ATP 500, review of the season
Another season of the ATP World Tour has finished. The players will be on holidays before the new season begins, it is valid to review the champions of the ATP 500 tournaments.
With 13 tournaments disputed on three continents (America, Europe and Asia), the ATP 500 category gave much to discuss since its first tournament in Rotterdam, until the last one played in Basel.
Roger Federer – ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Roger Federer conquered the tournament number 97 of his career after winning 6-2, 6-2 to the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Beyond a new trophy, Rotterdam represented Federer’s return to the world number 1, after five years and 106 days.
After defeating Robin Haase in the quarterfinals, Federer dethroned Rafael Nadal from the top to become the oldest player to reach No. 1 in the world ranking.
Federer, also holds the record of 20 Grand Slam titles, won Rotterdam for the third time in his career, after the 2005 and 2012.
Diego Schwartzman – Rio Open (Río de Janeiro, Brasil)
Defeating Fernando Verdasco in two (6-2, 6-3), Diego Schwartzman was proclaimed champion of the 2018 Rio Open, and lifted his second trophy as a professional player after Istanbul in 2016.
With the 500 points achieved in Rio, Schwartzman, 25, went from No. 23 to 18 in the world rankings, achieving his best position since his debut in in 2010.
Roberto Bautista – Dubai Tennis Championships (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
The Spaniard Roberto Bautista obtained his second title of the season after winning in two (6-3, 6-4) against the French Lucas Pouille.
After defeating Juan Martin Del Potro at the beginning of the season in Auckland, Bautista, 29, won his first ATP 500 title. “It’s a very special tournament for me and I’ll keep it forever in my heart. I am happy to have won an ATP 500”, said. “I have worked a lot this last month and I have been able to handle emotions well. I’m raising my level and I hope it’s a great year. I hope to play even better in the remainder of the season. I had been pursuing the title of a 500 all my career. Of course it’s my best victory”.
With his victory in Dubai, the Spaniard added his name to a very exclusive list of champions. Since 2003, Roger Federer won seven titles, Novak Djokovic won in four occasions and the other four are shared between Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick. All of them Grand Slam champions.
Juan Martín del Potro – Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC (Acapulco, Mexico)
In 2006, with 18 years of age, he appeared for the first time in Acapulco and fell in the first round against Albert Montañés. In 2015 his return to AMT was announced, but a painful injury on his wrist stopped him from playing. In 2017 free of injuries, he returned to Acapulco. He won the first round beating Frances Tiafoe but fell in second round against Novak Djokovic. Finally, in 2018 as a favorite to the locals, Juan Martín del Potro won for the first time the Mexican Tennis Open after defeating three Top 10 on the way to the title: Dominic Thiem (quarterfinals), Alexander Zverev (semifinals) and Kevin Anderson (final).
“From the beginning until the end it was a fantastic week, very nice on and off the court, I felt very comfortable here. Thank you very much for everything, Acapulco”, said Del Potro. “I’m going to keep this prize in a special place and with a lot of love, because it’s something that many players want and it’s not easy to have it. It’s a very important tournament because of the quality of the players I had to face”.
Rafael Nadal – Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (Barcelona, España)
Rafael Nadal, number one in the world, won for the eleventh time tournament in Barcelona after winning in two (6-2, 6-1) against Stefanos Tsitsipas, 19 years of age and currently No. 63 in the world ranking.
De esta forma, el español logró el título 55 sobre arcilla y el 77 de su carrera, además de ampliar en su momento a 46 su récord de sets ganados de forma consecutiva sobre tierra batida. En Barcelona, el de Manacor llegó a 401 partidos ganados sobre su superficie predilecta por sólo 35 derrotas.
With this trophy the Spaniard holds 55 titles on clay and 77 of his career, in addition, it extended his record to 46 sets consecutively won on clay. In Barcelona, he reached 401 games won on his favorite surface by only 35 defeats.
“Thank you all for making the tournament so special and especially my family, who has been with me even when things have not been so easy”, Nadal said. “I never dreamed of making a career like the one I have.”
Borna Coric – Gerry Weber Open (Halle, Germany)
Surprising everyone, Borna Coric, 21years of age, defeated Roger Federer in three (7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-2) to become the new Gerry Weber Open champion, winning his second ATP title, the first ATP 500 of his career.
Federer, who was defending the title he has won nine times, gave the No. 1 Rafa Nadal. Halle was the seventh time that the Swiss lost a final on grass. He previously had been defeated by Nadal (Wimbledon 2008), Lleyton Hewitt (Halle 2010), Tommy Haas (2012), Andy Murray (2012 Olympics), and Novak Djokovic (Wimbledon 2014 and 2015).
