With only a week to go until the start of Wimbledon, both the ATP & WTA tours continued their march towards the third grand slam of the year and there were many exciting stories in the world of professional tennis.
On the ATP side Roger Federer made history in Halle on Sunday, defeating David Goffin 7-6(2), 6-1 to win a record 10th Noventi Open title. It is the first time that Federer has earned 10 title at one tournament, joining Rafael Nadal as the only men in the Open Era to accomplish the feat.
"It’s amazing. For some reason I didn’t think I was going to make it anymore. Didn’t think of it much. I just thought match-for-match because the second round and quarters were so tough that I never really thought about how it would feel if I won and now it’s reality," Federer said. "[It’s the] first time ever I could win a title 10 times in one place, so it’s obviously a very special moment in my career." This is Federer’s 102nd tour-level title, moving to within seven trophies of Jimmy Connors’ record of 109. It is also the Swiss star’s 19th tour-level victory on grass.
Elsewhere in the world Feliciano Lopez, who has just three ATP Tour main draw wins to his name this year, entered the Fever-Tree Championships as a wild card and was able to add four more wins to his tally and complete a dream run to win his seventh ATP title. The 37 year old won a battle of veterans beating Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(2). The World No. 113 in the ATP Rankings is the oldest champion at this event in the Open Era and only the third wild card to take the title, joining Ivan Lendl (1989) and Pete Sampras (1999).
“I thought the best moment of my career was when I won this tournament in 2017, but its right now,” said Lopez. “He was coming up with unbelievable passing shots and I was a little bit desperate, to be honest. The tie-break is a bit of a lottery, of course, but I’m just so happy to win here. It wasn’t the end of his day though, or the end of extraordinary results, as he next went on to play in the doubles final with British superstar Andy Murray who was competing for the first time in almost 5 months.
Andy, who now plays with a new metal hip, had announced his retirement from the sport in January at the Australian Open due to overwhelming pain when competing. Following months of rehabilitation and hard work he returned to compete this past week and was able to beat Britain’s Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram of the United States 7-6(6), 5-7, 10-5. The world of tennis hopes this is a sign of more to come from the former world No. 1.
Finally, on the men’s side, NCAA 2019 Singles Champion and British player Paul Jubb received the official notice that he will get the chance to play on tennis’ biggest stage, earning a wild card entry into the 2019 Wimbledon Championships. A Hull, England, native, Jubb was awarded the third men's wild card entry by the All England Club for this year's tournament.
The entry comes after Jubb notched back-to-back wins over ATP Top 160 opponents in the Ilkley Trophy ATP Challenger event. He is currently ranked 579 in the ATP rankings and has a Universal Tennis Rating of 14.45. Jubb will become the second Gamecock to play in a Grand Slam event, following Stephane Simian who played in all four Grand Slams in 1994. Only one wild card entry has ever won Wimbledon, Goran Ivaniševi in 2001.
On the women’s side, Ashleigh Barty’s dream summer of 2019 continued in Birmingham as she claimed the Nature Valley Classic and, with it, took the WTA World No.1 spot for the first time in her career.
Having already claimed the French Open, her first Grand Slam title, she admitted after taking top spot in the WTA Ranking: “I'm not really sure what's going on.” Her run to glory in England was not an easy one, with Donna Vekic followed by Venus Williams, Barbora Strycova and doubles partner Julia Goerges in the final. To see the highlights from the final between Barty & Goerges clink here.
Despite the challenging run of competitors in her way, Barty managed to secure the championship without the loss of a set as she moved up from the No.2 ranking, leapfrogging Naomi Osaka, who lost in the second round.
The biggest mover from within the Top 100, however, was Venus, who leapt up 11 places from WTA World No.55 to No.44. The five-time Wimbledon champion overcame Aliaksandra Sasnovih in the first round in Birmingham before ousting No.6 seed Wang Qiang only to be stopped by Barty in the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere at the Mallorca Open, No.6 seed Sofia Kenin of the United States executed a stunning comeback in the tournaments final on Sunday, saving three championship points at 5-4 in the second set en route to a marathon 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4 defeat of No.3 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and locking up her second WTA singles title of the year as a result.
After the match, Kenin credited her fighting spirit as "what really got me through. With [Bencic], you have to fight every point, and I’m just really happy with this title. It just means a lot to me." Kenin kept her breakthrough year rolling with her two-hour and 42-minute win over Bencic, in their first meeting. The 20-year-old, who at World No.30 is enjoying her first-ever month as a Top 30 player, claimed her first WTA singles title at Hobart in January, and just had her best-ever Grand Slam result at Roland Garros, where she upset Serena Williams to reach the fourth round. "Hard work, for sure, is paying off bigtime," said Kenin, who improved to 6-6 against the Top 20 this year, and has an overall win-loss record of 25-12 in 2019.
So many exciting results and stories to share in the world of professional tennis and much more to come as we look ahead. Be sure to check back on our blog and social media content for all the latest news and updates.