in a different way,” said Rodrigo Sajuria, Business Director of Movistar Chile.

The tournament will also host live streaming on their official website and mobile app to keep fans connected. Visit the official tournament website for more details and to learn how to join the Virtual Audience.

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ATP 500 King Rublev Reigns In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

Andrey Rublev extended his phenomenal winning run at ATP 500 events to 20 matches on Sunday when he defeated Marton Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-4 to win the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. The World No. 8 also stretched his winning streak in ATP Tour championship matches to seven victories.

Rublev saved all four break points he faced to capture his fourth straight title at ATP 500-level after one hour and 50 minutes. Prior to his title run in Rotterdam, the fourth seed also claimed titles in his final three ATP 500 events of 2020 in Hamburg, St. Petersburg and Vienna.

Since 2009, only Roger Federer (28) and Andy Murray (21) have compiled longer winning streaks at the level. Rublev’s last defeat at an ATP 500 event came against Daniel Evans at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February 2020.

Most Consecutive ATP 500 Match Wins (since 2009)

Rank Player Wins Years
1 Roger Federer 28 2014-’16
2 Andy Murray 21 2016-’17
3 Andrey Rublev 20 2020-Present

Rublev’s 13th win in 14 matches this year marks another milestone moment in an impressive start to 2021. Last month, the 23-year-old won all four singles matches he played to steer Russia to the ATP Cup title and he also reached the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Since the 2019 VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Rublev has won each of the seven championship matches he has contested. Across those victories, the eight-time ATP Tour champion has claimed 14 of the 15 sets he has contested.

Rublev’s Past Seven ATP Tour Finals

Event Final Result
2021 Rotterdam d. Fucsovics 7-6(4), 6-4
2020 Vienna d. Sonego 6-4, 6-4
2020 St. Petersburg d. Coric 7-6(5), 6-4
2020 Hamburg d. Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
2020 Adelaide d. Harris 6-3, 6-0
2020 Doha d. Moutet 6-2, 7-6(3)
2019 Moscow d. Mannarino 6-4, 6-0

Fuscovics was aiming to become only the second qualifier to lift the Rotterdam trophy (Escude, 2001). The 29-year-old dropped just one set from six matches en route to his third ATP Tour final (1-2).

“It was a very positive week for me. I played unbelievable,” Fucsovics said during the trophy ceremony. “I came from qualifying. I played a lot of matches… I improved my game, so that is most important for me.”

With both players attempting to dictate rallies with their powerful forehands, Fucsovics struck three more winners than Rublev on that side in the first set (10-7). But, under the pressure of a first-set tie-break, Rublev struck backhand winners and capitalised on two forehand errors from the Hungarian to take the opener in 64 minutes.

One of the keys to Rublev’s semi-final victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas was his ability to successfully transition to the net behind his forehand. In the opening game of the second set against Fucsovics, the Russian repeated that tactic to earn the only break of the final.

Rublev maintained his break advantage to serve for the title at 5-4. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier clinched the trophy on his second match point with a cross-court forehand winner.

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Mektic/Pavic Earn Third Team Title

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic added a third title to their 2021 collection on Sunday with a 7-6(7), 6-2 triumph against Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final.

The second seeds saved a set point at 6/7 in the first-set tie-break, before they charged to the finish line after 78 minutes. Mektic and Pavic, who made their team debut at the start of the 2021 season, have claimed three titles from four events this year and compiled a 16-1 record.

Prior to their title run in Rotterdam, the Croatian duo lifted ATP Tour crowns at the Antalya Open and the Murray River Open. Mektic and Pavic’s only loss of the year came against eventual champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in the Australian Open semi-finals.


“We have known each other for years already,” said Pavic. “We practised together for the past couple of years always when we were back home. We never played an official match before this year, but I think that helped us. We started to play this year together, but we know the games of each other very well, so I don’t think it took us too much time to adapt to each other on the court. The results prove that.”

One of the keys to Mektic and Pavic’s success in Rotterdam was their high level on serve. In the final, the three-time ATP Tour team titlists claimed 85 per cent of their first-serve points (39/46).

“We came up, throughout the entire tournament, with a high level of serving,” said Mektic. “We only got broken a few times. That was the key. It is indoor tennis. The serve is a very important part of the game in indoor tennis. We did very well and, in the end, I am very happy to win the tournament.”

Krawietz and Tecau were aiming to capture the title on their team debut. The German-Romanian pair defeated fourth seeds Marcelo Melo and Jean-Julien Rojer en route to the championship match.

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Back To His 'Second Family', Federer Resets Expectations

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

Ahead of his return to the ATP Tour at next week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, Roger Federer reflected on his 13-month absence from the sport and shared his excitement to return to the court.

A lot has changed for the 20-time Grand Slam champion since his most recent match at the 2020 Australian Open, including two right knee surgeries and global pandemic, but the Swiss never wavered in his ambition to return to the court.

“I just feel like the story is not over yet… I would like to get that high of playing against the best players, playing at the biggest tournaments, winning them, hopefully, and being in the conversation,” said Federer.

