Here is your VAVEL USA ATP Weekly Update. Every Monday, we will be posting results and analysis from the previous week’s singles action on the ATP World Tour, along with a preview to the upcoming week. Keep coming back to VAVEL USA every Monday for your ATP Weekly Update.
Despite there being only one tournament above the 250-level this week, there has been a massive shift on the ATP World Tour due to the results. It was a dramatic week on the tour. A week after first-time finalists dominated, the top seeds reclaimed control, winning all three titles. A new tournament in one of the world’s most famous cities made its debut.
Perhaps most importantly of all, there was a shift at the top of the rankings, with the greatest of all time returning to the top of the tennis world. Here’s your ATP Weekly Update for week seven of the 2018 season.
Last Week’s Results
Going into week seven, it was all about Roger Federer. And that never changed. All the Swiss needed to do was reach the semifinals of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament to reclaim the number one ranking for the first time since November 2012.
The Swiss did that and more, only dropping 20 games through three rounds, clinching the top spot with a comeback 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Robin Haase. With the big goal already achieved, Federer cruised through the last two rounds, claiming the 97th title of his illustrious career with a blowout 6-2, 6-2 victory over Grigor Dimitrov.
With the exception of Federer, it was a poor week for seeds. Both Tomas Berdych and David Goffin were forced to pull out, Goffin tragically doing so in the semifinals after Dimitrov’s passing shot deflected off his racquet and into his eye. Lucas Pouille, Gilles Muller, and Stan Wawrinka were eliminated in the first round. Wawrinka was meant to be the last hurdle for Federer to clear but fell short of their quarterfinal date. Andreas Seppi has a fantastic week, upsetting third seed Alexander Zverev on his way to the semifinals, where he lost to Federer.
The inaugural New York Open took place this week and did not disappoint, with the first ever title being decided in a third set tiebreak. Kevin Anderson’s love affair with New York continued, as the US Open runner-up disappointed the home fans by beating American Sam Querrey in an epic final. Check out the full final recap here. Anderson needed three sets to win all four of his matches, with three of them being decided in a third set tiebreak. That included wins over American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo, fellow former US Open runner-up Kei Nishikori in the semifinals, and Querrey in the final.
With the exception of Querrey, it was a disappointing week for the host Americans. The second seed was one of only two Americans to win a match that was not an all-American battle. Only two of the eleven locals that did not have first-round byes advanced, both of whom won all-American battles. Frances Tiafoe was the other successful American, reaching the quarterfinals before falling in three sets to Anderson.
Fourth seed Adrian Mannarino joined the parade of three-setters, coming through two of them to reach the semifinals before falling to Querrey in three sets. In total, 16 of the 27 matches at the event went three sets, including six of seven from the quarterfinals on, leading to a very successful and enjoyable first week of the new event.
The final result of the Argentina Open was never really in doubt. 2016 champion Dominic Thiem came into the event as the top seed and favourite and played like it from the beginning. The Austrian did not drop a set on his way to the ninth title of his career, seventh on clay and second in Buenos Aires, whipping Aljaz Bedene 6-2, 6-4 in the final. Check out the full final recap here. Bedene had knocked off a pair of seeded favourites, third seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas and home-hope Diego Schwartzman, on his way to the third final of his career. However, he had no answer to one of the tour’s best clay-courters in the final.
Gael Monfils came into the event unseeded, but played some great tennis, upsetting seventh seed Pablo Cuevas in the first round on his way to the semifinals, where he was crushed by Thiem. Despite Schwartzman’s disappointing loss, the Argentinian fans had something to root for as Frederico Delbonis powered into the semifinals, only to also fall victim to Bedene. In possibly the biggest upset of the tournament, Pablo Carreno Busta lost his opening match to countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, dropping the first and third sets in tiebreaks.
Mover of the Week: Roger Federer
He may not have made the biggest jump, but it was easily the toughest and most significant. After winning the title in Rotterdam, Roger Federer climbs one spot, the toughest of them all, from number two to number one in the world, reclaiming the top spot for the first time since November 2012. The five years and 106 days is the longest gap between reigns at number one in history. Federer also becomes the oldest world number one in history.
