Giving tennis more than a shot

This Week In A Few Names

I got back from three wonderful weeks in Argentina yesterday, including the best tournament I’ve ever attended/covered, but this doesn’t mean that Copa Claro notwithstanding, I haven’t followed, at least a little, what has been going on in the tennis world. Of course, I followed mostly the tournaments of Acapulco and Dubaï, albeit via scoreboard most of the time, but I also followed a bit of Challenger action and I decided to summarize the week with some of the names that made it what it was in the tennis world.

 

Roger Federer

Roger Federer won Saturday, in Dubaï, his 72nd career title (Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s really difficult not to talk about the Swiss, who won his 72nd title in Dubaï yesterday and played fabulous tennis in order to do so, particularly in that exciting 7-6(5) 7-6(6) semi-final win over Juan Martín del Potro, but as well in the final, which he won 7-5 6-4 over Andy Murray. Federer again served wonderfully throughout the week and played this magical tennis only he knows how to play.

 

As a matter of fact, I fully agree with Andy Murray when he said after yesterday’s final that if all the hard surfaces were back to be as quick as Dubaï’s was this week, Federer would be back at no 1. He is, without a doubt, the king of the fast courts and that’s where his game is at its best. This week was yet another proof of it. Let’s hope the surfaces of Indian Wells and Miami won’t be too slow. This Federer magic is so entertaining to watch!

 

Furthermore, I need to stop for a few words on the level of del Potro, almost back to top 5 level, and Murray, who did not slump this year and who played fantastic tennis all week. Both should do their fair share of damage in the first two Masters 1000 of the season, and are contenders for both titles, as is Federer, and as is, as well, the next man on my list.

 

David Ferrer

With his third consecutive title in Acapulco, David Ferrer has brought his YTD record to 18-1, the best in the ATP so far this season (Photo: Abierto Mexicano Telcel)

Last week, the little Spaniard won the Copa Claro in style, defeating his friend Nico Almagro in three sets of exciting tennis. Yesterday, it was with an quick and explosive 6-1 6-2 win over another countryman, Fernando Verdasco, that David Ferrer won his third consecutive title in Acapulco, thus taking back his no 5 spot, lost for the time of a week to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

 

Acapulco was Ferrer’s third title of the season (after Auckland and Buenos Aires), the best in the ATP so far this season, and brought his 2012 record to 18-1, also the best in the ATP to this day. His only loss this season was in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, to Novak Djokovic.

 

The Marathon Man of Javea will arrive in full confidence in Indian Wells and despite the fact that his last two titles were won on clay, I am convinced that he will do his fair share of damage during the next weeks. Ferrer is in great shape, confident, and certainly not a player to slight or overlook, as I’ve seen many do.

 

Carlos Berlocq

Along with David Ferrer and Nicolás Almagro, Carlos Berlocq has been one of the most consistent players throughout the Golden Swing. Runner-up in Viña del Mar and quarter-finalist in São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Acapulco, the Chascomus native was furthermore the most consistent South American during this portion of the season, which will make him, at 29, enter the top 40 for the first time tomorrow.

 

Carlos Berlocq was the most consistent South American player during the Golden Swing and will, at 29, enter the top 40 for the first time Monday (Photo: Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images)

Last week, I asked Berlocq what has been the key to his success over the last few months. His answer did not surprise, especially if you’ve been following his progress: he’s playing more aggressive, both mentally and in his tennis. This was particularly obvious over the last few weeks, and I take the occasion here to congratulate Charly and his team (Walter Grinovero and Leonardo Alonso) for the exemplary work done. The progress of the Argentine warrior will be something I’ll follow closely over the next few weeks, in the first two hard court Masters 1000, and I really hope that he’ll get this Davis Cup call he’s dreaming of. He deserves it.

 

It would really be high time for Berlocq to receive the credit that is due to him, starting with the ATP website, that should really stop seeing him as a doubles specialist!

