An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP Tour
The ATP Tour heads into the eighth week of its 2019 season with the second ATP 500 tournament of the year taking place in Rio de Janeiro, alongside ATP 250 events in Delray Beach and Marseille. Dominic Thiem leads the field at the Rio Open presented by Claro, Juan Martin del Potro returns at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com and Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.
View Draws: Rio de Janeiro | Delray Beach | Marseille
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN RIO DE JANEIRO
1) Golden Hour: The month-long “Golden Swing” continues through Latin America, with the Rio Open presented by Claro as the third stop, and the first 500-level clay-court event of the year. Defending champion Diego Schwartzman and 2017 titlist Dominic Thiem are two of the Top 4 seeds, with Italians Fabio Fognini and Argentina Open winner Marco Cecchinato rounding out the top quartet.
2) Winning Thiem: Thiem comes into Rio as the No. 1 seed and World No. 8, aiming to reclaim the title he won in 2017, having lost to Fernando Verdasco in last year’s quarter-finals. The Austrian, who reached his first Grand Slam final on the red clay of Roland Garros last year, has a 10-2 record overall at the Rio Open, including a semi-final showing in his first appearance in 2016.
3) Fog Rolling In: No. 2 seed Fognini has had a slow start to the Golden Swing, as the World No. 16 lost his opening-round matches at Cordoba and Buenos Aires to Aljaz Bedene and Jaume Munar, respectively. But the top-ranked Italian has had some of his finest results at Rio, notably defeating Rafael Nadal in the 2015 semi-finals en route to his career-best finalist showing at the tournament.
4) Turn It Around: No. 3 seed Cecchinato is 0-4 in main-draw matches at the Rio Open, having fallen in the first round in each of the last four editions. However, the No. 2 Italian had a similar 0-3 win-loss record at Buenos Aires going into that event last week, and he ended up hoisting the champion’s trophy. Cecchinato has been rewarded with a new career-high ranking of No. 17.
Watch Cecchinato Win The 2019 Buenos Aires Title
5) The Champ Returns: Schwartzman won his second career title, and first at ATP 500-level, with his run to the Rio trophy last year. He has yet to win a title since then, but he clinched a finalist showing last week in his hometown of Buenos Aires, before falling to Cecchinato. Schwartzman also made the doubles final in Buenos Aires, partnering Thiem, who he had beaten in the singles semi-finals.
6) Growing Seeds: Joao Sousa, Dusan Lajovic, Malek Jaziri, and Nicolas Jarry occupy the other four seeded positions this week, just as they did last week in Buenos Aires. Each of the four players listed have yet to make a quarter-final during the Golden Swing so far this season.
7) Surprise, Surprise: One player who has had a stellar Golden Swing is Juan Ignacio Londero, who won his first five Tour-level matches at Cordoba as a wild card, clinching his maiden ATP Tour singles title in the process. Londero made it through qualifying to grab a main draw spot at Rio.
8) Title Taker: 2016 champion Pablo Cuevas is the third former Rio titlist to feature in this week’s field. The Uruguayan has won six ATP Tour singles titles, all on clay, and four of the six have come in Brazil. Cuevas has won three times in Sao Paulo to go alongside his lone Rio Open title.
9) Going Wild: Two 18-year-olds were given wild cards this week, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil. They also happen to be two of the most recent US Open boys’ singles champions: Auger-Aliassime won the title in 2016, and Seyboth Wild claimed it last year. The third wild card went to Thiago Monteiro, a 2017 Rio Open quarter-finalist.
10) Double Duty: Brazilian doubles stars Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares are teaming up for the first time at an ATP Tour event since 2016 Stockholm. Former World No. 1 Melo has won 32 ATP Tour doubles titles and former World No. 2 Soares has won 30, but neither player has ever lifted the Rio title. Melo made the 2014 final. Soares has lost in the semi-finals in each of the event’s five editions.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN DELRAY BEACH
1) Tiafoe Looks to Remain Perfect: World No. 29 Frances Tiafoe, went a perfect 5-0 in his Delray Beach debut last year, taking home the title. He will look to keep that perfect record and win the tournament for the second time in a row, a feat accomplished only once in tournament history (Jason Stoltenberg: 1996-97).
2) Delpo Debut: Juan Martin Del Potro returns to the court to begin his 2019 season after having a very successful 2018, picking up two titles (Acapulco, Indian Wells) and reaching the final of a Grand Slam (US Open) for the first time since 2009.
3) Recent Home Turf Advantage: An American has won the tournament the past three years, and this year’s eight Americans will look to make it four. However, in the tournament’s 25 years, Americans have won it only seven times.
4) Back-to-Back: Reilly Opelka will try to continue his winning ways after picking up his first ATP Tour victory in New York, defeating fellow American – and Delray Beach participant – Brayden Schnur in the final, 6-1 6-7(7) 7-6(7).
5) #NextGenATP Steps Up: As Tiafoe tries to defend his title, Yosuke Watanuki, born three months after the American, makes the main draw for the first time this season after picking up victories in qualifying. The 20-year-old appears in just his third-career main draw and will look to notch his second match victory, the first coming in 2018 at his home country’s Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
6) Decades Between Them: Two first round matchups see pairings with at least 11 years between them. Jared Donaldson (22) takes on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (35) and Watanuki (20) faces off against Lukas Lacko (31).
7) First-Time Champion Possibility: Only two former champions return to Delray Beach this year (Del Potro, Tiafoe), down from five in 2018. Just four players in the tournament’s 25-year history have won it more than once (Stoltenberg, Ernests Gulbis, Xavier Malisse, Jan-Michael Gambill).
8) Set the Tone: After a stand-out year in 2018 that saw him reach a career-high rank of No. 8, Isner dropped the first two matches in his 2019 season. Following two wins in New York, the American will look to build off the success to push for another top-10 season finish.
9) Bryan Bros Hunt for Number Five: Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will look to clinch their seventh finals birth and fifth tournament victory this week as they appear in Delray Beach for the 12th time. The pair are also searching for their first tournament victory together in 2019 after notching two wins in 2018 (Miami, Monte-Carlo).
10) Giants in Delray: Height will be on display this week as Ivo Karlovic (6’11”), Opelka (6’11”) and John Isner (6’10”) compete in the tournament.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN MARSEILLE
1) Top 15 Contenders: Plenty of veterans as well as rising stars headline the draw in Marseille this week. World No. 12 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 13 Borna Coric lead the charge as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively. Tsitsipas has yet to win a first-round match here in two tries, but recent Tour success indicates that this year’s result could be quite a different story.
2) Defending Champ Out: Marseille defending champion Karen Khachanov has withdrawn from the event due to illness, allowing former champion Ernests Gulbis to replace him in the draw.
3) King of Marseille: Three-time Open 13 Provence champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga returns as a wild card and aims for a fourth crown this year. Tsonga, currently ranked No. 112, claimed the Marseille title in 2009, 2013 and 2017, and earned runner-up honors in 2014 behind Gulbis.
4) French Brigade: Along with Tsonga, No. 6 seed Gilles Simon, No. 7 Gael Monfils, No. 8 Jeremy Chardy, Benoit Paire, Ugo Humbert and Antoine Hoang will represent the home country in this year’s draw. Simon won the title in 2007 and 2015, and Monfils was the runner-up in 2015.
5) #NextGenATP Leaders: Tsitsipas finished 2018 with the Next Gen ATP title and started the 2019 season strong with an Australian Open semi-final appearance (l. to Nadal) that included a win over No. 3 Roger Federer. At 20 years old, Tsitsipas remains a top #NextGenATP contender, along with 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov, who recently reached the quarter-finals in Montpellier and Rotterdam and comes to Marseille as the No. 4 seed.
6) Riding Momentum: Monfils is fresh off winning his eighth career ATP title in Rotterdam on Sunday, after going 13 months without lifting a trophy. Prior to Rotterdam, the 32-year-old reached the semi-finals at Sofia, notching wins over Mikhail Kukushkin and Tsitsipas.
Watch Monfils Beat Wawrinka For The 2019 Rotterdam Title
7) Dark Horse: Serbian Filip Krajinovic has had good fortune in France each year, having reached the quarter-finals in Montpellier early this month, the quarter-finals at Marseille in 2018, and the finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris in 2017.
8) On the Rise: Italian Matteo Berrettini has proven to be a threat on the ATP Tour. The 22-year-old earned wins over Khachanov and Fernando Verdasco en route to reaching the semi-finals at Sofia earlier this month. His success pushed him to a career-high ranking of No. 46 on Feb. 11.
9) Title Defenders: 2018 doubles champions Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus enter as the No. 2 seeds behind Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. Venus is undefeated in Marseille, having won two titles here (also 2016). Klaasen and Venus reached the final in Auckland and the quarter-finals at the Australian Open this year.
10) Doubles Trouble: As the top seeds, Marach and Pavic own five titles together, and their recent success includes a semi-final appearance in Auckland.
A LOOK BACK
Challenger La Manche (Cherbourg, France): He opened the week as the top seed as finished as No. 1. Ugo Humbert blasted to the title on home soil in Cherbourg, rallying from a set down in both the semis and the final to lift the trophy. He overcame Mats Moraing on Saturday before storming back to defeat Steve Darcis 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-3 in the championship. At two hours and 23 minutes, it is the longest final thus far in 2019.
Humbert added a fourth ATP Challenger Tour title in total and first in his native France, adding to 2018 triumphs in Segovia, Ortisei and Andria. The #NextGenATP is the youngest Frenchman to claim a quartet of crowns since Richard Gasquet in 2003. At the age of 20, Humbert has firmly cemented himself in the Top 100, rising to a career-high No. 75 in the ATP Rankings.
Moreover, the Metz native surges five spots to fifth place in the ATP Race To Milan. Last year, he finished just outside the Top 7 automatic qualifiers, but he has made a strong early push to punch his ticket to the Next Gen ATP Finals in 2019.
On the other side of the net, Darcis continued his magical comeback from a debilitating elbow injury. Having missed the entire 2018 season, he is on fire in his return, reaching the semis at the season-opening ATP Tour stop in Pune and the final this week in Cherbourg. It was the first final for the former World No. 38 in nearly two years.
Jobtopgun Bangkok Open (Bangkok, Thailand): Third seed Henri Laaksonen gave Switzerland its first ATP Challenger Tour title in three years, surging to victory in the Bangkok final on Sunday. He ousted Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-4 in just 77 minutes. It was the first crown for the Swiss contingent since Laaksonen’s previous victory in Champaign in 2016.
The 26-year-old rises to No. 121 in the ATP Rankings with the title. Considering he was on a 3-13 run entering the tournament, it was a much-needed week for Laaksonen.
A LOOK AHEAD
Three tournaments on three continents highlight this week’s slate. The 14th edition of the Trofeo Faip-Perrel on the indoor hard courts of Bergamo, features Evgeny Donskoy as its top seed. Stefano Travaglia leads the home charge, with recent Budapest champ Alexander Bublik seeded third.
Meanwhile, in Morelos, Mexico, defending champion Dennis Novikov is back and joined by top seed Pedja Krstin and Americans Ernesto Escobedo and Christian Harrison. Victor Estrella Burgos, champ in 2015, is an unseeded threat.
And the Bangkok Challenger II is also on the docket, with Laaksonen looking to go back-to-back. Prajnesh Gunneswaran leads the field with a trio of Japanese players – Tatsuma Ito, Yuichi Sugita and Hiroki Moriya.
When Lloyd Harris was 14 years old, he played tennis just two days a week. The teenager knew that tennis was his best sport. But back home in South Africa, he played rugby and cricket, competed in athletics and more.
“I was doing everything. I was one of those guys,” Harris said. “I enjoyed a lot of other sports too and i think the reason I didn’t play [tennis] as much as my parents wanted me to enjoy it, have fun and learn skills from all different sports.”
Less than a decade later, Harris is inside the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings. On 11 February, the 21-year-old became the second active South African in the elite group, joining World No. 5 Kevin Anderson. The last time two South Africans were inside the Top 100 was nearly 15 years ago, during the week of 23 February 2004 (Moodie & Ferreira).
“I was extremely happy when I reached that Top 100 spot just because I think that’s one of the biggest benchmarks as an ATP player,” Harris said. “You take a lot of pride in that and I really enjoyed it. Now I’m looking to build on that and it’s settling in… it’s about progressing up the ATP Rankings even more.”
It’s not that long ago that Harris did not think this was possible. When he first began working with coach Anthony Harris (unrelated) five or six years ago, the older Harris tried to give his charge belief.
