Champions Tennis League Blog
#CTLSTARWATCH - THE WEEK THAT WAS
This was the last week of action on the European red clay season while the North American hard court season had already kick started in Washington DC. Many players decided to take the week off to prepare for the Masters 1000/Premier tournaments in Toronto and Montreal respectively. Among the players who were in action, Feliciano Lopez and Ivo Karlovic stood out with their performances. The Indian players, Divij Sharan and Ramkumar Ramanathan also had a solid outing.
FELICIANO LOPEZ WINS HIS FIRST CLAY TITLE
Feliciano Lopez was the top seed of the Swiss Open held at the picturesque clay courts of Gstaad, Switzerland. Even though he was the top seed, he was not the favourite to win the title since Lopez had never won an ATP title on clay. Traditionally, clay is the favoured surface for Spaniards but Lopez has a style of play that translates into success on the quicker courts like grass. In the era of baseliner’s Lopez plays a throwback brand of serve and volley tennis which is a refreshing change. His serve and skills in the forecourt have always made him a potent force and a strong contender in tournaments across the world.
Lopez was through to the semifinals without losing a set. However in the semifinals, he faced a stiff challenge against fellow serve and volleyer Dustin Brown. Lopez vs Brown would have been a riveting match up on grass but one was not sure how they would fare on the slow clay courts. However it was a thrilling contest and Lopez came back after dropping the first set to beat Brown. In the final, Lopez beat Dutchman Robin Haase in two tight sets 6-4, 7-5 to win his 5th ATP World Tour title.
After nearly 17 years on tour, Lopez finally won his first clay court title. Lopez had reached the final at Gstaad 10 years back and failed to lift the title. Lopez is back in the top 20 of the rankings at the age of 34. This longevity and consistency is a testament to the incredible work ethic and skills of Lopez. After winning a Grand Slam doubles title to go with this tile at Gstaad, 2016 is proving to be one of the most successful seasons of Lopez’s career.
IVO KARLOVIC HAS A WINNING STREAK OF 8
After winning the title at Newport last week, Karlovic would have been excused for a lacklustre week at the age of 37. Instead Karlovic showed the world that Father Time could be defeated if one puts in the hard yards at work. The Citi Open at Washington DC was the first hard court tournament in the North American leg heading into the US Open. Karlovic stormed through a very strong field to reach the final beating a number of seeded players en route.
Karlovic beat 3rd seeded Bernard Tomic, 6th seeded Jack Sock and 5th seeded Steve Johnson without losing a set. Karlovic held serve 53 times in a row before finally losing serve. Unfortunately for Karlovic, the time he lost serve was when he served for the title at 7-5, 5-4 against Gael Monfils. Karlovic was a point away from winning his first ATP 500 title. Monfils played some clutch tennis to save the match point and go on to win 5-7, 7-6(8-6), 6-4. Nevertheless, the last two weeks were incredible for Karlovic. He notched up 8 wins in a row and has risen to a ranking of 27.
BACK TO BACK SEMIFINALS FOR DIVIJ SHARAN
Divij Sharan and Purav Raja have had a wonderful run since the start of the grass court season. After winning two grass court challengers, they have reached consecutive semifinals in ATP 250 events. After reaching the semifinals at Newport last week, they travelled back to Europe and made it to the semifinals at Gstaad transitioning from grass to clay. They defeated 3rd seeds Dominic Inglot and Denis Istomin in the quarterfinal and pushed the top seeds, Mate Pavic and Michael Venus to three sets in the semifinal.
RAMKUMAR RAMANATHAN MAKES THE LAST FOUR AT BINGHAMTON
After playing two singles matches at the Davis Cup tie against Korea in Chandigarh till Sunday, Ramkumar Ramanathan made the long and arduous trip to the United States to play the Binghamton Challenger. Unseeded in the tournament, Ramanathan played wonderful tennis to reach the semifinals. In the second round, he came back from the brink to beat Jose Statham 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) in a match that spanned nearly 2 and a half hours. The very next day, Ramanathan played an even longer match to beat the experienced Brydan Klein 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 6-2 to reach the last four. He lost to Mitchell Krueger in straight sets in the semifinal clash. It has been a hugely successful 2 weeks for the Indian youngster making his Davis Cup debut and his second Challenger semifinal in 2016.
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