Some of the games most promising young talents are making their move up the rankings and taking their game on to the next level. Grigor Dimitrov has Won his second title of the season. He has followed up his victory in Brisbane by claiming the Sofia title on home soil. Balls on the line etc but in all honesty he should be winning these kind of events if he is to be the player we expect. But fair play winning it is exactly what he did. You can’t ask anymore than that. Jerzy Janowicz caused him to change his underwear in the first round but after that it was all plain sailing for the Bulgarian. Culminating in a victory over David Goffin in the Final, Goffin had been struggling all week and its now 6-0 head to head in Grigor’s favour. Janowicz himself looks to be finding some form again, but a lack of confidence and match play has now seen him edged out against Cilic at the Australian and Dimitrov here. Things look to be starting to gain momentum for the Pole again though and hopefully he can put his length of injuries behind him. Top Seed Dominic Thiem’s awful run of form continued as he was ousted by Nikoloz Basilashvili in his opening match. The only slight blemish on Dimitrov’s week was that he nearly fluffed his lines in the Final from 7/5 *5/1 and 40/0, getting over the line 6/4 in the end. He has been prone to severe bouts of nerves in the past and its quite clear he has been working on the mental aspect of his game. Another mini step has been taken here following larger strides in Brisbane and Melbourne. “It was an extremely emotional week. One of the most emotional in my life. It was not only the last match. I was nervous at the end. It is pretty different to play at home. I felt it once again. I am happy with the victory. I accept this. I will enjoying my time here till the end of the day. Tomorrow everything starts again”. Well played Grigor.
Alexander ‘Sascha’ Zverev added a Second title to his collection after victory in Montpellier. I thought this looked to have a Tsonga v Gasquet Final written all over it from the off. This was given stronger credentials after top seed Marin Cilic was beaten up by Dusty Brown in his opening encounter. Tsonga looked to be in lighting form as well. In his Semi-Final with Zverev though he let slip a set and a break lead. The German doesn’t need a second invitation and when his level increased Jo struggled to find the kind of form he had shown through out the week. The lapse cost the Frenchman with errors creeping in and Zverev finding some power plays. In the Final he beat Gasquet in straights. The Gasman had got away with it a few times previous to this match. Zverev though is a couple of gears up from what was put in front of him before. He possesses a power game full of control and it allows him to take charge of points. Whether it be by his serve or groundstrokes. He completed a fine week by winning the doubles with his Brother Mischa. At still only 19 Years of age its hard to see how this guy isn’t the real deal. What is so impressive is the fact he has made the step up from the Junior game with minimal fuss. It goes without saying that his height and physical presence contribute to a large part of this currently. However there is no doubt that he has the tools at his disposal, its just a question of when and how many he wins?
At the tender age of 36, Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos has claimed his third tournament title. All of which are on the clay in Quito. We could have a new World number One if they played every week in Ecuador. I’ve noticed he’s won two of the Finals in final set breakers. The Man’s got balls too!!!! Or as the Spanish say Cojones! Its a great achievement for him and one nobody can begrudge. Once again he reserved his best form for here. The tournament itself has only been around for 3 years on the main tour. The Dominican seems to thrive on the altitude in the Ecuadorian capital. Additional scalps this year included Ivo Karlovic (top seed, final set breaker….ballsy), Thomaz Bellucci and Paolo Lorenzi, who had impressively taken care of Albert Ramos Vinolas in the Semi’s. Its a remarkable story in all honesty for Estrella and one that I’m sure both everyone back home and Victor himself are very proud of. This win keeps him in the top hundred of the world and should see him get acceptance to the Slams for the remainder of the season. Great effort lad!
On the challenger Tour there were Wins in San Francisco for Ze Zhang over the rejuvenated Vasek Pospisil. Noah Rubin won Launceston beating Mitchell Krueger and Jurgen Melzer landed the title in Budapest by beating local hope Martin Fucsovics (one of the many great names in Tennis). Go on say it out aloud!
The WTA was on a week off due to Fed Cup action. Timea Bacsinszky showed some form she has been lacking for the past 6 months. Victories over France’s Alize Cornet and Kristina Mladenovic ensured the Swiss progressed to the last 4 of the even, where they will face Belarus who surprised the Dutch in Minsk. The young team of Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Aryna Sabalenka getting the job done over Kiki Bertens and Michaella Krajicek. Coco Vandeweghe and Alison Riske gave the German team a bit of a going over in Maui. Petkovic and Julia Goerges were sent packing here in a virtual whitewash. They will face the Czech’s in the remaining Semi. They edged out the Spaniards at home with Karolina Pliskova beating Garbine Muguruza and Lara Arruabarrena, this after Muguruza had given the Spaniards hope with victory over Barbora Strycova. Russia, Belgium, Ukraine and Slovakia have progressed to the World Group play-offs. Rebecca Sramkova came up with the goods for Slovakia, beating Errani and Schiavone on the clay in Italy. Team GB progressed to the World Group II play-offs after a productive week in Estonia. In the round robin format they beat Turkey, Portugal and Latvia all in whitewashes. The team of Jo Konta, Heather Watson, Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae were undefeated all week with the exception of Konta who lost to Croat Ana Konjuh in the promotional play-off. She teamed up with Watson in the doubles to see the side home though in the final rubber.
Andy Del Potro