Report Card: Grigor Dimitrov becomes ATP's latest first-time winner
The Report Card hands out grades for the week in tennis. Last week, Grigor Dimitrov bagged his first title, Simona Halep picked up yet another one and Richard Gasquet moved into position to quality for the ATP World Tour Finals.
Grigor Dimitrov: A-plus. The 22-year-old Bulgarian finally broke through to win his first ATP title, rallying to defeat third-ranked David Ferrer 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the Stockholm Open final. Dimitrov, who began working with new coach Roger Rasheed last week, became the ATP's eighth first-time winner of 2013. He also collected his second victory against a top-five player this year, after upsetting then-No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open in May. Dimitrov is up to a career-high No. 22 this week after beginning the year at No. 48.
Tommy Haas: A. With his 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory against Robin Haase in the Erste Bank Open, the 35-year-old Haas became the oldest player to win two titles in a season since 37-year-old Jimmy Connors in 1989. Haas is 12 years removed from his other title at the Vienna, Austria, tournament; in 2001, he defeated the likes of Thomas Enqvist and Guillermo Canas. He was ranked 16th then and 12th now.
Caroline Wozniacki: A. Better late than never. In her final regular-season tournament, Wozniacki won her first title of the year and 21st overall. Her run at the Luxembourg Open included victories over Bojana Jovanovski (who beat Wozniacki in the second round of the French Open), Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki and 19-year-old Annika Beck in the final. The 23-year-old Dane clinched her spot as the No. 1 alternate at this week's WTA Championships and qualified for next week's Tournament of Champions. She should finish the season in the top 10.
Richard Gasquet: A. After crashing out of the Shanghai Masters in the first round two weeks ago, Gasquet bolstered his chances to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals by winning the Kremlin Cup. The 27-year-old Frenchman didn't have to beat a player ranked higher than 84th, including No. 102 Mikhail Kukushkin in a three-set final. Still, Gasquet passed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for ninth in the Race to London, which is where he needs to be to make the field for the first time since 2007. Gasquet also matched his career high with his third title of the year.
Simona Halep: A-plus. Halep solidified her status as the WTA breakout player of the year by winning her fifth title in 2013, defeating Sam Stosur 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the Kremlin Cup final. Only Serena Williams (10) has won more titles this year than the 22-year-old Romanian, who entered the season 0-3 in finals. The Romanian has risen to a career-high No. 14 after starting the season at No. 47, and she'll have an opportunity to move even higher if she competes at the Tournament of Champions next week.
Sam Stosur: B-plus. Stosur capped her disappointing 2013 season by making her second final in a row and recording four consecutive victories against top-30 players, including Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The runner-up finish followed last week's title at the Japan Open, giving Stosur some encouraging results in the wake of her split with longtime coach David Taylor.
Karen Khachanov: A. The Russian, ranked No. 808 heading into the Kremlin Cup, became the first 17-year-old to make an ATP quarterfinal since Kei Nishikori. He defeated No. 72 Albert Ramos and No. 27 Janko Tipsarevic before losing to No. 86 Ivo Karlovic, who is twice his age. It's always nice to have a new name to monitor.
Ernests Gulbis: B. Gulbis didn't have a bad week in Stockholm, where he fought through three-setters against Jeremy Chardy and Jerzy Janowicz before losing to Ferrer 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals. He certainly had a tempestuous week, too. I don't know what the final tally was, but he destroyed at least three rackets.
Milos Raonic: C-minus. With an outside shot of qualifying for the World Tour Finals, Raonic took a late wild card into Stockholm only to lose to Benoit Paire 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the quarterfinals. Raonic then withdrew from the Swiss Indoors, citing personal reasons. With Gasquet's title in Moscow, the 22-year-old Canadian's chances of getting to London are now very slim. Raonic trails Gasquet by 350 points.
Sloane Stephens: B-minus. It was a mixed week for Stephens, who secured her spot as the second alternate to the WTA Championships but lost for the second week in a row to Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele, this time 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the Luxembourg quarterfinals. Unless she gets some action at the Championships, the 11th-ranked Stephens won't hit her goal of cracking the top 10 this year. Still, it's been a strong season for the 20-year-old American.
Robin Haase: A. The Dutchman, 26, made his second ATP final of the year after wins over the top-seeded Tsonga, third-seeded Fabio Fognini and seventh-seeded Vasek Pospisil in Vienna.
Mikhail Kukushkin: A-minus. The 25-year-old from Kazakhstan won three matches to qualify for the Kremlin Cup and four more to reach the final, where he took the first set before losing to Gasquet 6-4, 4-6, 4-6. Kukushkin climbed 35 spots, to No. 67, after advancing to his first final since 2010. Joachim Johansson: A. The 31-year-old Swede, who peaked at No. 9 in 2005, took a wild card into qualifying at the Stockholm Open. Playing his first ATP-level tournament since 2009, Johansson made the main draw without losing a set and beat No. 112 Alejandro Falla 6-1, 6-3 in the first round. Not bad, Pim Pim. Not bad.