Lucky 7th seed. This week, Lesya Tsurenko became a two-time champion of the tournament in Acapulco and brought the total number of WTA titles to four. In addition, Lesya continued her flawless play in the decisive matches: four finals – four wins. Any tennis player will envy such statistics! True, for the second consecutive title in Mexico, it was extremely difficult for a Ukrainian woman. She won only at the end of the third hour of the game, while even in the first game Tsurenko was experiencing breathing problems and called a doctor.
Svitolina defended her title in Dubai, Tsurenko – in Acapulco
The Women’s Tournament in Acapulco has existed since 2001. As you know, winning the title is difficult, but it is even more difficult to defend it. However, in Mexico, Venus Williams, Sarah Errani, and now Lesa Tsurenko also succeeded. Interestingly, Elina Svitolina did the same in Dubai last week. Elina won the WTA tournaments for the 11th time. At that time, all Ukrainian women had the same number of trophies combined (two for Alena and Katerina Bondarenko, three for Tsurenko, four for Natalia Medvedeva). Now these statistics are outdated, and Les has caught up with Medvedeva and shares with her the second place in the list of the most titled tennis players in Ukraine.
It is curious to note that Les, like a year ago, received the seventh seed in Mexico. In 2017, Tsurenko simply swept all the rivals off the court and gave up only 19 games in five matches (however, in two meetings, the opponents were filmed during the match). Everyone wants to win faster, but this is especially important in Acapulco. It’s hot and stuffy in Mexico this time of year. The organizers already start the game day unusually late – at 15:00 local time, but tennis players still have a hard time.
Vögele reached the final on the ninth attempt
This year Tsurenko also did not postpone the matter indefinitely. The first four victories were given to her very easily: in none of the eight games did the opponent take even five games in a set. Including the Ukrainian defeated Christina Mladenovic, whom she won in the final a year ago. This time, in the decisive match, she was opposed by Stefanie Voegele. Few expected the Swiss in the final, but she used a rather comfortable net. Yes, in the quarterfinals Stefanie had to play with the first seeded Sloane Stevens, but after the victorious US Open she lost eight meetings in a row!
In Acapulco, Sloane won two matches, but then lost to Vögele in three sets. And in the semifinals, the Swiss defeated the qualifier Rebecca Peterson and for the first time reached the final of the WTA tournament (before that, she was eight times in a row behind a step before him). In the decisive meeting, Lesya was considered a clear favorite and at first she justified this status. However, then something began to bother the Ukrainian woman. It seemed that she was out of breath. The doctor who came out felt her back and abdominal muscles, after which Tsurenko began to move normally again.
“The final became a psychological battle”
True, Lesya smeared the ending of the set. She allowed nine doubles in this game, including four in a row in the 12th game. When Voegele led 4: 2 in the second set, it seemed that defending the title would still fail. Stefanie acted excellently in defense, moved around the court much better than her rival, and Les looked a little constrained. She had the feeling that something was preventing her from playing her strength. Nevertheless, Tsurenko showed character. She took three games in a row, could not serve for the set, but easily won the tie-break.
In the third set, Voegele took a medical time-out. Tsurenko increased her activity, and Stefanie began to make more mistakes. It seemed that she had no energy left for the decisive game. However, at 0: 3, she won back five break points and then came close to her opponent, but still Les did not miss her – 5: 7, 7: 6 (7: 2), 6: 2. The match was so long and difficult that Tsurenko didn’t even really smile right after winning the title.
“The game has become a real psychological battle. At the start, I was very tight. Nothing really worked, primarily the serve, which is my favorite shot. I told myself that I should relax and just fight to the end “, – said the champion after the match.
Del Potro’s main title in 4.5 years
Acapulco hosted the men’s tournament, which had the prestigious ATP-500 category. The first seeded was Rafael Nadal, but the Spaniard still has a leg problem. Recall that Nadal did not go to court with the Australian Open, where he starred in the fifth game of the match with Marina Cilic. Then Rafael seemed to have recovered and even took 5th place in a golf tournament, but he is not yet ready for real tennis loads. It is already known that Nadal will not play either in Indian Wells or in Miami.
However, there were already enough stars in Mexico. The bottom half of the grid turned out to be the most interesting, in which Alexander Zverev, Dominic Tim and Juan Martin del Potro got. The Argentinian won both of them confidently and reached the final. There, his rival was Kevin Anderson. If del Potro had to beat Misha Zverev, David Ferrer and two top-6 players in the world ranking, then Anderson did not meet any of the top twenty.
Kevin, who won in New York in mid-February, hoped to win a second title in a row, but in the finals he is very unsuccessful: only four wins in 15 matches. And del Potro is one of the most unpleasant rivals among all: 0-6 in personal meetings. Both have a powerful serve, both have a wonderful right hand, but in both elements del Potro is a little stronger, and Anderson has nothing to cover. As a result, Juan Martin won quite calmly 6: 4, 6: 4 and won the 21st title of his career. He’s also the biggest since 2013, when the Argentine won Basel.
Bautista-Agut took advantage of the weak grid in Dubai
Another tournament of the “500” category was held in Dubai, but there the roster was quite modest. When Grigor Dimitrov sensationally lost to Malek Zhaziri in the first round, there were no top 15 players at all. All the rest got an excellent opportunity to prove themselves and earn big points, while avoiding encounters with formidable rivals. Undoubtedly, the Dubai “five hundred” is one of the weakest in the calendar.
The same Zhaziri, who reached the semifinals of the ATP tournament for the third time, managed to take advantage of his chance. True, it was not possible to cope with Roberto Bautista-Agut. It is curious that the Spaniard won three matches out of five with the same score 6: 3, 6: 4. These are the numbers that burned on the scoreboard after the final with Luc Pouillet. For Bautista-Agut, this is the eighth title in his career and the first at this level.
The third men’s competition takes place in Brazil. There are mainly fans of slow soil. The first seeded Albert Ramos-Vignolas in the decisive tie-break lost in the second round to Nicholas Yarri. It was the Chilean who eventually reached the final, in which he will meet with Fabio Fognini on Sunday. And everyone else is already preparing for the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells. The first tournament of this category in the current season starts in the middle of next week.