There were actually very few significant moves in the rankings in week seven. Kevin Anderson’s title in New York saw him climb two spots back into the top ten up to a career-high of number nine in the world. He bumped Pablo Carreno Busta out. Thiem’s title did not help him climb up the rankings. Buenos Aires runner-up Aljaz Bedene jumped eight spots to a career-high of number 43.
In total, including Anderson and Bedene, seven men inside the top fifty inched up to career-high rankings despite no significant results this week. That list includes Diego Schwartzman (23), Adrian Mannarino (25), Kyle Edmund (26), Andrey Rublev (32) and Denis Shapovalov (47).
Race to London
Roger Federer’s title consolidated his hold on the top qualifying spot, stretching his lead by 500 points. Thiem’s title saw the two-time qualifier jump into the top eight, climbing thirteen spots up to number six. Andreas Seppi’s qualifying and semifinal run in Rotterdam vaulted him up to number seven, while Tomas Berdych’s quarterfinal appearance was enough to final move him into a qualifying spot.
Kevin Anderson jumped 36 spots to within striking distance at number twelve. Nick Kyrgios fell three spots down to number nine, out of the top eight for the first time all season. 2017 year-end number one Rafael Nadal, who was inactive this week, fell seven spots to number sixteen.
This Week’s Action
There are three titles up for grabs this week on the ATP World Tour, one at the 500 level and two at the 250.
Rio de Janeiro
Buenos Aires champion Dominic Thiem will look to stay hot in South America as he crosses the border into Brazil looking to defend his title at the Rio Open. The Austrian will be seeded second behind Marin Cilic. The top seed is contesting his first tour event since reaching the final of the Australian Open last month. Cilic has a tricky draw that could see him meet Buenos Aires semifinalist Gael Monfils in the second round. The field also includes 2016 champion Pablo Cuevas, who is seeded seventh.
Pablo Carreno Busta, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, and Fernando Verdasco round out the seeds. Also lurking in the draw is surprise Ecuador Open champion Roberto Carballes Baena, who earned entry as a qualifier. He meets Australian Open quarterfinalist Tenny Sandgren in the first round. Argentina Open runner-up Aljaz Bedene will also be in action. The Rio Open is the biggest event this week, with 500 points up for grabs.
Stan Wawrinka’s continual quest to return to the top of men’s tennis will pass through southern France for the Open 13 in Marseille this week. The second seed is actually the highest ranked player in the draw, as top seed David Goffin was forced to withdraw due to the eye injury suffered this week in Rotterdam. Fifth seed and late entry Roberto Bautista Agut will sit at the top of the draw. Lucas Pouille with have the home fans at his back, as he is the highest-ranked Frenchman in the tournament, seeded third.
Gilles Simon is the only former champion in the draw. He won the title in 2015. Gilles Muller, Damir Dzumhur, Filip Krajinovic, and Karen Khachanov will look to take advantage of a fairly open draw. They are the sixth through ninth seeds. Three-time champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will not defend his title, as he withdrew late. The draw also features a pair of rookie 17-year-old wildcards. Frenchman Hugo Gaston will make his ATP World Tour debut, while Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime will look for a first-career win after making his debut last week in Rotterdam.
Defending champion Jack Sock returns to the Delray Beach Open looking to finally get rolling in 2018. The world number eight has yet to win a match in two events. He will need to find his A-game on home soil as he faces a tricky task in defending his title. He will meet a countryman in the second round, followed by a potential quarterfinal meeting with another fellow American, sixth seed John Isner.
The semifinals could see him finally contest the final he didn’t play last year with ninth seed Milos Raonic. Sock claimed the title in 2017 when Raonic withdrew with an injury. New York Open champion Kevin Anderson, who won Delray Beach in 2012, is also a potential semifinal opponent.
Juan Martin del Potro is the second seed. He won the title in 2011. 2016 champion Sam Querrey is the third seed. 2015 champion Ivo Karlovic is unseeded and will open with a challenge against 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov. Adrian Mannarino and Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung, who is contesting his first event since Melbourne, round out the seeds. The draw also features American young guns Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, and Jared Donaldson.