“Wow, you really have the potential to become a Top 100 ATP Tour player,” the coach said.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’ I only played tennis like twice a week. He kept on believing in me and each year as I got better he kept on telling me, ‘Listen. you’re going to become a Top 100 player, it’s just about when you’re going to do it. That’s the big question for me’,” Harris remembered. “I didn’t always believe it, but I’d say in the past year or so it obviously became more realistic, me improving a lot, getting some better results. And as I crawled closer, I think it started to sink in that I was going to break into the Top 100.”
This week last year, Harris was No. 297 in the ATP Rankings. But he has since won his first three ATP Challenger Tour titles to significantly improve his standing. Harris served as an alternate at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals.
“The media was going pretty crazy about it in South Africa since it was the first time in 15 years we had two players in the Top 100,” Harris said of his recent breakthrough.
Harris has impressed one of the greatest players in South African tennis history in 15-time ATP Tour singles champion Wayne Ferreira.
“I think it’s amazing. Obviously Kevin is our stalwart and he’s doing great and he’s grounded and everything. But we always have to look for the new generation of kids coming in. It’s always important to have somebody doing well to inspire the younger generations,” said Ferreira, who cracked the world’s Top 10 in singles and doubles. “Lloyd is very, very good. He’s a great kid, a good tennis player and I think he’s going to be very good.”
Ferreira, who was in Delray Beach for an ATP Champions Tour event, is staying to advise Harris, and he will remain with the 21-year-old for a trial period over the next few weeks. While it’s only been a couple of days, Harris is already soaking in everything he can.
“He’s incredible. The things he reached in tennis, the amount tournaments he won. He was one of the best players ever from South Africa and I think I’ve been learning a lot from him the couple of days he’s been around,” Harris said. “He’s a really nice guy and it’s also nice that he’s a fellow South African. I think he can give me a lot of good advice and small mental tips, small tennis tips that can really help me a lot.”
While Anderson is flying the South African flag near the top of the ATP Rankings, Harris is on his way up. The Cape Town native has only played 20 tour-level matches thus far, but he has plenty of time to make an impact. He only began to fully focus on tennis six years ago, after all.
“In tennis eyes he’s still quite young. He’s only just really started off. I see a long future for him,” Ferreira said. “He’s structured body-wise very well. He’s a strong boy. He has strong, powerful legs, a lean body. He’s got a good tennis body that I think will last him physically for a long time. I think he has a good enough game to do well. He’s got a lot of power in his game, a lot of variation in it, so I think he’s got the type of ability that he’s going to be on the [ATP] Tour for a very long time and be very successful.”
Reilly Opelka was down, but never out at the New York Open. The 21-year-old American fought back from a set down in three of his five matches and saved six match points in the second-set tie-break of his semi-final win against top seed John Isner. On Sunday, he came within two points of defeat against qualifier Brayden Schnur, but rallied to win 6-1, 6-7(7), 7-6(7) and earn his first ATP Tour title.
Opelka hammered 156 aces throughout the week, including 43 during the championship match. The milestone moment puts him inside the Top 60 of the ATP Rankings.
The American is also the fourth first-time champion on the ATP World Tour in 2019, just seven weeks into the season.
First-Time Winners In 2019
|Alex de Minaur||19||Sydney|
|Juan Ignacio Londero||25||Cordoba|
|Reilly Opelka||21||New York|
Afterwards, Opelka spoke to ATPTour.com:
How does it feel to win your first ATP Tour title?
It feels really good to win this event. I didn’t think it was going to come this soon, to be honest.
You lost the first set three times this week and had to win a second-set tie-break in all of those matches. What does that say about you?
I’ve won a lot of three-setters and part of that is just the way my game is. There are a lot of tie-breaks and it comes down to a few points here and there.
You lost your serve twice in the first set of your opening match against Adrian Mannarino. How did you turn that match and your week around?
I made an adjustment on my serve after the first set of that match and it held with me the whole week. There were other adjustments made on my forehand and my return, so I progressed well as the week went on.
This was the second time you played Isner this year. How would you describe what makes that matchup unique?
You know what to expect. I thought we both served unbelievably well and played well from the baseline yesterday. If we both play like that, it just comes down to luck and who guesses right on the big points. There’s no better player that day.
I think this match was a little bit different than our match at the Australian Open because John was the better player in Melbourne. If you look at the scoreboard, he was in control of the whole match and I was lucky to sneak by. In New York, it was slightly in my favour, especially in the third set.
You double faulted on match point in the second-set tie-break today. What are you telling yourself in those moments between points?
You really want to know? [Smiles]. I just tried to keep my mouth shut, but it was tough how that point and the whole match seemed to be going. I felt like I had all the break points and opportunities, and somehow he kept getting himself back in. It almost just felt like his week.
Have you gotten any messages yet from the other American players?
Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both reached out. There’s not much ego with those guys. They’re just stoked to see other Americans doing well.
Thinking back to your first ATP Tour semi-final at the 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open, how would you describe the path that you’ve taken since then to your first title now?
If you look back at 2016, I was a good junior playing at home. No one knew me. I had a big game and swung freely. I had a general idea of how I was winning matches there, but it’s not as in-depth as it is now. My style of play isn’t that much different since then, but I’m more consistent now and there’s more of an understanding to what I’m trying to do.
American Reilly Opelka was pushed to the limit in a thrilling New York Open final on Sunday against Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur, but made good on his sixth championship point to prevail 6-1, 6-7(7), 7-6(7) and earn his first ATP Tour title.
“This Opelka Serves Up Maiden Title In New York is definitely what I’m most proud of,” said Opelka. “I was tough mentally, especially losing a lot of first sets this week, and my first serve really helped me out. I was able to play clutch in those big moments.“
The 21-year-old finished the week with 156 aces, including 43 in Sunday’s championship match. He landed 72 per cent of his first-serves (312 of 436) and won 88 per cent of his first-serve points (276 of 312). After dropping serve twice in the first set of his opening-round match against fifth seed Adrian Mannarino, Opelka held in his next 68 service games to close out the week.
Opelka fought back from a set down in victories this week over Mannarino, Denis Istomin (R2) and top seed John Isner (SF), winning second-set tie-breaks in all three matches. He also saved six match points in the second-set tie-break against Isner.
Despite the loss, Schnur can be satisfied with the best result of his career. The Canadian was an alternate into the qualifying draw and had never won an ATP Tour main draw match before this week. He saved two match points in his second-round victory over third seed Steve Johnson and five set points in the opening set of his semi-final win over sixth seed Sam Querrey.
“It’s a dream come true for me. This week showed that I belong in these big tournaments and playing against the top guys,” said Schnur. “It’s unfortunate the way it ended because I left it all out there and did everything I could, but that’s how sports go sometimes.”
The first set was one-way traffic for Opelka as he broke Schnur twice to take the early advantage after 18 minutes. Neither player dropped serve in the second set to force a tie-break. Schnur erased a championship point on his serve at 5/6 with a solid forehand volley. Opelka earned another championship point on his serve at 7/6, but double faulted as the crowd gasped. A backhand error from Opelka at 7/7 gave Schnur his first set point and he converted with a strong serve, leaping in the air as the crowd stood up to applaud the comeback.
The deciding set was identical to the previous one, with neither player dropping serve to set up a final-set tie-break. Opelka battled to a 6/4 lead, but hit a forehand error on his third championship point. Schnur rifled a forehand winner on the next point to even the score. A fifth championship point for Opelka came and went at 6/7 as the Canadian continued his brave play with a strong forehand approach.
A big first serve from the qualifier at 7/7 appeared to set up his first championship point, but a challenge from Opelka showed the ball was out. Schnur shockingly double faulted and, fittingly, Opelka hit his 43rd ace of the day on his sixth championship point to end the match after two hours and one minute.
Opelka picks up 250 ATP Ranking points and $119,800, while Schnur receives 150 ATP Ranking points and $64,780.
German duo Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies won their first ATP Tour doubles title on Sunday at the New York Open. A single break in each set was all they required to defeat Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan 6-4, 7-5.
“This feeling is unbelievable. It’s really a dream come true to us and we’ve worked so hard for this moment,” said Mies.
Krawietz and Mies finished its week in New York without dropping a set. They have primarily competed together on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning five titles in the past nine months. They also came through qualifying to reach the third round at Wimbledon last year.
“This is the best tournament that we’ve played together. We get along off the court and have fun together, so you can see that on the court,” said Krawietz. “It was a pleasure to play in front of such a big crowd today and I was able to get energy from them in the match.”