 

Marinko Matosevic

The 26-year-old Aussie has had a spectacular run in Delray Beach this week where, as a qualifier, he made it all the way to the finals, defeating Ivo Karlovic, Alex Bogomolov Jr, Ernests Gulbis, and Dudi Sela en route to his first career ATP final, where he was defeated 6-4 7-6(2) by Kevin Anderson, another of the nice surprises of the week with, on the way to his second career title, wins over Andy Roddick and John Isner, among others.

 

His performance this week should bring Matosevic close to the top 100.

 

Guido Pella

Guido Pella won yesterday his first career Challenger title, and assuredly not his last! (Photo: Challenger Salinas)

Guido Pella is another of these young Argentine players that I’ve been following for quite some time already. Very gritty and talented, 21-year-old Pella was forced to miss the first three months of last season due to a wrist injury that slowed down his progress, but since the end of 2011, he showed more and more of the promise I saw in him when I first saw him play (he was then still a junior) and he surprised many with a steady rise that drove him to his first Challenger finals, in Guayaquil, where he then lost to Matteo Viola.

 

Yesterday, this incredible fighter won, in Salinas, his first career Challenger title, as led 6-1 5-4 by second-seeded Paolo Lorenzi, he came back from the brink of defeat to triumph 1-6 7-5 6-3. A very well-deserved first Challenger title for the lefty from Bahía Blanca and, I think, not the last! Pella is another of the young Argentines to follow, at the same level as his young countrymen Facundo Bagnis, Facundo Argüello, Marco Trungelliti, Federico Delbonis, Diego Schwartzman, Nico Pastor, and quite a few more. Never doubt that the basin of young Argentine talent is far from being empty!

 

With the title won in Salinas, Guido Pella, today 343rd in the World rankings, will move closer to the top 200. In my mind, this is only the beginning.

 

Starting Thursday: Indian Wells

The first Masters 1000 of the season will start this Thursday (?!) in Indian Wells. As usual, I will be all eyes and analysis and will provide the best possible coverage, albeit from Montreal. There will be many players to follow!

 

4 Comments

  1. 5 March, 2012    

    Great round up of another great week of tennis :) NO ONE does the pear-and-sombrero like David Ferrer. And a good week for FerVer despite his loss–major props for going back out and winning the dubs with Marrero. There were people rooting for you on Twitter, Fer, into the wee hours of Sunday morning!
    Fab to see Delpo back in the top 10. And a trophy for Simone Bolelli at the ATP Challenger in Florianopolis! Simone’s had more success in the dubs lately but is clearly trying to get back in the singles game too. Forza!

  2. 5 March, 2012    

    Thanks, Clare! And I have to say that there were so many more names I could’ve talked about! Fer is one of them, Bolleli is another, but I could also have written about Renzo Olivo, who won a Future tournament, or my countryman Peter Polansky, runner-up in another, and a few more. But the reading for you guys would’ve been way too long! :?

    Very happy to see Delpo settled into the top 10 and on his way to the top 5. He’s very close to Mardy Fish now and if he does well in Indian Wells (he has a semi to defend), he can very well pass him.

  3. 6 March, 2012    

    Hola Caro:
    He publicado el analisis que has hecho de Carlos Berlocq en el sitio oficial de Charly Berlocq (http://charlyberlocq.com) y agregaré la dirección de tu blog al blogroll.
    Me alegro que lo hayas pasado bien en Argentina.
    Gracias por el apoyo!

  4. 6 March, 2012    

    Hola Gabriel,

    Es un honor para mí de ver mi analisis de la semana de Charly en su sitio. Charly en un luchador que no dejaré de seguir y su historia de los últimos meses merece que la gente se para a ver lo que sucede por él. Si puedo hacer mi parte para más visibilidad, siempre es un placer hacerlo!

    La verdad es que volví hace 3 días en Canadá y que extaño mucho a Argentina. Buenos Aires es una ciudad marvillosa!

    Un saludo y gracias a ustedes también por la mención!

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