Dubai Tennis Championship Final – Murray v Verdasco
Murray returns to form in Dubai
After a slow start in which he dropped his first two service games Andy Murray recovered to defeat Fernando Verdasco. He broke bac on both occasions and then a third time to eventually take the first set 6-3. He then took total control breaking twice more and finding his service rhythm to easily take the second set 6-2. It is Murrays’s first tournament win of 2017 and the 45th ATP title of his career, expect more to come.
America’s Sam Querry scored a surprise victory defeating Rafael Nadal. Querry got off to a quick start and took the first set in just 29 minutes. Nadal repsonded in the second and had five break point chances in the eighth game. However Querry held him off to level at 4-4 with the set eventually going all the way to a tie break. Nadal made key baseline errors allowing Querry to take it 7-3 and claim his first title of 2017 having served 19 aces in a very impressive display.
Austrian Dominic Thiem has won again on South American soil. Having won in Argentina and Mexico in 2016, he claimed the Rio Open beating Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets. The Spaniard took a 3-2 lead in the first set but Thiem, ranked 8th in the World, fought back to break twice taking the first set 7-5. He broke twice again in the second set and serving eight aces in the match to take it 6-4 and win his eighth ATP title.
Jo Wilfried Tsonga won his second straight ATP title adding the Open 13 in Marseille to his Rotterdam Open title last week. He defeated fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-4 6-4 braking once in each set. The match lasted 69 minutes. It is the 14th title of Tsonga’s career and his third win in Marseille. He will hope to continue this fine form heading towards the French Open.
Delray Beach Open Final in Florida – Sock v Raonic
Second Title for Sock
Jack Sock has his second ATP title this year after winning his final by default. Top seeded Canadian Milos Raonic had to with draw due to a hamstring injury. As a result Sock is the Champion in Delray Beach, adding to his victory in Auckland in January continuing a fine start to the season for the American.
Czech Karolina Pliskova continued her fine recent form to take her second WTA title of 2017 in Doha. She broke opponent Caroline Wozniacki’s serve in the very first game and dominated the first set taking it 6-3. She broke again in the opening game of the second but Wozniacki showed some character to break back and take it to a tie break. That too went all the way with Pliskova getting the key mini break at 7-8 to secure victory. The win is the eighth WTA title of her career but she has never been in better form than at present. Look for her to be a force at the French Open and Wimbledon as she will be looking for her first Grand Slam
Zvarev upsets the home crowd to end Gasquet’s Montpellier reign
Germany’s Alexander Zvarev upset Richard Gasquet and the crowd hoping to see the Frenchman win in Montpellier for the third straight year. Both men got one break each in the first set but the German held his nerve to take the lead in the tie break. Zvarev then broke again in the eight game of the second set to take a 5-3 lead. Zvarev then served out the final game to take his second ATP title after winning in ST Petersburg in September.
Grigor Dimitrov has continued his excellent start to the season with victory on home soil in Sofia in his native Bulgaria. He broke opponent David Goffin in second game to take an early 3-0 lead. Goffin fought back to break but at 5-6 Goffin made a series of errors on his service game allowing Dimitrov to take the first set with his first set point. The second set followed a similar pattern as Dimitrov raced into a 5-1 lead and had 0-40, Goffin saved all three match points then broke back in the next game. However at 5-4 he could not break again as Dimitrov finished the contest at the second attempt. Dimitrov has two titles this year and a grand slam semi final to his name in what is looking a potentially big year.
Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic won his third straight title in Ecuador winning a tight contest against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi. Lorenzi took the first set on a tie break but Burgos hit back to break at the key moment to take the second set 7-5. There were no breaks in the final set went all the way to a tie break which itself went all the way. At 6-6 Burgos got the key mini break and took his match point to continue an extraordinary run of 15 straight wins on the clay courts of Quito. Burgos returns to the top 100 in the World rankings as a result
ST Petersburg Ladies Trophy Final – Mladenovic v Putintseva
Maiden title for Mladenovic
France’s Kristina Mladenovic has won her first WTA title the the fourth attempt using past experience to defeat Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, who herself was contesting her first final. Mladenovice eased through the first set 6-2 but Putintseva showed character to take the second set to a tie-break and take advantage of some poor serving to level. Mladenovic tightened her serve up in the decider however and took the only break to win it 6-4 and claim her maiden title in Russia.
Svitolina avenges previous defeat to claim the Taiwan Open
Top seed Elina Svitolina converted her top seed status into a fifth WTA title in Taiwan. The Ukrainian ranked 13th in the world struggled with flu earlier in the week but came through to impressive in the Semi-Final against Mandy Minella and was far too good in the Final for China’s Peng Shuai. She broke the Chinese players serve three times as she breezed to a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory to take her first title for eleven months since victory in Malaysia in 2016. The win also avenged defeat in Svitolina’s only previous meeting with Shuia.
Serena Williams is the most successful woman in the modern era surpassing Steffi Graf to claim her 23rd major grand slam title. Despite her sister Venus playing as well as she has in some time to reach this final she was no match for her older sister’s power and speed. A break in each set was enough was Serena to claim her seventh Australian title, itself a record. How many more can she win? On this form in which she has won the title without dropping a set, there could be plenty more to come yet.
Federer claims 5th Melbourne title winning epic battle of the old masters
The fall of the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray opened the way for two old rivals and masters of the game to meet once again in a grand slam final. The contest between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal did not disappoint. The first two sets were shared but it looked like Federer had taken control powering through the third set 6-1. The Spaniard was not done however. Federer made errors in the fourth game to let Nadal back in and he took advantage to break and lead 3-1 in the fourth. He served it out to take the fourth set 6-3 and ensure the crowd got the decider they wished for. Nadal continued the momentum, breaking in the first game of the final set to take the advantage. However Federer kept going and had break point in each of the next three service games of Nadal, at the third attempt he took one to get the score back to 3-3.
After winning his next service game Federer then broke again to lead 5-3 and just one game away. Nadal kept fighting taking a 15-40 lead with two chances to break back. An ace and a stunning forehand winner allowed Federer to save both. Federer then had a Championship point saved but earned a second one. He then looked to hit a winner tight to the line to win it, Nadal challenged, the crowd waited, Hawkeye deemed the ball in and finally the Swiss had his 18th Grand Slam title. A fitting contest for a battle of this importance between to old masters we may never see again.