ATP Tour Roundup: Nick Kyrgios Wins First Title

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ATP Tour Roundup

Kyrgios wins first title

This was another landmark week for the ATP Tour young guns. In particular, Nick Kyrgios shined as he claimed the first tour title of his career in Marseille. He seemed to have put the childish antics of last summer behind him as he soberly acknowledged the crowd after his victory. No shout, no fist pump, no falling to the court.

Known as a talented and athletic player who has yet to rise to his potential, Kyrgios seemed intent on dispelling that stereotype, and displayed a businesslike countenance on court. He dismantled Richard Gasquet 6-0, 6-4 in the quarterfinals in under an hour, closing out the match with four straight aces. In the final, he defeated Marin Cilic 6-2, 7-6(3), who has long been known as a heavy hitter himself. But this was Kyrgios’ day, and he dictated using his serve. Notably tall players (John Isner, Ivo Karlovic) aside, not since Andy Roddick have we seen a player serve as forcefully as Kyrgios did this week.

With his delayed backswing, Kyrgios gives the impression of an uncoiling whip as he delivers his serve. He favors the middle when serving on either side of the court, and can seem to produce aces at will. He was not broken during the tournament—he played 47 service games. The third youngest title winner since 2009, Kyrgios seems to be growing into his game and should break into the top 20 this season.

Cuevas rolls in Rio

Pablo Cuevas completed a career week at the Rio Open by defeating Guido Pella 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 in a final of unseeded players. Cuevas, who has one of the best backhands on tour, rode the momentum from his semifinal victory over Rafael Nadal through the rain-soaked final, which included a three-hour delay.

Cuevas’ win in Rio brings up more questions about Nadal, who lost in the first round of the Australian Open and was upset in Buenos Aires last week. After an upset at Wimbledon last year, Nadal admitted in his press conference that he did not know if he would return to the level of his dominant form in 2008 and 2010. Nadal has battled recurring issues with both knees, and, playing on clay, was expected to claim the title. Long considered the best clay-court player in history, Nadal’s best chance to regain form will come in April, when the clay season officially starts.

Querrey triumphs in Delray

Sam Querrey defeated Rajeev Ram 6-4, 7-6(6) in an All-American final in Delray Beach. Querrey claimed his first title in four years with a win over surprise finalist Ram, who defeated Bernard Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov on his way to the final.

Notably, Delray was the site of Juan Martin del Potro’s comeback. Del Potro, a former top 10 player and U.S. Open champion, spent most of last season recovering from left wrist surgery. He made the semifinals where he lost to Querrey in straight sets—not a bad showing for having been out of the game for a year. It will be interesting to see if del Potro can fully return to form and challenge the top players by the season’s end.

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