Players Compete on Clay, Grass Ahead of American Swing

Aaron Gilbert/Icon Sportswire

The ATP Tour enters a lull at this point in the season. The North American hard-court swing is beginning in earnest, but the normal clay and grass seasons are long gone. In this period, there are a variety of clay tournaments in Europe that tend to showcase clay specialists and up-and-coming players. There is also another grass event in Newport, Rhode Island along with the Davis Cup quarterfinals.

The summer is typically busy on the pro tennis tour, but is especially so with the looming Olympic Games in Rio. Sandwiched between the Masters Series 1000 tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati, many players will play continually from the end of the July until the U.S. Open in late August. The slammed schedule often forces a pick-and-choose approach, with some players starting their hard-court seasons late and others playing the European clay events until the schedule change necessitates their transfer to the North American swing.

This week was the calm before the storm in the schedule. The tournaments in Hamburg, Newport, and Bastad, Sweden featured upsets along with favorites rolling.

Klizan Triumphs in Hamburg

Slovak 7th seed Martin Klizan overcame rust and 3rd seed Pablo Cuevas to win the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg 6-1, 6-4.

Cuevas had not been broken all week, but Klizan broke twice in the first set to take the opener. Klizan broke at 2-2 in the second and held to close out the match.

The match was meaningful for Klizan for more than just the victory, prize money and ranking points. He had missed a significant portion of the spring due to a foot injury and returned successfully for the fifth title of his career and second of 2016.

Cuevas has had a strong year and was looking to claim a third title on the season. He will continue to play the European summer clay circuit this week as the top seed in Umag, Croatia.

Ramos-Vinolas Wins First Career Title in Bastad

Albert Ramos-Vinolas cruised in straight sets in the finals of the SkiStar Swedish Open to capture his first career title at the ATP Tour level. Ramos-Vinolas defeated fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4.

Ramos-Vinolas, who had a career-best run to the French Open quarterfinals in May, had lost his previous three encounters with Verdasco, but proved the stronger on Sunday as he secured a break in each set to win the title. He will look to continue his success on the Swedish clay this week in Gstaad.

Karlovic Serves Up Newport Title

Ivo Karlovic mounted an ace-filled comeback to defeat Gilles Muller in the final of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island on Sunday. Karlovic saved three match points to take home his seventh career title by a score of 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12).

Karlovic and Muller are both strong grass court players, and took advantage of the opportunity to extend the grass court season by another week. Both prolific servers, Muller had only been broken once before the final, and Karlovic hit 27 aces in the match. Muller, who was contesting his second grass court final of the season, will continue to look for his first career titie.

Players Compete on Clay, Grass Ahead of American Swing

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