Aces and Faults: John Isner kicks off busy U.S. Open prep with Atlanta title
Aces and Faults recaps the week in tennis. Last week, John Isner continued to enjoy home cooking and teenager Elina Svitolina reached a milestone.
John Isner: Another week on home soil, another title for Isner. The former University of Georgia standout defended his title at the Atlanta Open with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Dudi Sela on Sunday. Isner has won seven of his nine titles at U.S. tournaments, with the only exceptions being two titles in Auckland, New Zealand. The successful week launches a busy summer hard-court season for Isner, who is scheduled to play every week through the U.S. Open. He'll be in Washington, D.C., for the Citi Open this week.
Elina Svitolina: The 19-year-old defended her title at the Baku Cup to become the first teenager to win multiple titles since Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won two in 2010 and a third in '11. Svitolina lost just one set all week and defeated Bojana Jovanovski 6-1, 7-6 (2) in the final. The title kept the Ukrainian in the top 40, at No. 38, the second-ranked teenager behind No. 27 Madison Keys. She's happy.
Pablo Cuevas: Two weeks after winning his first title, Cuevas has won his second. The 28-year-old qualifier from Uruguay beat top-seeded Fabio Fognini in the semifinals and second-seeded Tommy Robredo in the final on the same day after rain washed out play on Saturday at the Croatia Open. Cuevas, riding a 13-match winning streak that includes a title at the Swedish Open, is up to a career-high No. 40 after starting the month at No. 111. He joins Martin Klizan (BMW Open) as the only qualifiers to win ATP titles this year.
Pablo Andujar: The 28-year-old Spaniard broke a two-year title drought by rallying from 3-5 down in the second set to overcome Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-5 at the Swiss Open. The victory enabled Andujar to jump 27 spots, to No. 44, giving Spain 10 players in the top 50.
David Goffin: The Belgian is on a 30-set, 15-match winning streak on the ATP Challenger circuit, where he's won three consecutive titles over the last three weeks to raise his ranking to No. 78, his highest position since last September. Goffin, 23, peaked at No. 42 in 2012.
Simone Bolelli: The 28-year-old Italian has also won 15 Challenger matches in a row, a streak that began in April and continued with last week's title in Germany. Bolelli, ranked 89th, is 23-2 at that level this year.
Jack Sock: Sock, 21, has returned from Wimbledon with a spring in his step. He's made back-to-back ATP semifinals, first in Newport, R.I., and last week in Atlanta, and as a result he has moved up to a career-high No. 60. And his doubles pairing with Vasek Pospisil continues to pay immediate dividends. After winning Wimbledon in their debut, Sock and Pospisil edged Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson 6-3, 5-7, 10-5 in the Atlanta final.
Peng Shuai: The 28-year-old won a 125K Series event in Nanchang, China, the biggest singles title of her career. She is 0-6 in the finals of full-field tournaments.
Juan Monaco: Monaco, 30, made the final the Swiss Open final in the same week that he fell out of the top 100 for the first time in eight years. The much-needed run elevated him to No. 81.
Borna Coric: The 17-year-old Croatian wild card earned his first two ATP-level wins with victories over No. 46 Edouard Roger-Vasselin and No. 117 Horacio Zeballos to reach the quarterfinals of his home tournament in Umag. The 2013 U.S. Open boys' champion finished last year as the second-ranked junior, behind 17-year-old Alexander Zverev, who advanced to the semifinals at his hometown Hamburg Open two weeks ago. Both youngsters have already cracked the top 200.
Dudi Sela: Fantastic run to the Atlanta final for the Tel Aviv resident, who was playing under very difficult circumstances. That said ...
Dudi Sela: Did he really admit to taking a medical timeout during the quarterfinals to clear his mind?
Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils: Their late withdrawals didn't sit well with Atlanta tournament director Eddie Gonzalez. Gasquet notified the tournament two days before the start and Monfils pulled out on the first day of the ATP 250 event.
Atlanta qualifying: Because of a rash of late withdrawals, the final day of qualifying saw every loser make the main draw except one.
In case you missed it ...
• Taylor Townsend had to play doubles all alone during a World TeamTennis match when her partner, Liezel Huber, suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by an errant shot from Townsend.
• Nick Kyrgios got bored one night and ended up making some new friends. Pretty cool.
• Thiemo de Bakker retired against Steven Diez in the final round of qualifying in Atlanta. De Bakker earned a main-draw spot as a lucky loser, though. Who did he draw in the first round? Diez. De Bakker won the rematch and upset No. 17 Kevin Anderson in the second round.
“A lot of people tell me I play possum out there, and I may do that. But I’m not breaking the rules by any means. I’m lollygagging around between points but when we start the point I’m ready. A lot of times when I’m super tired I’ve played some of my best tennis because at that point I don’t have enough energy to run side to side. There’s only one option, and that’s to just go for it.”
• The Washington Kastles won their fourth straight World TeamTennis title.
• In his first tournament since serving a 12-man doping ban, Viktor Troicki made good use of his Swiss Open wild card to beat Dominic Thiem and Andrey Golubev to reach the quarterfinals. Those two victories boosted his ranking to No. 625 from No. 847. He's playing a Challenger tournament in Italy this week.
• Serena Williams and Martha Stewart? Serena Williams and Martha Stewart.