International Tennis Weekly #7: Federer, Murray Win On Clay

Roger Federer won his 85th career singles title last week on the ATP Tour while Andy Murray won his 1st career clay court singles title. Richard Gasquet, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova also won titles in a busy week on the international tennis circuit.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer with the Istanbul trophy

Roger Federer Wins 85th Career Singles Title

When you have been around as long as Roger Federer has and won as much, you get the luxury of choosing your schedule rather than letting the schedule choose you. Federer decided to skip the Miami Masters this year and instead added the inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open to his schedule.

After struggling through his early rounds, the Swiss World No. 2 defeated Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 7-6(11) for his 85th tour title. Federer’s rationale to choose Istanbul was to go play in a new city that he had not visited before and he certainly soaked in the sights and sounds off the court as well. This was his third title of the year and with Rafael Nadal struggling on clay as well, Federer could have a deep run in Paris if the draw gods favour him.

Meanwhile, at the BMW Open in Munich, Andy Murray captured his first career clay court title with a hard-fought 7-6(4), 5-7, 7-6(4) win over two-time former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber. Murray, who recently got married, also becomes the first British man to win an ATP clay court title in nearly four decades. This was also his 32nd career singles title.

And in Portugal, Richard Gasquet defeated Aussie youngster Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 to win the inaugural Millennium Estoril Open, avenging his second-round loss to the Australian at Wimbledon last year. This is Gasquet’s 12th ATP title while Kyrgios was playing his first ATP Tour final.

On the doubles side, top seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares beat German wild cards Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev 4-6, 6-1, 10-5 to win the BMW Open in Munich for their 11th ATP Tour title; Treat Huey and Scott Lipsky defeated top seeds Marc Lopez and David Marrero 6-1, 6-4 to win in Estoril; Radu Albot and Dusan Lajovic won in Istanbul with a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory over Robert Lindstedt and Jurgen Melzer.

Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova Win on the WTA Tour

With the top guns resting before the big Madrid Open this week, two youngsters took advantage to win on the WTA Tour. Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova are names to watch out for in the upcoming Grand Slams and both walked away with WTA titles last week.

Ukraine’s Svitolina defeated Timea Babos 7-5, 7-6 to win the Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem for her 3rd WTA singles title. She is now closing on the world’s Top 20. Babos did not leave Marrakech empty-handed as she partnered with Kristina Mladenovic to beat Laura Siegemund and Maryna Zanevska 6-1, 7-6(5) in the doubles final.

Meanwhile, Pliskova, one of the biggest servers in the women’s game today, defeated compatriot Lucie Hradecka, who came through qualifying, to win the Prague Open in front of a delighted home crowd. This is her fourth WTA career singles title.

The big-serving Czech has 28 match wins this season – the most by any player and is closing in on the World’s Top 10. Hradecka’s bad luck in finals continued – she is now 0-7 in Tour Finals in singles. The doubles title was won by Belinda Bencic and Katerina Siniakova, who beat Kateryna Bondarenko and Eva Hrdinova 6-2, 6-2.

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams Continue to Lead the Rankings

Novak Djokovic continues to lead the men’s rankings with Federer following at No. 2. There is no change in this week’s Top 20 but outside that, Gasquet climbs 5 spots to No. 23 and Kyrgios climbs 11 spots to No. 35.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams continues to maintain a healthy lead at the top of the WTA stack, followed by Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova. The Romanian and the Russian will be competing for the World No. 2 ranking in Madrid this week. In the only change in the Top 10, Andrea Petkovic climbs one spot to No. 10. Pliskova is up to No. 13 after her Prague win while Svitolina stands at No. 21.

On the doubles list, Sania Mirza is No. 1 for the fourth week in a row, followed by Italians Roberta Vinci/Sara Errani at No. 2 and Martina Hingis at No. 4. The Bryan Brothers continue to dominate the ATP doubles rankings as the Top 10 remains static this week.

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