ATP Weekly Update week nine: Veterans score breakthrough wins

ATP Weekly Update week nine: Veterans score breakthrough wins

Juan Martin del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut each scored big titles to give them momentum heading into the Masters 1000 season courtesy of some clutch performances.

pete-borkowski
Pete Borkowski

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.

Week nine on the ATP World Tour was all about veterans finding new ways to make headlines. The two biggest titles of the week went to men who had waited a long time to score a big title, with the third going to an erratic superstar showing one of his flashes of brilliance. With one last week to get in gear before the Masters 1000 season starts, the stars were putting it all on the line in week nine.

Here is your ATP Weekly Update for week nine of the 2018 season.

Last Week’s Results

Acapulco

Despite losing its biggest player before a ball was struck, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel lived up to expectations with one of the deepest draws ever at a 500-level event contesting one heck of a tournament. In the end, it was Juan Martin del Potro claiming his biggest title since 2013 by overpowering fellow top-ten basher Kevin Anderson in a straight-sets final. Check out the full final recap here.

Juan Martin del Potro hoists his trophy in Acapulco. Photo: Hector Vivas/STR/Getty Images
Juan Martin del Potro hoists his trophy in Acapulco. Photo: Hector Vivas/STR/Getty Images

The Tower of Tandil made a brutal draw look easy, dropping only one set in five matches that included wins over David Ferrer, the Zverev brothers (Mischa in the first round, Alex in the semifinals) and third seed Dominic Thiem before knocking off Anderson in the final. The win is the 21st of del Potro’s career. Anderson had reached his third final of 2018 after knocking off young guns Hyeon Chung and Jared Donaldson in the quarters and semis respectively before falling to del Potro.

One of the surprises of the tournament was the 21-year-old Donaldson, who reached his first tour-level semifinal in Acapulco. He ended up being one of the few successful Americans at the event, as all three seeded Americans, Jack Sock, Sam Querrey, and John Isner, were upset in the first round.

Dubai

With the big four absent and a draw falling apart, it was Roberto Bautista Agut taking full advantage of the situation at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, surviving a wild week to claim the biggest title of his career. After winning seven 250-level crowns but falling in his lone final above that level, the Spaniard broke through in his first 500 final, handing Lucas Pouille a second finals loss in as many weeks to win the title in Dubai. Check out the full final recap here. The title is the eighth title of his career and second of 2018.

Roberto Bautista Agut scored the biggest title of his career in Dubai last week. Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Roberto Bautista Agut scored the biggest title of his career in Dubai last week. Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Bautista Agut did not have to face a top 45-opponent on his way to the final, booking his place with a win over surprise semifinalist Malek Jaziri. The world number 117 had upset top seed Grigor Dimitrov in the first round. Facing his first seeded opponent in the final, the Spaniard was up to the task, knocking off Pouille in straight sets. The Frenchman had a much trickier draw, avenging his Open 13 finals loss to Karen Khachanov in the second round before knocking off consecutive seeded opponents to reach the final, where he fell to Bautista Agut.

Sao Paulo

Fabio Fognini overcame a classic Fabio Fognini tournament, featuring some sparkling play with inconsistency sprinkled in, to claim the title at the Brasil Open. The second seed very much played spoiler in Sao Paulo, ending Pablo Cuevas’ bid for four straight crowns before coming back after a nightmare first set to claim the title with a win over first-time finalist Nicolas Jarry. The title is the sixth of Fognini’s career, all of them on clay.

Fabio Fognini won the title in Sao Paulo this week, hoisting his sixth ATP World Tour clay court trophy. Photo: Brasil Open
Fabio Fognini won the title in Sao Paulo this week, hoisting his sixth ATP World Tour clay court trophy. Photo: Brasil Open

The Chilean backed up his first tour-level semifinal last week in Rio by winning four straight three-setters, including an upset of top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the quarterfinals before knocking off Horacio Zeballos to reach the first final of his career in Sao Paulo. Jarry got off to a great start, taking the opening set 6-1 before the veteran Italian rallied to take the next two sets and the crown.

Rankings Update

Mover of the Week: Jared Donaldson

Jared Donaldson strikes a forehand in his first tour-level semifinal this week in Acapulco. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images
Jared Donaldson strikes a forehand in his first tour-level semifinal this week in Acapulco. Photo: Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Courtesy of his surprising run to the Acapulco semifinals, the young American leaped 11 spots back into the top 50 and shot past his previous career high of 50 up to number 48 in the world.

The Acapulco final resulted in a rankings flip between its two finalists, as Juan Martin del Potro and Kevin Anderson swapped spots, with del Potro jumping up to number eight and Anderson falling to number nine. Dubai champion Roberto Bautista Agut climbed seven spots up to number 16, while runner-up Lucas Pouille climbed three spots to a new career-high of number 12. Sao Paulo champion Fabio Fognini only moved up one spot to 19th.

The man he beat in the final, Nicolas Jarry, who reached a career-high in the rankings last week, will jump another 12 spots to another new career high of number 61. The largest jump of the week came from Malek Jaziri. The Dubai semifinalist climbed 33 spots back into the top 100 at number 84.

Nicolas Jarry's run in Sao Paulo carried him to a career-high ranking. Photo: Brasil Open
Nicolas Jarry's run in Sao Paulo carried him to a career-high ranking. Photo: Brasil Open

A number of players within the top 50 crept up to career-high rankings despite not achieving any big results last week. The long list includes Diego Schwartzman (17), Adrian Mannarino (23), Kyle Edmund (24), Hyeon Chung (26), Filip Krajinovic (28), Denis Shapovalov (44), and Peter Gojowczyk (50).

Race to London

Position Name Points
1 Roger Federer 2500
2 Marin Cilic 1335
3 Hyeon Chung 920
4 Diego Schwartzman 770
5 Kyle Edmund 765
6 Juan Martin del Potro 760
7 Roberto Bautista Agut 760
8 Grigor Dimitrov 750
9 Kevin Anderson 710
10 Lucas Pouille 710

The 500-level champions both leaped into contention in the Race to London after their victories this week. Acapulco champion del Potro jumped 28 spots up to number six, while Bautista Agut climbed 30 spots to number seven. Their climb knocked Grigor Dimitrov down into the eighth and final spot while pushing Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych out of qualifying spots.

The Acapulco and Dubai runner-ups both made big jumps, with Anderson and Pouille each climbing six spots to ninth and tenth respectively. Despite only reaching the second round in Acapulco, Diego Schwartzman jumped two spots past Kyle Edmund up to number four. The top three in the race remained unchanged.  

This Week’s Action

It is a quiet week on the ATP World Tour, with only one tournament getting underway and no crowns up for grabs since the lone event of the week starts on Thursday and will run for 11 days with the trophy being handed out two Sundays from now

Indian Wells

Most of the world’s best will get back together for the first time since the Australian Open for the first Masters 1000 event of the season, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Eight of the top ten will be in action, led by world number one and defending champion Roger Federer. The Swiss returned to number one in the rankings two weeks ago and will be contesting his first event as the world’s top-ranked player since October 2012.

Roger Federer will look to defend his Indian Wells title over the next fortnight. He beat Stan Wawrinka in the final last year, pictured. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Roger Federer will look to defend his Indian Wells title over the next fortnight. He beat Stan Wawrinka in the final last year, pictured. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

There are a large number of notable absences in Indian Wells. Three-time champion Rafael Nadal pulled out with a hip injury, while world number seven David Goffin withdrew with an eye injury. Other notable withdrawals include 2017 runner-up Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, and Andy Murray.

In total, 26 of the top 30 will be in action in the first Masters 1000 event of the season. Apart from Federer, the only other former champion in the draw is five-time champion Novak Djokovic, who is seeded 10th.

Check back next Monday for a wrap up of week ten and a look ahead to week eleven on the ATP World Tour. Come to www.vavel.com/en-us/tennis-usa/ every Monday or follow us on twitter @VAVELUSATennis for your #ATPWeeklyUpdate

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