It was always going to happen sooner, rather than later. Stefanos Tsitsipas has won his maiden main draw title in Stockholm. He continues to build on a already hugely impressive season and the ranking is rising by the week. The sky is the limit for the Greek wonder-kid. He reaches the worlds top 16 with this win. I am already looking forward to seeing him progress next season. Tsitspias as second seed steamrollered his way through the draw. John Millman let him know he was in the event in his first match, taking it the distance but after that it was comprehensive. There were straight sets wins over Kohlschreiber, Fognini and Ernests Gulbis in the final. Gulbis had got through qualies before putting together a good run that involved taking out top seed John Isner in the semis. Isner was playing his first tournament as a father and understandably looked a little rusty. Good stuff from the Latvian though.
Another young lad that you keep hearing me harp on about is Karen Khachanov. He has won his third tour title, this one in his hometown of Moscow. The win takes him to number 19 in the rankings and like Stefanos, this is only going one way. The power he possesses on his forehand is immense, he is a player I really enjoy watching. I can’t get the way he played against Rafa at the US Open out of my head. Aggressive, solid and entertaining. He defeated Adrian Mannarino in the final after doing the hard work taking out Daniil Medvedev, his biggest threat in the semis. Another potential threat was Nick Kyrgios who won a round, beating Andrey Rublev in three before his elbow injury reared it’s head once more. The withdrawal was imminent.
Kyle Edmund joined Stefanos Tsistipas in the winner’s enclosure to take his first tour title, winning in Antwerp. The top seed really stuck at this in the final, coming from a set down against Gael Monfils. This was one of those matches where he could really have lost his way against the Frenchman whose defence was on-point. After the 3/6 7/6 7/6 victory, he said “I’m obviously very happy. A lot of hard work goes into this. So it’s just emotional. You always remember this one. Gael made me work for it today, that’s for sure, so credit to him. I’m just so happy.” He had previously been very impressive in his semi-final win over Richard Gasquet, some thought his best performance of the season. Second seed Diego Schwartzman, a twice finalist in Belgium, lost his semi to Monfils. The Frenchman will be very happy with his week’s efforts, that included a win over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga who was playing only his second event since February.
Simona Halep withdrew from the WTA Kremlin Cup in Moscow. This opened it up for last years runner-up Daria Kasatkina, who won the second title of her career, having won Charleston last year. This completed a ‘Russian double’ in Moscow with Khachanov winning the men’s. She said this was a dream to win the title on home soil and one she used to think about as a kid. There have been several finals for the Russian this season, including a final showing in Indian Wells. It is a nice way to finish off the season, in addition to the win taking her inside the world’s top ten. There were hard fought wins on the way over Lesia Tsurenko and Alize Cornet (who served for the match in the second). She then upped her game nicely, showing the different gears that she has at her disposal in the next two rounds against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Jo Konta. In the final, she faced Ons Jabeur (another qualifier who had a good run). Jabeur’s run included wins over Sloane Stephens in the second round and Anastasia Sevastova it the semis. From a set and 4/1 she fell apart in the final against Kasatkina though. ‘Mad Vera’ Zvonareva rolled back the years, making it through qualies and reaching the last 8 before Sevastova took her out.
Julia Goerges came through as the top seed in Luxembourg. She was extended in the last eight and the last four against Donna Vekic and Eugenie Bouchard respectively. Genie even led by a set and 5/3 against Goerges and was within two points of victory. I saw a comment that “fraulein forehand” then turned up and it all fell into place. In the final, a break in each set was enough to beat Belinda Bencic. There were decent efforts from both Bouchard and Bencic in particular in Luxembourg though. Both of whom had time to adjust to the courts having won through qualifying. Bouchard even ousted Carla Suarez Navarro for the loss of one game in the second round. Dayana Yastremska backed up her title in Hong Kong by making the semis, losing in a final set breaker to Bencic. The Ukranian played some long matches again and also ousted Garbine Muguruza on her way to the last four.
Andy Del Potro