Aces and Faults: Underdogs dominate on both ATP and WTA tours
Aces and Faults recaps the week in tennis. Last week, Carla Suarez Navarro won her first WTA title at the Portugal Open, while Carlos Berlocq shocked Tomas Berdych in the final to win the men's event. Martin Klizan became relevant again by ousting the two top seeds to win the BMW Open in Munich.
Carla Suarez Navarro: The WTA has its seventh first-time title winner of the season, with Suarez Navarro finally breaking through in her sixth WTA final and third-straight Portugal Open final to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Coming into the week, the 25-year-old Spaniard was the highest-ranked player without a title and also the most accomplished, having made three Grand Slam quarterfinals in her career. She rallied from 1-4 down in the final set to beat Kuzentsova and will move back up to a career-high No. 14 this week. She also takes over the lead for most match wins in the WTA with 26 this season.
Watch her leaping celebration with her team below:
Martin Klizan: Klizan hasn't done much since 2012, when he made a surprise run to the fourth round of the U.S. Open, won his first ATP title in St. Petersburg and finished the season ranked inside the top 30. Now ranked No. 111, he won eight matches in nine days as a qualifier, including victories over No. 2-seed Tommy Haas in the semifinals and No. 1-seed Fabio Fognini in the final, to win the BMW Open. He became the first qualifier to win an ATP tournament in 11 months, and he jumps 50 spots to No. 61 this week.
Carlos Berlocq: The 31-year-old Argentine was 0-19 against top-10 players before last week, but he scored two big upsets to win his second-career title at the Portugal Open. He defeated No. 9 Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals, and rallied from a bagel set to stun No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the final, winning 0-6, 7-5, 6-1. It was quite the weekend for the underdogs.
Highlights from the final:
Taylor Townsend: Four matches, two titles, one day. What did you do on your Sunday?
Townsend will make her Grand Slam debut at the French Open after securing the USTA wildcard with another strong title run, winning the $50k ITF event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. With rain backing up the schedule, Townsend spent her Sunday playing (and winning) four matches. She saved match points to beat Anett Kontaveit 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the semifinals to secure the wildcard, then came back to defeat Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 6-1 to win her second straight ITF title. She then stayed out there to win two doubles matches to win her second title of the day with Asia Muhammed.
Weewww what a day!!
— Taylor Townsend (@Taylor_Townsen) May 5, 2014
Robby Ginepri: Ginepri earned the USTA wildcard into the French Open and snapped his 11-year Challenger drought to win the Tallahassee Challenger. The 31-year-old ranked No. 442, who has contemplated retiring from the game the last two years, will be competing in the French Open main draw for the first time since 2010.
Svetlana Kuznetsova: The Russian followed up a good week in Stuttgart by making her first clay-court final since 2009, when she won the French Open. Her 6-4, 6-1 win over No. 2-seed Eugenie Bouchard, in which she won 11 of the last 12 games, was her best win of the week.
Jan-Lennard Struff: The 24-year-old German is relatively unknown, but he's now reached two tour-level semifinals this season. He made the semifinals in Marseille with wins over Julien Benneteau and Michael Llodra, and last week, he advanced to the semifinals as a qualifier, with wins over Feliciano Lopez, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Ricardas Berankis.
Tomas Berdych and Fabio Fognini: Berdych was the top seed in Portugal, while Fognini was the top seed in Munich. Both rolled to the final, and faced opponents ranked at least 50 spots below them. Both won the first sets easily but somehow fell off their game, with Berdych losing to Berlocq 6-1 in the third and Fognini losing to Klizan 6-2 in the third.
Sam Stosur: The No. 3 seed in Portugal lost 6-3, 6-0 to Timea Bacsinszky in the first round. That should never happen. Bacsinszky, a qualifier, was playing her first WTA tour event of the season.
16: Consecutive sets won by Caroline Garcia, who is on a 10-match winning streak after successfully qualifying at the Madrid Open and winning her first round match when Anglique Kerber retired down 6-3, 2-0.
5: Consecutive breaks for Berlocq against the Berdych serve to finish the match.
6: Players over 30 who have won ATP titles this season.
162: Ranking spots jumped by Ginepri with his win in Tallahassee.
2: Number of unseeded title winners in the first 25 tournaments of the season going into Sunday. Berlocq and Klizan doubled that to four.
Photo of the week
Photo of the week: Lederhosen edition
Photo of the week: Champagne edition
In case you missed it
• Still reeling at the incredibly sad news that Elena Baltacha lost her battle with liver cancer at just 30 years old after just being diagnosed in January.
• Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Madrid Open. It's the first ATP Masters 1000 he's skipped since 2011 and it's the smart decision. Given the stakes over the next two months, he's better off taking the time to ensure he's 100 percent fit as opposed to chasing points and titles.
• Sloane Stephens and Eugenie Bouchard are now the only players in the top 20 who haven't won a title. They also both confirmed for the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England.
• How much of a lingering effect will that Fed Cup semifinal in Australia have on Team Germany? Andrea Petkovic and Angelique Kerber already lost in the first round of the Madrid Open. Petkovic got a rough draw, losing 7-5, 6-1 to Sara Errani, and Kerber retired down a set and a break to Caroline Garcia with a back injury.
• Here's a Mardy Fish update:
Congrats 2 tennis' Mardy Fish 4 making his 1st pro golf check last week -- t5 on the Golden State Tour. US Open (golf) qualifying next.
— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) May 3, 2014
• How much of a game-changer would it be if Andy Murray hired a female coach? I wouldn't put it past him.
• What a difference first-round byes make: the WTA draw, which offers no first round byes, has a heaping bushel of fantastic early round matches. The ATP? Well...wake me up when we get to the quarterfinals. • It's a bummer to see Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Hampton, two women who had breakout runs on the clay last season, sidelined with injury this year.