Alex Zverev has again proved he is the real deal with his first title on home soil landed in Munich. He is still only 20 and that is his second trophy of the season after winning in Montpellier (he won his first tour title at the end of last year in St Petersburg). You just know he is going to be a top, top player, that much is obvious. The ability to serve big on key points and boss his opponent with huge firepower of both wings, he also moves well for a big lad and can finish the point off at the net. Sascha has that knack of upping it at the big moments. He still has his blips in matches but what do you expect, he’s competing with seasoned pro’s and he’s still learning. It is one of the top priorities this summer to get to watch this lad, the German is definitely a bit of a geezer on court too and I’m always game for that! Taking out Bautista Agut here in the semi’s shows where he is at right now. He toughest match was actually against Jan- Lennard Struff, whose results have been rapidly improving so far this season. Gael Monfils returned after a 7-week layoff and went out to Hyeon Chung, who also posted another decent effort this week in the reaching the semis. Argentine Guido Pella took him out there, the Argentine making it through qualifying. You have to have a little soft spot for Pella, he reminds me of the old skool clay courters when I was growing up, wearing his opponent down with some classic hustle and working a point. Franco Squillari has randomly sprung to mind! Zverev had too many weapons in the final though and has put down another marker on his road to glory.
Pablo Carreno Busta continued his rise up the rankings after winning in Estoril. He is a classy operator the Spaniard and strolled through this field with minimal fuss, having too much quality off the ground for his opponents. Ferrer describing him as a ”complete player” after his defeat. Gasquet was taken by Kev Anderson, the South African saying this is as fit as he has felt in a couple of years right now. But it was surprisingly Gilles Muller who PCB beat in the final, Muller not having to beat an awful lot to make the final, bar Anderson. Del Potro withdrew mid-tournament to fly back to Argentina due to the passing of his Grandad.
Marin Cilic turned it on in Istanbul. This tournament saw the return of Milos Raonic after his mini stretch on the sidelines. It has been a quiet start to the year for Cilic who seems to be finding some form, he went through the week without dropping a set and took out last year’s defending champion, Diego Schwartzman and then the Canadian in the Final. Raonic will be pleased to get through the week and to have got matches on the board but Cilic was by far and away the stand out performer in Turkey. Dominating with his heavy ground strokes, poor old Steve Darcis was handed it in 45 mins earlier in the week! Breadstick Breadstick!
I have made some pretty complimentary remarks about Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova this season, but I have to admit I have always been more sceptical on the red clay. It has always been her weakest surface. Granted she was the top seed but I didn’t fancy her to win this, by doing so it proved she was class above the field that included Bacsinzsky, Gavrilova, Babos but more importantly the rejuvenated Francesca Schiavone, whom she beat in the final. In the past, I’m damned sure someone would have taken her out in an event like this, so fair play, Pavy looks to have moved up a notch on the red stuff too. Good consistency from the Russian though, backing up her mandatory title in Monterrey recently.
There was an upset in Prague as Mona Barthel made her way through qualies and then the main draw. She beat Kristyna Pliskova in the final. Her top-seeded sister and second-seeded Wozniacki were both early casualties. Like Pavy, it is undoubtedly both their weakest surface and their losses to Camila Giorgi and Jelena Ostapenko respectively back this up. Ostapenko now holds a 3-0 head to head over Woz. It was a big week for Barthel though, injuries have played a large part in the last few years. Taking out Barbora Strycova in the semi’s was key here! This was her first WTA title in nearly 3 years and her first tour final in about a year and a half.
On we go to Madrid!
Andy Del Potro