Dimitrov Wins 1st ATP Title, Haas Victorious in Vienna, Gasquet Hunts for World Tour Finals
Grigor Dimitrov won his first career ATP title in his second ATP finals appearance this year, and he did so in resounding fashion 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 over top seed David Ferrer.
Dimitrov, who is now working with coach Roger Rasheed, played much improved tennis this week after slumping. The Bulgarian youngster rolled past Marius Copil, JL Struff and Kenny De Schepper before winning in 3 sets over Benoit Paire to reach the final. It was a show of adept play on a fast surface.
Ferrer made another final, but drops to 2-5 this year in ATP finals with the loss. The Spaniard won won ugly and did not play up to his usual standard in 3 set wins against Jack Sock and Ernests Gulbis (who came up just short). Ferrer also got a walkover against Fernando Verdasco.
Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer won the doubles title in routine fashion over Robert Lindstedt and Jonas Bjorkman, who returned from retirement to play doubles this week and he played well.
Also a shout out to former top 10 player Joachim Johansson, who had his career derailed by injuries and made a mini comeback this week in Stockholm, where he qualified and reached the second round at the age of 31. His tennis was on par with many current ATP regulars.
Richard Gasquet blitzed his way past a weak field in Moscow and beat qualifier and comeback story Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 for his third title of 2013.
The Frenchman moved to the number 9 spot in the World Tour Finals race, which will in fact be the final spot given that Andy Murray is out of the WTF. Gasquet will still have to maintain that spot. Reeshy beat Evgeny Donskoy in 3 sets and then proceeded to roll over Teymuraz Gabashvili and Ivo Karlovic before the final.
Kukushkin, who has had a great year primarily at the challenger level, Kuskishkin has dealt with injuries that derailed recently, but he looked good to qualify and then reach his second career ATP final. He made the journey with wins over Alex Bogomolov, Alex Dolgopolov and Andrey Golubev, all in straights, and made the final with a 3 set win over Andreas Seppi in the semis.
Also notable here is 17-year-old Russian youngster Karen Khachanov, who upset both Albert Ramos and Janko Tipsarevic to reach the quarterfinals as a wildcard. Khachanov will zoom up the rankings and he is one to watch : Khachanov is actually 3-2 at the ATP level this year, having nabbed a wildcard before losing in the second round of the other Russian event in St. Petersburg.
Tommy Haas showed renewed spark in Vienna in topping Robin Haase 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 for his 15th career ATP title and 2nd of the 2013 campaign.
Haas beat Miloslav Mecir and Radek Stepanek in straights. He outlasted Lukas Rosol in 3 sets to reach the final. All were close matches, but he gritted his way there.
Haase beat Ilja Bozoljac, Vasek Pospisil and Fabio Fognini all in 3 sets, and then dispatched Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straights to reach the final. Tsonga looked flat out hobbled all week in Vienna and it was painful to watch.
Florin Mergea/Lukas Rosol are the doubles champions over Julian Knowle/Daniel Nestor.
Shout out to another young wild card who did well at home this week, the 20 y.o. Dominic Thiem.
Thiem reached his second ATP quarterfinal of 2013 (the other also coming in Austria at the Kitzbuhel tournament).
Thiem moved to 4-2 at the ATP level this year with wins over Daniel Gimeno-Traver and Jaroslav Pospisil. He very nearly beat Tsonga after those victories.
—Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast