Mover of the Week
It’s been a fairly astonishing rise for Marco Cecchinato who began the year with just four match wins to his name, and none at Grand Slam level. But after gaining entrance to the Hungarian Open as a lucky loser, he hasn’t looked back. He won that tournament, breaking into the top 60 as a result, and then went on to reach the French Open semifinals, beating Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
That run saw him break into the top 30 for the first time, and after a respectable run to the semifinals at Eastbourne and a tough opening round loss at Wimbledon to Alex De Minaur, he continued his good form in Umag. Seeded third he received a first round bye, consequently beginning his tournament in the round of 16 against Jiri Vesely, rallying from a set down to beat the Czech 2-6 7-5 7-5. Thereafter he was untroubled.
After brushing aside Laslo Djere 6-4 6-1 and Marco Trungelliti to reach the final, he overcame Guido Pella 7-6 6-2 to lift the title. His reward was another career-high ranking, with the Italian now the world #22. Although the last of the clay court tournaments will soon be upon us, Cecchinato will be guaranteed entry at the North American hard court events for the first time and will be seeded at the US Open. Without the pressure of expectation and few ranking points to defend, he could soon rise higher still.
Loser of the Week
There is clearly a group of young and talented players heading towards the top of the game, and 2017 US Open quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev looks certain to be amongst their number. But setbacks are very much a part of any player’s career, particularly at such a tender age. Rublev has been experiencing his fair share of frustration after the highs of last summer and solid form earlier this year with a back injury sustained in Monte Carlo forcing him to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
He made his return in Umag where he was defending champion and fourth seed. His tournament began well with a fine victory over the talented Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime, with the Russian emerging a 6-4 6-7 6-3 victor. But he found the wily veteran Robin Haase too stern a test in the quarterfinals, with the sixth seeded Dutchman winning through to the last four 6-3 7-6 to bring Rublev’s title defence to a premature end.
The result of his absences from the Tour and the loss of the majority of the points he gained by winning in Umag last year sees him fall a further 11 places to world #46. That leaves him almost certain to be outside the seeds at the US Open unless he can find some form in Toronto and Cincinnati. And whilst his run to the quarterfinals in New York last year also came without a seeding, Rublev would surely have preferred to have had that extra protection.
As clay court tennis winds down, the grass court season ended in Newport where Steve Johnson claimed his second title on grass (Nottingham, 2016) and his fourth overall at Tour-level. The American is proving himself an impressive professional after a sterling college career and climbs back into the top 40 at world #34 as a result of his efforts. A place amongst the seeds at the US Open looks very attainable for the Californian if he can translate his good form from grass court to hard court.
One man who will be sorry to see the back of clay court tennis will be Italy’s Fabio Fognini who won his seventh title on the surface, and second this year, in Bastad. He did it the hard way, battling past two former top tenners in Fernando Verdasco and Richard Gasquet to lift the title, which sees him climb to world #14, just one place down from his career high of 13th. And with a title to defend in Gstaad this week, he may have found his best form at the perfect moment.
- Rafael Nadal, (Esp), 9310 points, no change
- Roger Federer (Swi), 7080 points, no change
- Alexander Zverev (Ger), 5665 points, no change
- Juan Martin del Potro (Arg), 5395 points, no change
- Kevin Anderson (SA), 4655 points, no change
- Grigor Dimitrov (Bul), 4610 points, no change
- Marin Cilic (Cro), 3905 points, no change
- Dominic Thiem (Aut), 3665 points, moves up one place
- John Isner (US), 3490 points, drops down one place
- Novak Djokovic (Ser), 3355 points, no change
- David Goffin (Bel), 3120 points, no change
- Diego Schwartzman (Arg), 2470 points, no change
- Pablo Carreno Busta (Esp), 2200 points, no change
- Fabio Fognini (Ita), 2190 points, moves up one place
- Jack Sock (US), 2075 points, drops down one place
- Kyle Edmund (GB), 1995 points, no change
- Roberto Bautista Agut (Esp), 1940 points, no change
- Nick Kyrgios (Aus), 1935 points, no change
- Lucas Pouille (Fra), 1835 points, no change
- Kei Nishikori (Jpn), 1800 points, no change
Who was your Mover of the Week? Let us know in the comments below!