ATP Weekly Update: Big names shine in exhibition and main tour play
The powerhouse team Europe overcame some stiff opposition to claim a second straight Laver Cup title. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA

ATP Weekly Update: Big names shine in exhibition and main tour play

The second edition of the Laver Cup may have stolen the spotlight from some solid main tour action in Europe as the first post-US Open events took place this week.

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.

There were two components to week 38 on at the ATP World Tour. The main tour began the final march towards the ATP Finals on the indoor hardcourts of Europe, while the biggest stars were duking it out for international bragging rights in Chicago. Exhibition or main action, there was tons of top-flight tennis.

Here is your ATP Weekly Update for week 38 of the 2018 season.

Last Week’s Results

St. Petersburg

Dominic Thiem’s long wait for a second hardcourt title is finally over after the Austrian claimed the St. Petersburg Open. His last victory on hard courts came in February 2016, but the 2018 match wins leader was rock solid throughout the week, dropping only one set, in the quarters against Daniil Medvedev, on his way to a third title of 2018. He capped it off by overturning a 0-3 head-to-head with Martin Klizan in a blowout final.

Dominic Thiem bites the trophy in St. Petersburg. Photo: St. Petersburg Open
Dominic Thiem bites the trophy in St. Petersburg. Photo: St. Petersburg Open

Klizan had a wild run to reach the final, upsetting second seed Fabio Fognini in the second round before trailing seventh seed Denis Shapovalov by a set and a break in the quarters. The Canadian served for the win at 6-3, 5-4, but lost seven games in a row to go down a break in the third, which Klizan rode to the end. The Slovakian then stunned Stan Wawrinka in the semis to reach the seventh final of his career, where he only won four games against Thiem.

It was the first finals loss of Klizan’s career, having won his first six. Klizan was one of two non-seeded players to reach the quarterfinals. Defending champion Damir Dzumhur fell in quarters to Wawrinka, the other unseeded quarterfinalist, who did not drop a set on his way to the semis where he went down in three after winning the first set against Klizan.

Metz

The French are back on top in Metz. It was Gilles Simon reasserting the host nation’s dominance at the Moselle Open, claiming the third Metz title of his career. The Frenchman only dropped one set on his way to the final, in the second round against seventh seed Filip Krajinovic. In the final, he ran into surprise finalist Matthias Bachinger, who he put away in straight sets.

Gilles Simon hoists his third trophy in Metz. Photo: Moselle Open
Gilles Simon hoists his third trophy in Metz. Photo: Moselle Open

Bachinger needed to go through qualifying to reach the draw but lucked out in the main draw by facing a pair of lucky losers in his second round and quarterfinal matches. In the semifinals, he caused a shock by stunning top seed Kei Nishikori in three sets to reach the first final of his career at age 31. After a tight first set which he dropped in a tiebreak, he was easily put away by Simon.

Defending champion Peter Gojowczyk went down in the second round to Nishikori after disappointing the home fans with a win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was playing his first match since February. There were plenty of upsets in the tournament, including second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas falling in his opening match to Ricardas Berankis and world number 107 Radu Albot going all the way to the semifinals (l. to Simon).

Laver Cup

Once again, Europe established its dominance over the rest of the world with a Laver Cup title. Team Europe claimed its second title in two editions of the event, once again edging team world on the final day with Alexander Zverev and Roger Federer playing the role of heroes.

Team Europe celebrates their victory in Chicago on Sunday. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA
Team Europe celebrates their victory in Chicago on Sunday. Photo: Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA

It looked like Europe would run away with the tournament when they swept the day one singles, although Team World scored a major victory by taking down the blockbuster pair of Federer and Novak Djokovic in the doubles. The Europeans then took that two-point lead into the final day after the two teams split the four matches on day one, including another doubles win for the World and a Kevin Anderson upset of Djokovic.

Doubles was clearly Team World’s strength as they took a one-point lead to start the final day courtesy of a doubles win from John Isner and Jack Sock. Sock was 3-0 in doubles during the weekend. But after falling as a doubles pair, Federer and Sasha Zverev would rally to seal the win for Team Europe with nearly identical victories. Both dropped the opening set of their matches in tiebreaks before claiming a third set champions tiebreak 10-7, with Zverev claiming the clinching point.

