Budapest, Delray Beach, Dubai, Marseille, Rio de Janeiro 2017
Timea Babos took home her 2nd WTA singles title in Budapest last week. The Hungarian player defeated former World no. 5 Lucie Safarova from Czech Republic in a thrilling 3 set match. Babos came to Budapest without a win in the main draw this season but the expectations set by the home crowd were high. The no. 1 seed Babos handled the pressure very well. It was a close match with Safarova winning the first set in the tiebreak. Babos turned it around to her advantage when she broke Safarova in the 2nd set and eventually went on to win it to level the match. In the 3rd, Babos broke in the opening game. Safarova tried to comeback with a break of her own when Babos was serving for the match. But Babos wouldn't give up, she held her nerve and broke Safarova to claim the 3rd set 6:3. Babos immediately dropped her racket overwhelmed with emotion. "I'm really, really happy," she said after the match. "It's an unbelievable feeling and an incredible moment for my career that I could play against Lucie. She's an amazing player and it was a big fight and it's unbelievable that I could come out with a win in front of my home crowd."
The Hungarian won her first title in 5 years. Former World no. 1 Monica Seles presented the trophy. ’’That's another honour and incredible to hear that. It was the first time I got to talk to her and hear her speaking Hungarian. That was amazing, and all these combinations happened today.” said Babos.
The blockbuster final in Delray Beach between Jack Sock and Milos Raonic was cancelled due to Raonic’s withdrawal. The Canadian had suffered a hamstring injury and couldn't come out to play. Sock was automatically awarded the title. The American took home his 3rd career title and the second of the season.
“It’s very unfortunate for him and I hope he has a speedy recovery. We’ve had a lot of good battles and I was looking forward to the challenge. I’d be a little more excited and full of energy if I had gone out and won it on court, but on the flip side, a title is a title,” said Sock.
“It’s disappointing in a lot of ways,” said Raonic. “I’ve been unfortunate with injuries and have been doing everything I can to prevent them. It’s been three tournaments in a row where I’ve sustained some sort of muscle damage. And it’s disappointing for the sole fact that you’re one match away from a title. It’s not easy to accept."
Elina Svitolina was crowned champion in this year’s edition of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. This is the biggest title of her career. Svitolina defeated Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets 6:4 6:2. She needed just one hour and 10 minutes to claim her 2nd tournament victory of 2017.
’’It’s very special for me [to win such a big tournament]. I've played very amazing tennis this week and I'm happy it happened in Dubai. It's the first trophy for me at such a big tournament, so it's very special for me.” Svitolina commented in her post match interview. With the title Svitolina rises to her career highest ranking no. 10 for first time in her career. "I've dreamed for all my life to be in Top 10. It's a very amazing feeling to enter Top 10, and do it by winning the tournament! I'm very excited for the season and very excited I could win this tournament."
Wozniacki played her second final in 2 weeks and despite the second consecutive loss has plenty of positives to look at. "It's been a good two weeks for me - two finals, lots of matches," Wozniacki said in her on-court interview. "Making another final here [in Dubai] is definitely great, and I'm already excited to be back.” She’s currently ranked at no. 14 and only has 145 points to defend until the US Open.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is on fire! The Frenchman defeated his fellow countryman Lucas Poullie to win the Open 13 Marseille title, 6:4 6:4. Just a week earlier Tsonga claimed his first title since 2015, in Rotterdam. With 2 back to back titles Tsonga returns to the Top 10, and is now ranked no. 7 in the ATP rankings.
’’I’m extremely happy I won this week. I played really well. I was very solid until the end. It’s my 14th title and I hope it won’t be the last. I feel great physically. I have worked really hard since the beginning of my career. It’s amazing to win two titles in a row," Tsonga said.
Dominic Thiem needed just one hour and 34 minutes to defeat Pablo Carreño Busta 7:5 6:4 on the Brazilian clay and claim the title at Rio Open on Sunday. The World No. 8 claimed his eighth ATP World Tour crown, a second at the 500 level.
"I am feeling really great," said Thiem. "This is the best feeling you can have, winning a title. It's all you practise for. I played five very good matches, especially in the semis and final against amazing players. I did same thing last year, going from clay to hard in Acapulco and I did well. It's a slower hard court with a high bounce, so it's what I like. It's not easy with the travel and time difference, but the confidence is high and I'm feeling great.”
After the match Carreño Busta also had plenty of good things to say about his week in Rio. "Obviously, I'm very happy after a week like this. Winning the title in doubles and reaching the final in singles is great. Dominic is a fantastic player and is going to win many more titles in the coming years. I hope I can play more finals against him. Physically I felt great all week. I'm a little tired, but that's normal after these couple of days. I have a few days to rest and now I'm looking forward to Sao Paulo.”