Mover of the Week
With two unheralded players winning titles this week, this was a hard call. But ultimately, Mirza Basic gets the nod for coming from even further back. The Bosnian #2 had never even been inside top 100 before his run in Sofia and had played mostly at Challenger level. But after taking his opportunity to come through the qualifiers, he was superb in the main draw. After Stakhovsky withdrew in the first round he crushed the wily German veteran Florian Mayer 6-4 6-1.
He then defeated fourth seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5 7-6 and accounted for his third straight German by getting past Maximilian Marterer in three sets. Then came his most impressive performance of the tournament. Basic came up against Stan Wawrinka, the three-time Major champion and former world #3. Of course, the Swiss star is making his way back from knee surgery, but he had looked in good fettle in Bulgaria. But Basic got by him, winning the first set in a tiebreak before recovering from a break down in the second to reach his first career final.
Basic then defeated fellow first-time finalist Marius Copil in a tight three-setter to lift his first ever career title. Basic’s reward in the rankings was a big jump, he climbed 52 places to world #77 a career high. The key for him now will be finding a way to build on his newfound position and take advantage of the increased opportunities a top 100 player has. Will he be able to? Well, only time will tell.
Loser of the Week
It was fourth-time unlucky for Victor Estrella Burgos. He became the first-ever Dominican to break into the top 100 in 2014 and then the first-ever Dominican to win a Tour-level title when he won in Quito in 2015. He repeated the trick in Ecuador in 2016 and 2017 to become the three-time champion. Indeed, he had won every event held in Quito going into this year. But at some point that run had to stop and it was this year that Burgos was finally undone.
He navigated a tricky first round clash with Thomaz Bellucci well, defeating the Brazilian in three sets after dropping the first. But he couldn’t get by Gerard Melzer, younger brother of former French Open semifinalist Jurgen. It was doubtless a disappointment to Burgos to lose out, but he can, of course, look back at an incredibly impressive history of success in Ecuador.
Unfortunately for Burgos, the loss of the title he had held since 2015 also brought a loss of ranking points. Burgos’ long stay in the top 100 came to an end at the beginning of this week as he fell 53 places to world #139. Burgos has shown himself to be a fine clay courter, particularly over the later years of his career. He will be hopeful of working his way back into top 100 contention over the coming Golden Swing and the European clay court season. But his advancing years could count against him.
As mentioned above, Mirza Basic wasn’t the only first-time titlist this week. Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain also picked up a maiden Tour crown by defeating Albert Ramos Vinolas in Quito. The 24-year-old was impressive throughout the week in Ecuador and will be looking ahead to the coming Golden Swing with confidence. If he can continue his good form further rises up the rankings are not out of the question, but for now he will have to make do with a 31 spot rise to world #76, a new career high.
Romania’s Marius Copil who fell in the final to Basic after a tough three-set battle also earned a rise in the rankings. Copil broke into the top 100 for the first time last year in Madrid and has played some good tennis over the last eighteen months. He didn’t quite manage Basic’s 52-spot rise, but his nineteen place jump was respectable. It returned him to the top 100 at a career high ranking of world #74, and he will now be aiming to build on that as he enters the prime years of his career.
Who was your Mover of the Week? Let us know in the comments below!