Aces and Faults: Pliskova wins Prague Open; Murray gets maiden clay title
Aces and Faults recaps the week in tennis. Last week, Andy Murray won his maiden clay court title, Roger Federer grabbed a title at the inaugural Istanbul Open and Karolina Pliskova won her first title of the season.
Andy Murray: The Brit finally won his first clay court title, overcoming the tough weather conditions and opposition to win the Munich Open. Not only did he have to play his quarterfinal and semifinal on the same day, but the final also got rained out on Sunday. Despite the setbacks, he bounced back to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 7–6(4), 5–7, 7–6(4) in Monday's final. The win is his first title of the season.
And to top it all off, he gave the tennis community a new go-to on-court insult when he got into it with Lukas Rosol in the quarterfinals after the Czech bumped him on a changeover: "No one likes you on the tour. Everyone hates you."
Roger Federer: It was a surprisingly tricky week for Federer in Istanbul. He needed back-to-back three setters against two players outside the Top 60 to advance to the final, where he played his best match of the week to beat Pablo Cuevas 6–3, 7–6(11) to win the inaugural Istanbul Open. The win was his third title of the season and 85th overall. No doubt Federer earned a substantial appearance fee just for showing up in Istanbul, but it's great to see him willing to bring his game to a new region of fans. He's now won titles in 19 different countries.
Karolina Pliskova: It was all about the Czechs at the Prague Open—three of the four semifinalists were Czech—but it was top-seeded Pliskova who held off her compatriot Lucie Hradecka to win her first title of the season and fourth overall. That's a nice homecoming for Pliskova, who was the best of all the Czechs in the first four months of the season.
Richard Gasquet: Sidelined with a back injury since Indian Wells, the Frenchman made his competitive return at the Estoril Open and ran away with the title. Gasquet lost just one set all week and beat Nick Kyrgios 6–3, 6–2 in the final.
Elina Svitolina: The Ukrainian won her first title of the season and third overall, beating Timea Babos 7–6, 7–5 to win the Marrakech Open. She's now up to a career-high No. 21.
Frances Tiafoe: The 17-year-old advanced to his first ATP Challenger final in Tallahassee, which secured him the USTA wildcard for the French Open. The upshot? The recent Roc-Nation signee will make his Grand Slam main draw debut later this month at Roland Garros.
Nick Kyrgios: Who would have thought Kyrgios' first ATP final would be on clay? He's up to a career-high No. 35 and could be seeded at the French Open after a week in Estoril that saw him beat Albert Ramos, Filip Krajinovic, Robin Haase and Pablo Carreno Busta to make the final.
Here's a Kyrgios hot shot from Estoril:
Garbine Muguruza: The Spaniard has really struggled since February. She has not won back-to-back matches in her last six tournaments, after she tumbled out as the top seed in Marrakech last week and lost in the second round of Madrid on Monday. Currently at No. 20, she has a French Open quarterfinal points to defend in a few weeks.
Photo of the week
Nice lederhosen, Andy:
Video of the week
Frances Tiafoe throws up HOVA hands after advancing to the Tallahassee final:
In case you missed it
- Should Kyrgios have even been in the Estoril final? Based on this AAP report, it sounds like he should have lost his first round match because of a game penalty for multiple code violations.
- You can expect to see this GIF more than once in the months to come:
- Wonderful news: The USTA will name the media center at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center after Bud Collins.
- Congratulations are in order for Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker:
- This whole exchange between Murray, Decker, and Roddick was the best thing I saw on Saturday:
- Not only was this Murray's first clay title, it was his first clay final of his career.
- Consider this: Combined titles won by Eugenie Bouchard, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza, Caroline Garcia, Belinda Bencic, Camila Giorgi, Donna Vekic, Laura Robson and Taylor Townsend: Five. Combined titles won by Pliskova and Svitolina: Seven. They may not grab the headlines, but they know how to win.
- I'm Kyrgios to see if Nick can be a factor on clay. (Sorry, I had to.)