The former World No. 1 will make his return at an event where he has achieved consistent success. Federer is a three-time champion in Doha with a 26-3 tournament record. Eighteen years after his tournament debut, the Basel native is excited to be back playing at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.

“I am very happy to be back playing a tournament again. It has been a long time,” said Federer. “I never thought it was going to take this long. I came here to Qatar in 2003… for the very first time and I always enjoyed playing here… It is exciting to be back, seeing all the players again… I am looking forward to the start.”

Federer is keen to manage his expectations this week. The 103-time tour-level titlist has been surprised by the level he has already shown in practice, but he is keen to avoid putting any results-driven pressure on himself over the coming months.

“At this moment, let’s see how matches go,” said Federer. “Let’s see how training goes with all the top guys… It is still [a matter of] building up to being stronger, better, fitter, faster and all that stuff. I hope by Wimbledon I am going to be 100 per cent and, from then on, the season really starts for me. Everything until then, lets just see how it goes.

“I might surprise myself. I actually already have done in practice the past three weeks. I was surprised with how well it actually did go. But we know matches are a different animal, so right now I just take it day by day. I am happy I am back on the Tour again.”

Since his last appearance, Federer’s Big Three rivalry with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has significantly evolved. Nadal tied Federer’s record at the top of the Grand Slam titles leaderboard last year at Roland Garros and Djokovic has added two further Australian Open titles to his resume. On Monday, the Serbian will also break Federer’s record for the most weeks spent at the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings.

“What Novak and Rafa have done, as of late, is extraordinary,” said Federer. “They are not 25 either. They are able to back it up. Novak did it again in Australia and Rafa again did it at Roland Garros. They seem [to be] at their peak which is great for tennis and it is great for the debate. My concern is more [on] my own game, my own health over the record, to be honest.

“I think for them, maybe this is bigger than for me at this moment because for me, it was very important the closer I was getting to Pete Samparas’ record… Once you have it, you try to do your best and that is what I tried to do. But for them, maybe I am the measuring stick like Pete was for me.

“I am in a different situation but sure, you like to keep every record. But all the records are there to be broken. The guys are unreal, we all know that. I hope they keep on going. I hope they can do everything they possibly want and that they look back with no regrets… We want to leave the game with no regrets and I think, from that standpoint, we all sleep very well at night.”

Perhaps the biggest question mark surrounding Federer’s return will be how he responds to the two right knee surgeries he underwent last year. The 39-year-old has declared himself ‘pain-free’ ahead of his first appearance in Doha since 2012.

“I do think the knee will dictate how the comeback is going to be, how the results will be, how long I can still keep doing this,” said Federer. “I know it is on the rare side for an almost 40-year-old to come back after a year being out and I was surprised how long it took, but I took a decision quite early with my team that I wanted to take the time [with] no rush to get back onto the Tour. It is important that I am injury-free, pain-free and I can actually enjoy myself out there on Tour.”

After more than two decades of competing on the ATP Tour, the 6’1” right-hander spent his time away from the Tour enjoying family life. Federer also believes the break could have helped to prolong his career.

“I do believe what you miss through injuries, you can add to the back end of your career,” said Federer. “I do feel like somebody like myself, who has played almost 1,500 matches, that breaks are always welcome… I did enjoy my time at home. After 20 years on Tour, to be home for an extended period of time, to have used that period in a different way, has been actually quite nice. I have missed the Tour. I have missed the second family, [which is] how I call the Tour.”

Now in the company of his second family in Doha, Federer is philosophical about the week ahead. Simply by stepping on the court for his first match against Jeremy Chardy or Daniel Evans, he will have reached the first milestone of his comeback plan.

“However this tournament will play out, I will be happy leaving the court because I will have played a tournament again,” said Federer. “Expectations are really low, but I hope I can surprise myself and maybe others. I know that people will think that the measuring stick will only be titles, trophies, finals and semi-finals and I am happy that people think of me that way but, honestly, the expectations are in a completely different place for me.”

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Behar/Escobar Oust Top Seeds To Reach Buenos Aires Final

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar booked a spot into their second ATP Tour final of the year with a hard-fought 7-6(6), 4-6, 10-3 victory over top seeds Austin Krajicek and Franko Skugor at the Argentina Open on Saturday. 

The Uruguayan-Ecuadorian duo turned heads earlier in the year when they lifted their first ATP Tour trophy at the Delray Beach Open by, after winning five ATP Challenger Tour titles together in 2020.

Behar and Escobar maintained the momentum against Krajicek and Skugor, who clinched their first title as a team at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel last year. The fourth seeds claimed a tight opening set in a tie-break, but couldn’t break through in the second set as Krajicek and Skugor forced a Match Tie-break. 

The Delray champions bounced back in the decider, and closed out their spot in the final after a one-hour and 51-minute battle.


