Nishikori Makes History with 3rd Consecutive Memphis Title
Kei Nishikori did it the hard way this week in Memphis, three times coming back from a set down, and in the final defeating Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 for his third consecutive Memphis Open title.
“Today’s match was much different than [the past] couple of matches,” said Nishikori, the first player to win the Memphis title in three consecutive years since the tournament’s inception in 1975. “I played really solid from the baseline and returned really well.”
It was the first title of the year for the world No. 5. Tommy Haas, Todd Martin and Jimmy Connors all took home Memphis titles two years in two consecutive years, but Nishikori did it three times in a row in only four tournament appearances.
Anderson fell to 2-7 in career finals.
“Being in that stage a few times now in the finals, obviously you want to take it a little bit further, but it wasn’t there,” he Anderson, who dropped 12 aces on Nishikori in two sets. “I have a couple of other tournaments coming up now, so I can’t afford to dwell on this.”
Wawrinka Keeps Down Berdych for Rotterdam Title
Stan Wawrinka made it six in a row over a frustrated Tomas Berdych, coming from a set down to cancel the Czech 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 for the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title in Rotterdam.
“It wasn’t easy, but every match I found my way,” Wawrinka said. “It was a great final. Tomas was playing really well, but I’m happy to turn that match for me and win the title. It’s my first [ATP World Tour] 500 title and winning indoors is something special for me personally.”
It was the ninth career title for the Swiss and his second of 2015 after Chennai. The loss dropped Berdych to 10-16 in career finals, and denied him another opportunity to successfully defend a title for the first time.
Wawrinka went up 4-1 in the third, giving back a break before closing it out.
“I’m disappointed with the way the match finished,” Berdych said. “There can only be one winner. I had my chances in the beginning of the second set and I didn’t make them so I think that cost me the match.”
Cuevas Vanquishes Vanni for Brasil Open Crown
Pablo Cuevas kept it a perfect 3-0 in career finals, on Sunday turning back qualifier Luca Vanni 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) for the Brasil Open title.
“We were both very nervous,” said Cuevas, who last year won his first titles at the Swedish Open and at Umag. “I think it was the first time I played a final as the favorite. In front of me I had someone that was playing with a lot of confidence and with a great serve.”
In the third set Vanni broke for a 5-4 lead but could not close the door as Cuevas brought it to a tiebreak and came from a mini-break down to claim the championship.
“I’m so happy,” said Vanni, who had never won an ATP-level match prior to the tournament. “He put every ball inside the court. I took some risks, which can be good sometimes and sometimes not. But I have to be satisfied after this week.”
Eight Match Points Later, Petkovic Handed Antwerp Title
No. 3 seed Andrea Petkovic received a walkover in the final against No. 5-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, who suffered a neck injury, gifted the German the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games crown in Antwerp.
“Right before we went on court I was warming up and they told me the news,” Petkovic said. “At first I was very shocked because I didn’t know anything about her physical pain and the blockage. But secondly I was sad. I really like Carla — she’s a great person and always friendly and positive, and she has a tremendous amount of talent.”
Petkovic improved to 6-5 in career finals, taking home her first win in 2015.
“I woke up in the morning and just felt this pain in my neck,” Suarez Navarro said. “I went to the physio to get treatment and tried to play at 11:30, then had physio again and tried to play again at 2:15, and I just couldn’t serve.”
In the second round Petkovic saved eight match points in a 6-7(7), 7-6(5), 6-2 win over unheralded Belgian wildcard Alison Van Uytvanck. Petkovic is projected to rise into the Top 10 on the Monday WTA Rankings.
Hantuchova Denies Tomljanovic in WTA Pattaya City
Veteran Slovak Daniela Hantuchova won her first title since 2013 on Sunday, outlasting Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 for her third PTT Thailand Open.
The 31-year-old Hantuchova, who saved two match points in the semifinals, was up a break in the third but fought off a comeback to close out the final set 6-4, with the match lasting two hours and seven minutes.
“I had to really fight for it — at the end I felt maybe I was a little fresher and sharper, and that decided the match,” said Hantuchova, ranked No. 73 entering the event. “But Ajla has a great future ahead of her. She’s also a very nice girl. It’s nice to have somebody like her in the game.”
The former world No. 5 improved to 7-9 in career finals. The 21-year-old Tomljanovic was appearing in her first career final.
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