Mover of the Week
There were some excellent performances at Roland Garros, but surely the most surprising of all of them was Marco Cecchinato’s. The Italian’s only previous claim to notoriety was a rather shady involvement in a match-fixing scandal. But the 25-year-old went some way to putting that unfortunate incident behind him with a magical run at the French Open, despite having arrived in Paris without a match win at Slam-level.
His run began with a hard-won victory against Marius Copil, with Cecchinato recovering from a two-set deficit before winning the decider 10-8. He followed that by overcoming Marco Trungelliti in straight sets to earn a shot at Pablo Carreno Busta, the tenth seed. Cecchinato overcame him in four, despite dropping the first. Then he recorded an even more impressive victory by ousting David Goffin, the eight seed to reach the quarterfinals.
There was yet more to come from Cecchinato as he defeated 2016 champion and former world #1 Novak Djokovic 6-3 7-6 1-6 7-6 in the last eight. Dominic Thiem would deny him the chance to reach the final, winning their semifinal 7-6 7-6 6-1, but Cecchinato gave a good account of himself in defeat. His ranking also soared as a result of his efforts, and Cecchinato broke into the top 30 at world #27, an increase of 45 places from his previous ranking of #72.
Loser of the Week
It was not such a good tournament for former champion Stan Wawrinka. The three-time Grand Slam champion arrived in Paris knowing that his ranking was on the precipice of an almighty tumble, with the points he earned in reaching the final last year the only thing keeping him inside the top 100. But Wawrinka still looks someway short of fully recovered from the serious knee injury that last year required surgery and his severely curtailed his participation on Tour for almost a year now.
Thus when he was handed the tough draw of Guillermo Garcia Lopez, who beat him in the first round in Paris in 2014, fans of the Swiss were right to be concerned. The Spaniard won a five-set battle, despite having been down by two sets to one. As a result, his ranking fell by 233 places to world #263 after the conclusion of the French Open. Wildcards should not be in short supply for the one-time world #3, but he will want to get his ranking back moving in the right direction sooner rather than later.
His ranking may not have moved after winning an 11th Roland Garros crown, but that was exactly the outcome Rafael Nadal was looking for. The Spaniard knew he had to defend his title to retain the #1 ranking, and that he would do so never really looked in doubt. He dropped only one set, to Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals, and his straight sets victories over Juan Martin del Potro in the semi and Dominic Thiem in the final demonstrated his unchallengeable superiority on clay courts.
Despite not being able to get close to Nadal in their semifinal, it was a good tournament for Juan Martin del Potro, who returns to the top four. The Argentine has now made the semifinals at two of the last three Grand Slams he has played. The two losses he has taken to Nadal in those semifinals illustrate that there is still a gap between him and the players winning Slams. His recent form also suggests that he is narrowing that gap, but, as ever, questions about his body’s reliability remain.
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