Behar and Escobar will face Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic for a shot at the Argentina Open title. Brkic and Cacic advanced to the final after a 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-5 victory over Joao Sousa and Dominik Koepfer on Friday. The Bosnian-Serbian duo won an ATP Challenger Tour event in Forli last year.

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Francisco Cerundolo: ‘Seeing My Brother Win Was Very Motivating’

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2021

A week ago at the Cordoba Open, the youngest member of the Cerundolo household, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, lifted his first ATP Tour trophy. A few days later at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires his older brother Francisco Cerundolo could follow in his footsteps with a win against Diego Schwartzman on Sunday.

But before analysing the brothers’ recent success, let’s turn the clock back one year.

Francisco had to endure lockdown at home with his family in Buenos Aires. The tour was on a break and without a concrete idea of what might happen in the future. The struggle meant that the 22-year-old was only able to do fitness training and he would eventually injure himself, battling a bad wrist and tendonitis in his leg.

In August, he decided to travel to Europe with his brother Juan Manuel and Tomas Etcheverry, despite having only been able to hit balls against a wall and with just a few training sessions under his belt. 

“We didn’t know what else to do. We travelled to Italy with my brother and we quarantined in Arezzo before we started competing,” Francisco said. “The journey was tough, we were uncertain and nervous. After a few months of touring, we were more relaxed.”

Those first few weeks were by no means easy, lacking confidence and rhythm. Then something started to change within him.

All the suffering and his hard work would finally start to pay dividends. A first ATP Challenger Tour semi-final in Sibiu, Romania was the first step before he won 17 of his last 19 ATP Challenger Tour matches in 2020, winning titles in Split, Guayaquil and Campinas.

In fact, since returning to the tour, the elder of the Cerundolo brothers has climbed over one hundred positions to reach the verge of the ATP Tour’s Top 100. “My mental capacity and my maturity really grew in a year and a half,” Cerundolo explained to “It’s important to be well in every aspect, but above all in order to believe in yourself and know that you can do it.”

Is there a particular explanation for the best week of his career? “It’s tremendous what I’m going through… I already had the game a few months ago, I think, but because of the ranking I had to reach a certain level.

“I think that since October I’ve been making better use of my game and it was pretty amazing to reach the final nearly every week. I just had to be able to translate that to the ATP tournaments,” explained Francisco, who after an agreement between the University of Palermo and the ATP, also started his Management Degree with Economics and Finance in the final quarter of 2020. He has now taken and passed five courses.

Last week in Cordoba, he contested the first ATP Tour event in which his brother, three years the younger, was also competing, making them the first Argentine brothers in 40 years to appear in the same tournament. 

“The reality is that Juanma and I had never had the chance to measure up to one another in ATP tennis before, but this isn’t something that happened from one day to the next. We’ve been waiting for our time for a while and along with Juanma we’ve been working for many years to reach this level. Seeing him win was very motivating.

“Last week I realised my game was there, and it was already good… Now I have to play in the qualifiers and the standard is similar. The key was my mind, because the tennis was getting there as I won each match,” he said, repeating the word ‘mind’. And if there is one thing that characterises the Cerundolo brothers, it’s just that: the determination with which they approach things, each with his own style and timing.

What’s their relationship like? It couldn’t be better, according to the older brother. “We talk every day. We are happy when we’re doing well and it’s a great bond. We each help the other with experiences, now I’ll see what he says to me,” he laughed. Juan Manuel, meanwhile, awaits him in Santiago, where he will join him in a tournament for the third week on the trot at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open.

Sunday will provide Francisco with the biggest challenge of his career: playing in the final of a tournament that he has been coming to watch for as long as he can remember, where he has played in tournaments at all levels and with his family and friends cheering him on. 


“This is a dream I’ve had all my life,” he said. “It’s a good yardstick to see where I am, how I get on in an ATP Tour final… But I’m not going to rest on my laurels, and being able to give myself this opportunity has made me happy.”

Parents Alejandro and Maria Luz are always the first to congratulate both the brothers. They were in Cordoba all week and are also now in Buenos Aires. “It’s wonderful to see what’s happening. Watching Fran play is quite difficult for me,” his father said, laughing. “If you’re a spectator, he will guarantee you a show because his shots are tremendous and he hits so hard that anything can happen in his matches.”

“Conversation at home is all about sport and we can’t wait for the three of them [their sister, Coni, plays field hockey for Argentina] to get back and see what they all think about their achievements,” jokes their mother Maria Luz, a psychologist. “We’re going to have fun with Fran and Juanma arguing about who won the most games against an opponent.” 

The road to the top is just starting for the Cerundolos, but the current situation couldn’t be any better: Juan Manuel has already made history, and Francisco continues to read from a dream script in a series that is still in its first season.

Did You Know… The Cerundolos are the first brothers to reach back-to-back finals on the ATP Tour since 2017, when Alexander Zverev won the title in Rome and Mischa Zverev reached the final in Geneva. If Francisco is successful tomorrow, they will become the first brothers in the Open Era to claim consecutive titles, and seventh pair overall.

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