Marin Cilic – Fever Tree Championship (London, England)
Saving a match point and turning the adverse marker into his favor, Marin Cilic conquered for the second time the ATP 500 of London in Queen’s Club, defeating Novak Djokovic in three (5-7, 7-6(4) and 6-3).
Djokovic, whose last title, before this final, was in Eastbourne 2017, fell for the second time in the Queen’s final. The first time was in 2008 after Rafael Nadal defeated him in two (7-6(6), 7-5).
Cilic recovered from a match point and an adverse 1-4 in the tie break during the second set: this is his second victory in Queen’s after the one in 2012, when he defeated the Argentine David Nalbandian.
Nikoloz Basilashvili – German Open (Hamburg, Germany)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (81 in the world rankings) was crowned champion in the ATP 500 of Hamburg after defeating in a very disputed encounter Leonardo Mayer (36 in the world rankings).
After two hours and 14 minutes of play, Basilashvili dethroned the defending champion, I took three set (6-4, 0-6, 7-5) to take the victory in hamburg, being this his first ATP title, previously he had won five tournaments of the Challenger category.
Gracias a la victoria en territorio alemán, el georgiano de 26 años ascendió al puesto 35 del ranking.
Thanks to the victory in German territory, the 26-year-old climbed to 35th place in the world rankings.
Alexander Zverev – Citi Open (Washington, United States)
Alexander Zverev prevailed 6-2,6-4 against the Australian Alex de Miñaur to obtain, for second year in a row, the victory in Washington, and maintaining the third place in the world, which was threatened by Juan Martin del Potro, who fell that same weekend to the Italian Fabio Fognini in the final of Los Cabos.
The final between two players of the so-called “NextGen” was the consummation of a milestone in the US tournament, for the first since Buenos Aires 1995, four players under 21 reached the semifinals in an ATP tournament. Zverev and De Miñaur, together with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.
Washington is the third title in 2018 for Zverev, who had to play against his brother Mischa. Also, he became the first tennis player to pass over 40 victories in the year. Matching Roger Federer and Fognini with three titles in this season.
Nikoloz Basilashvili – China Open (Beijing, China)
Nikoloz Basilashvili won his second professional title and the second of ATP 500 by defeating in two (6-4, 6-4) the Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the China Open.
Basilashvili, was ranked 82 in the world, but after Beijing he reached 23rd in the position in the world rankings. “I was in great shape during the tournament. I felt very good on the court. Playing against Juan, even with the flu that markedly affected his performance, was a great challenge, “said the Georgian.
Daniil Medvedev – Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships
The Russian Daniil Medvedev won his first big title at the ATP 500 in Tokyo after defeating the Japanese Kei Nishikori in two (6-2, 6-4).
Medvedev did not give a single set in the tournament, eliminating Argentine Diego Schwartzman, Milos Raonic and Denis Shapovalov.
The next week after his triumph, Medvedev appeared in the ranking 22, the best position of his career, and became the best Russian tennis player in it.
In this way, the 22-year-old Russian lifted the third title of his career and the first ATP 500 category, after winning at Winston-Salem and Sydney this season. In 2017 he reached the final of Chennai.
Kevin Anderson – Erste Bank Open (Vienna, Austria)
The South African Kevin Anderson, finalist of the AMT 2018 and rank eighth in the world, won the title of Vienna by defeating Japanese Kei Nishikori (11 °) in two (6-3, 7-6 (3)), assuring his presence at the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
With 13 aces, Anderson, finalist of Wimbledon this year, added the fifth title of his, secured his participation in the tournament that closes the season and reunites the best eight players in the world.
Nishikori, who had the advantage by 4-2 in previous encounters, could not break the South African’s service, who saved the two break opportunities that the Japanese had during the hour and 55 minutes of match.
Roger Federer – Swiss Indoors (Basel, Switzerland)
Every time Roger plays, he makes history, making new records and extending his legacy. On October 28th, at the Basel Open, the last ATP 500 of the season, Federer was proclaimed champion for the ninth time and reached 99 singles titles throughout his career.
In the match for the title, Federer defeated the Romanian Marius Copil by 7-6 (5) and 6-4, after one hour and 34 minutes of play.
This was the 14th final for Federer in Basel. In this tournament he holds 20 consecutive victories. Its last defeat was in 2013, against the Argentinean Juan Martín del Potro.