In last week’s ATP action, Stan Wawrinka clinched the title in Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships by defeating Cyprus’ old hand Marcos Baghdatis; Dominic Thiem of Austria won his first hard-court title by defeating Australia’s Bernard Tomic in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco while at Sao Paulo, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas successfully defended his Brasil Open with a victory over Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta. However, without playing tennis, Roger Federer still grabbed the limelight in on Saturday and Sunday. After attending Harvey Weinstein’s star-studded pre-Oscars party at Beverly Hills on Saturday, the Swiss legend, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova formed a glamorous tennis trio on Hollywood’s biggest night on Sunday. The 17-time grand slam champion appeared on the red carpet at 88th Academy Awards and downed a shot of tequila with the same elegance, with which he plays his tennis shots.
While Roger Federer mixed with the world’s most celebrated stars, his compatriot Stan Wawrinka won the title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Wawrinka hasn’t lost in a final match since Nicolas Mahut defeated the Swiss in the final of 2013 Hertogenbosch Open. Since then, Wawrinka has won all nine finals that he entered. Wawrinka’s Dubai campaign began on a dangerous note as he faced a first-round exit after coming to within two points of losing to Sergiy Stakhovsky. But he survived and reached the final without any more scare. In the final on Sunday, Wawrinka defeated Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 7-6 in a little under 2 hours. But it was Baghdatis, who began by breaking Wawrinka for a 3-2 lead in the first set. However, the Swiss broke right back and broke the Cypriot once more at 4-5 to clinch the first set. The second set went to tiebreak and didn’t have any service breaks. After Wawrinka led 4-1, Baghdatis fought back and held 5 set points against the Swiss at 5-6, 7-8, 8-9, 9-10 and 11-12 before Wawrinka won the match on his third match point.
In Sao Paulo’s Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Austrian Dominic Thiem fought hard against Australian Bernard Tomic to win his fifth career ATP World Tour title in three sets. Both upcoming stars were equally matched in the first set. Thiem broke first to lead 3-1 but Tomic broke twice to serve at 5-4. At this point, Thiem took advantage of Tomic’s poor service and leveled the scores. Tiebreak ensued soon and Thiem took it. But the Australian took the second by breaking early and forced the decider. The two players traded breaks to start the third set after which Thiem reeled off 6 out of the next 8 games to finish the winner at 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.
At Sao Paulo, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas successfully defended his Brasil Open title with a 7-6, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in the final. It was a back-to-back title win for Cuevas, who had taken the Rio Open title last week. The first set went to tiebreak and Cuevas won it after being down a set point. The second set was full of long rallies and the Uruguayan took advantage of crunch-time unforced errors by Carreno Busta and walked away with a straight sets victory. In the entire match, Cuevas dropped his serve just once and converted 3 out of 5 break opportunities that came his way. With that win, Cuevas has taken his 2016 winning streak to nine matches.
While Wawrinka, Thiem and Cuevas excelled in court action in Dubai and South America, Roger Federer stole the show elsewhere without hitting a tennis ball. The Swiss Maestro stepped out on red carpet at the 88th Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and later spent time with this year’s Oscar winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams, Eddie Redmayne, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and former World No. 1 John McEnroe. Joined by Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, the tuxedo-clad Federer stole the show among Hollywood’s top stars and the who’s who of the glamour world. The tennis trio lit up the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Federer, who had an arthroscopic knee-surgery on February 3, returned to practicing on court last week. The Swiss is skipping the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells but will resume competitive tennis beginning with Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
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