Rankings Update

Mover of the Week: Gilles Simon

Gilles Simon moved back into the top 30 by winning in Metz. Photo: Moselle Open
Gilles Simon moved back into the top 30 by winning in Metz. Photo: Moselle Open

The Metz champion climbed ten spots in the rankings up to number 29, putting the Frenchman back in the top 30 for the first time since May 2017.

The man who fell to Simon in the Metz final, Martin Klizan, had the largest jump of the week, moving up 16 spots back into the top 50 at number 49. St. Petersburg champion Dominic Thiem jumped over Grigor Dimitrov up to number seven. Stan Wawrinka continued his crawl back towards the top, moving up 13 spots to number 75.

The defending champions in St. Petersburg and Metz both took hits by not defending their titles. Damir Dzumhur fell 11 spots out of the top 30 down to number 39, while Peter Gojowczyk dropped out of the top 50, down 25 spots to number 70.

Race to London

Place Name Points Change Points Back
1 x-Rafael Nadal 7480 - -
2 x-Novak Djokovic 6445 - - (1035)
3 Juan Martin del Potro 4910 - - (2570)
4 x-Roger Federer 4800 - - (2680)
5 Alexander Zverev 4365 - -
6 Marin Cilic 3815 - -
7 Dominic Thiem 3525 +1 -
8 Kevin Anderson 3450 -1 -
Top Eight Qualify for London     Points Back
9 John Isner 2930 - 520
10  Kei Nishikori 2565 - 885
11 Fabio Fognini 1940 - 1510
12 David Goffin 1785 - 1665
13 Stefanos Tsitsipas 1782 - 1668
14 Pablo Carreno Busta 1730 - 1720
15 Milos Raonic 1710 - 1740
16 Borna Coric 1700 - 1750

*Numbers in brackets indicate points back for year-end number one. Only players with semi-realistic chance are included

The only minor change in the Race to London saw the St. Petersburg champion Thiem hop over Kevin Anderson for number seven, dropping the South African into the dangerous eighth and final spot. Kei Nishikori claimed a couple of points by reaching the semis in Metz, although he failed to move up in the race and is still just under 900 points back of Anderson.

This Week’s Action

The Asian swing gets underway this week with two 250-level events in China.

Shenzhen

Defending champion David Goffin returns to the Shenzhen Open as the top seed, looking for a big win that could help him make up ground in the Race to London. To do so, he will have to contend with a solid field that could see him faceoff with the only other former champion in the draw, former world number one Andy Murray, in the second round.

David Goffin will go for a second straight win in Shenzhen this week. Photo: ATP World Tour
David Goffin will go for a second straight win in Shenzhen this week. Photo: ATP World Tour

The young guns will be looking to make a strong start to the Asian swing, with Stefanos Tsitsipas (2), Borna Coric (3), Denis Shapovalov (5), and Alex de Minaur (7) all seeded. Fernando Verdasco (4), Damir Dzumhur (6) and Andreas Seppi (8) round out the seeds. 2015 runner-up Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is the only other player in the draw to have previously reached a final in Shenzen.

Chengdu

There will be a new champion at the Chengdu Open as neither former champion is returning for the third edition of the tournament. Fabio Fognini is the top seed and is in desperate need of a big result if he hopes to reach a maiden ATP Finals. The Italian has not won consecutive matches since winning the title in Los Cabos back in early March but still sits in 11th in the race.

Fabio Fognini will look to break a run of poor form that dates back to earlier in the summer after winning in Los Cabos. Photo: Los Cabos Open
Fabio Fognini will look to break a run of poor form that dates back to earlier in the summer after winning in Los Cabos. Photo: Los Cabos Open

The Italian has a good opening in Chengdu as the only top twenty player in the draw and is one of only two members of the top 30 along with Hyeon Chung, who is seeded second. The top four seeds are top 40 players (Nikoloz Basilashvili and Adrian Mannarino are third and fourth respectively). Gael Monfils (42), Matthew Ebden (48), Joao Sousa (49) and Tennys Sandgren (58) round out the seeds.

Kevin Anderson and Pablo Carreno Busta were initially expected to play but both withdrew. Defending champion Denis Istomin did not even enter, choosing to enter Shenzhen instead, from which he withdrew anyway.

Check back next Monday for a wrap up of week 39 and a look ahead to week 40 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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