ATP Rio: Pablo Cuevas Wins Biggest Title Of His Career Over Guido Pella

ATP Rio: Pablo Cuevas Wins Biggest Title Of His Career Over Guido Pella

The Uruguayan went through the whole tournament without beating a single right-handed player en route to the title.

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Noel John Alberto

Pablo Cuevas took home his biggest title to date with his stunning victory at the Rio Open. The Uruguayan won his biggest title, his first ever ATP 500 title, after he defeated Guido Pella 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 in the final. Cuevas capped off a remarkable week for unseeded players as all the champions on the ATP World Tour this week were unseeded. Along with Cuevas, Sam Querrey won in Delray Beach while Nick Kyrgios won in Marseille.

Break Point Chances Very Minimal As Cuevas Grabs Opener

After the longest match in Rio Open history against Rafael Nadal, many thought Pella had to be the slight favorite coming in, just on sheer fitness. Both men opened up with routine holds before Cuevas ran into some trouble on his second service game. Serving down 1-2, Pella had two fantastic looks at break point, but was unable to convert those chances as the Uruguayan held on for two apiece.

The server wasn’t challenged throughout the set until Pella was serving in the ninth game. Cuevas jumped all over Argentine’s serve, racing out to a 0-30 lead. The pressure of his first career final got to the 25-year-old as he was broken to give Cuevas the shot to serve out for the first. It was smooth-sailing for the 30-year-old, holding at 15 to take the opening set, moving one set away from his biggest title.

Servers Dominate Second Set As Pella Forces Decider

If you thought, that three break point chances were plenty in the first set, then lo and behold that were absolutely none in the second set. The servers were just in cruise control the whole way throughout the set and even the tiebreak. Pella reeled off three straight points from 4-5 down to steal the breaker and force the third set.

Both players were brilliant on their first serve. Cuevas won 70 percent of his first serve points in that second set. Despite that great number, Pella’s service numbers, especially on the first serve were just world class, winning 88 percent of his first serve points.

Final Set Near Carbon of Second But Pella Cracks Under Pressure

Servers continued to take control in this set as it look destined for yet another tiebreak. Cuevas was the first to feel the pressure, serving for 5-4. He let his 30-15 lead slip and fell to deuce. He was able to hold somehow, putting the pressure on Pella who had to serve to stay in the match. The Argentine cracked under that pressure, dropping the 30-all point to give Cuevas match point. The Uruguayan converted to take home the title, becoming the first player ever to win a tournament without beating a right-handed player.

Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil watches as Pablo Cuevas of Uraguay celebrates his win over Guido Pella of Argentina during the final of the Rio Open at Jockey Club Brasileiro on February 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil watches as Pablo Cuevas of Uraguay celebrates his win over Guido Pella of Argentina during the final of the Rio Open at Jockey Club Brasileiro on February 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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