Champions Tennis League Blog

17 August 2016, Wednesday
The last week was arguably the most successful week of the tennis calendar for CTL Stars. Martina Hingis, Elina Svitolina and Roberto Bautista Agut shone bright in the biggest stage for sport, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  Ivo Karlovic, Feliciano Lopez and Divij Sharan ensure a clean sweep for CTL players at Los Cabos.
Martina Hingis who has ruled the doubles and mixed doubles circuit over the last two years went in to Rio de Janeiro with the hope of winning two medals in women’s doubles and mixed doubles respectively.  Unfortunately for Hingis, both Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka withdrew from the Olympics owing to injuries and she was in the running in just the women’s doubles.  She would have been odds on favourite to win the Gold Medal with either Federer or Wawrinka who have a men’s doubles Gold together from the Beijing Olympic Games.
Martina Hingis partnered Timea Bacsinszky in the women’s doubles event.  Bacsinszky has enjoyed a couple of solid years in the singles circuit reaching a career high ranking of 9. The pair was seeded 5  and had to get through a tricky second round encounter against seasoned doubles players Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Coco Vandeweghe.  In the quarterfinal, they beat the 3rd seeded Chan sisters from Taiwan emphatically 6-3, 6-0.  The biggest battle was against the Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.  Hingis and Bacsinszky saved a match point in the second set before pulling through 5-7, 7-6(7-3), 6-2.  In the Gold Medal match, experienced doubles duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina beat Hingis and Bacsinszky in two tightly contested sets.  Hingis and Bacsinszky had to settle for the Silver medal.  This was Hingis’ first Olympic medal and yet another addition to an array of glittering achievements across a stellar career spanning three decades.
In other events, Elina Svitolina shone bright with a incredible run to the quarterfinals where she defeated the World No. 1 and defending gold medalist, Serena Williams in straight sets. Roberto Bautista Agut had a great run reaching the quarterfinals before falling short to eventual silver medalist, Juan Martin del Potro.  Heather Watson reached the mixed doubles quarterfinals with eventual singles gold medalist, Andy Murray.
Los Cabos in Mexico hosted an ATP 250 tournament for the first time.  In its inaugural year, the event clashed with the Olympics, yet managed to attract a strong field.  Feliciano Lopez entered the tournament as the top seed and Ivo Karlovic as the 3rd seed.  Both players came in to the tournament in red hot form having won ATP 250 events post Wimbledon.  Lopez reached the final in relative ease losing just one set against fellow Spaniard, Pablo Carreno Busta.  On the other half of the draw, Karlovic reached the final after getting through a tricky quarterfinal encounter against Marcel Granollers.
The final between Lopez and Karlovic was the oldest since 1976 with a combined age of 71 years.  Karlovic rode on the back of his huge serve and fired 21 aces to beat Lopez 7-6(7-5), 6-2.  This was Karlovic’s 8th ATP title and his 2nd of the year after winning the Newport title a month earlier.  The form of Karlovic and Lopez post Wimbledon has been stellar and they continue to show that age is merely a number with a strong work ethic.
In the doubles event, Divij Sharan and Purav Raja won the inaugural Los Cabos title.  This was the Indian pair’s 2nd ATP title after their triumph in Bogota in 2013.  Sharan and Raja have been in amazing form winning three challenger titles and reaching 3 semifinals of ATP 250 tournaments in a row. This tournament was 4th time lucky for the pair and they eventually got past the semifinal hurdle and went on to win the tournament. In the quarterfinal, Sharan and Raja came back storming after dropping the first set 1-6 against Nicholas Monroe and Artem Sitak.  The rest of the tournament was plain sailing for the pair where they did not drop a single set.  With this win, Divij Sharan has risen 14 spots to an ATP doubles ranking of 69.