Gonzalez was seeking his first ATP Tour doubles title since winning this in Antalya (w/Demoliner) last June, while Qureshi’s last title came in October 2017 in Chengdu (w/Erlich). Gonzalez and Qureshi opened this season together with a semi-final finish in Doha.
The German pair broke serve at 3-3 in the opening set and rode that momentum to an early advantage. They saved the lone break point against them at 3-4 in the second set, then secured a break at 5-5 before closing out the contest in 74 minutes.
Krawietz and Mies pick up 250 ATP Ranking points and split $39,300, while Gonzalez and Qureshi earn 150 ATP Ranking points and split $20,140.
Argentine duo improves to 9-3 as a team
Maximo Gonzalez and Horacio Zeballos needed just 49 minutes to capture their first ATP Tour title as a team on Sunday, cruising past Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-1 at the Argentina Open.
The top-seeded Argentine duo, which improves to 9-3 as a team, won 74 per cent of first-serve points (20/27) and saved all three break points it faced to triumph in front of its home crowd. The title run closes an impressive two weeks for Gonzalez and Zeballos on home soil. Last week, the Argentine duo reached its maiden tour-level championship match as a team at the inaugural Cordoba Open, falling to Roman Jebavy and Andres Molteni in straight sets.
“Sharing the court with [Horacio] is good because we know each other a lot,” said Gonzalez. “It’s great to get a win at home, after losing the final [in Cordoba] last week… A win at home with all our people, family and friends, is very nice and special.”
Gonzalez improves to 5-2 in tour-level doubles finals. Zeballos, who lifted three ATP Tour doubles trophies in 2018, now owns 11 tour-level doubles crowns.
“It is a huge pleasure to be here with the champions trophy,” said Zeballos. “I’m really happy to enjoy a week with so many friends”
Schwartzman and Thiem were bidding to capture their first team title in their third ATP Tour event as a team. On Saturday, Schwartzman saved one match point to defeat Thiem in the singles semi-finals.
Gonzalez and Zeballos receive 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and share $33,400 in prize money for winning the title. Schwartzman and Thiem collect 150 points and split $17,120.
Did You Know?
Zeballos owns a 3-1 record in Argentina Open doubles finals. The 33-year-old, who finished as a runner-up in 2014 (w/Cuevas), also lifted the trophy in 2010 (w/Prieto) and last year (w/Molteni).
Third seed Marco Cecchinato saved his best for last at the Argentina Open. The Italian produced a flawless performance in Sunday’s final to defeat fourth seed and home favourite Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2.
“I was able to play a great match and was always focused. I followed the game plan from the beginning to the end,” said Cecchinato. “I was able to win the first two matches [this week] the hard way, working point by point. I improved my level yesterday and I was focused today, so I’m happy with how I was able to win the tournament.”
The World No. 18 in the ATP Rankings cruised to the title in Buenos Aires without dropping a set. He finished the week leading all players in the field on second-serve points won (63%) and second-serve return points won (64%). All three of Cecchinato’s ATP Tour titles have come on clay, with the 26-year-old lifting trophies last year in Budapest and Umag.
“Winning my third tournament in my third final makes me happy,” said Cecchinato. “I want to be physically good and train harder for the rest of the year. I know that I’ll continue to have good results if I stay mentally solid.”
Schwartzman was seeking his first ATP Tour title since prevailing 12 months ago in Rio de Janeiro (d. Verdasco). However, he can take comfort in having reached his first ATP Tour final on home soil this week.
“Marco played a great match and deserved to be the champion. He didn’t let me do anything today,” said Schwartzman. “Playing at home and getting to the final was very nice for me. I had the unconditional support of the fans all week and that respect is something that makes me feel good despite the bad result.”
From 1-1 in the first set, Cecchinato dominated the lengthy baseline rallies and went on a seven-game run. Schwartzman tried to get the crowd involved and raised his arms in the air after getting on the board in the third game of the second set. But perhaps fatigued by his semi-final heroics on Saturday against top seed Dominic Thiem, where the Argentine saved a match point, Schwartzman couldn’t find his footing on Court Guillermo Vilas. A pair of unforced errors gave Cecchinato a 5-2 lead in the second set and the third seed wrapped up the match after 65 minutes.
Cecchinato picks up 250 ATP Ranking points and $101,830 for his efforts this week, while Schwartzman leaves Buenos Aires with 150 ATP Ranking points and $55,065.