No top-seeded player could justify his tournament ranking in the World Tour’s three ATP250 matches in France, Croatia and Ecuador, which concluded on Sunday. In two of these venues, the winner was an over-30 player. At Montpellier, fourth seed Richard Gasquet won his third Open Sud de France title, having previously won in 2006 and 2013. But the Frenchman’s final win came in the most unusual circumstances against Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz, who was forced to retire after just three games of the opening set. At Zagreb, Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez fought hard against Italian Andreas Seppi before coming through in two sets to claim the PBZ Zagreb Indoors. But the most shining match performance came from 34-year old Dominican, Victor Estrella Burgo at Quito. After beating Thomaz Bellucci in the rain-delayed semifinal, Estrella Burgo played with his Portuguese partner Joao Souza in men’s doubles final against Germans Gero Kretschmer and Alexander Satschko. Therefore, he was a tired man, when he came to face Feliciano Lopez in the final on Sunday. But the old warhorse was not found wanting as he summoned every ounce of his remaining energy, before coming through in a 2-hour 17-minute three-set final against the Spaniard.
Fourth seed Richard Gasquet gave the home crowd some cheering moments as he claimed his third title at Open Sud de France at Montpellier on Sunday. Unfortunately, however, Gasquet’s final against Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz lasted just a few minutes as the Pole reported sick after three games. Until then, the Frenchman had won 14 straight points to lead at 3-0, 30/0. When he was no longer able to continue, Janowicz conceded defeat. It was in 2006 that Gasquet had first won the tournament, when the event used to be held in Lyon. He repeated that feat with another victory in 2013 over compatriot Benoit Paire but lost to another countryman Gael Monfils in last year’s final. This year, however, Gasquet avenged that loss with victory over Monfils in the semifinals on Saturday.
At PBZ Zagreb Indoors, the title clash saw two of the hottest players on ATP World Tour in 2015. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez was the ultimate winner but he had to battle hard against the Italian Andreas Seppi in the final on Sunday. The 31-year old Spaniard took an hour and 37 minutes before he could overcome the tenacious Seppi 7-6, 6-3 to earn his first win in five Head-to-Head meetings with the Italian. Garcia-Lopez produced 25 winners and converted two of five break point chances but that doesn’t mean Seppi was outplayed. As a matter of fact, Seppi led 4-1 in the first-set tiebreak and looked like winning, when the turnaround came. The two finalists were locked in a grueling 47-shot rally that didn’t seem to stop. But once Garcia-Lopez prevailed in the long duel, he reeled out six straight points to capture the opening set. In the second set, Seppi earned an early fifth game break and looked like squaring the set score. But Garcia-Lopez broke right back to nullify the advantage. Seppi’s game cracked thereafter as Garcia-Lopez took four consecutive games and sealed the victory.
In the third ATP250 event of the week in the Ecuadorian city of Quito, the title winner played marvelous tennis over the last two days. The 34-year old Victor Estrella Burgo held off the challenge from top seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain as he emerged victorious in three sets that lasted well over two hours. Estrella Burgos not only became the oldest first-time ATP World Tour title winner in Open Era history but he also earned the distinction of being the first player from the Domincan Republic to achieve such a feat. In his nation, Estrella Burgos was recently decorated as the Dominican Sportsman of the Year. Before he could enter the final, Estrella Burgos had to undergo some hard time. First, his semifinal against Thomaz Bellucci was interrupted by rain for four hours and after coming through, he played the men’s doubles finals. In the semifinal against Bellucci, Estrella Burgos had a chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set just as rain spoiled the possible end. The players waited for four hours before the match could resume. Estrella Burgos lost his chance as Bellucci broke on resumption and leveled the score 5-5. But the fighter in Estrella Burgos was not done yet. He broke back immediately and then held his serve to win the match 7-6, 7-5. The victory gave him a chance to try his luck at his first ATP World Tour title. After this match, Estrella Burgos also played the men’s doubles final with his Portuguese partner Joao Souza against Germany’s Gero Kretschmer & Alexander Satschko. In a closely fought match, the German duo of Kretschmer/Satschko prevailed over Estrella Burgos/Souza 7-5, 7-6. In the final, therefore, the Dominican had to draw his last bit of strength but he survived. Estrella Burgos broke Lopez in the opening game and again in the sixth to go up 5-2 before taking the first set easily. In the second set, both players kept holding their serves and the decision rested on the tiebreak. It was the Spaniard, who took the set and the match slipped to the deciding third set. Driven by a zeal to win, Estrella Burgos made a strong start in the third set and broke Lopez in the second game to take a 4-1 lead. But Lopez stormed back into the match by breaking back and forcing another tiebreak. Unlike the second set, Estrella Burgos played better and earned a match point. Lopez, however saved that but soon conceded another match point to the Dominican. This time, Estrella Burgos made no mistake and came through 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 in 2 hours and 17 minutes.
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