Pablo Cuevas may not be the most famous name in tennis however he’s slowly making himself known as an adept clay courter on the ATP Tour. Sunday saw the Uruguayan win his third clay court title in the past year as he defeated upstart Luca Vanni of Italy in the final from ATP Sau Paulo (Brasil Open 2015). The line score in the three set match was 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4).
For Cuevas, the title means a small surge of ranking points will be heading his way. The Brasil Open, not a major event, is only a part of the 250-series on tour. However with the outright win in the tournament, Cuevas will move into the Top 25 on tour with Monday’s ranking update. If he keeps running the tables in the smaller events then the Top 15 is by no means out of reach.
For Vanni the loss has to be agonizing, not just based on how close the final was but also based on the fact that he actually served for the match. The Italian, who started the week as an unknown player, had to play quallies in Sau Paulo and then he had to plow his way through, what was for him, an unprecedented number of tour matches to make the final. A life-long Challenger and Futures-level player, Vanni, at the age of 29, may have just seen his only chance to claim a title come and go. His efforts are certainly not in vain however as he will come close to cracking the Top 100 on tour with Monday’s update.
Cuevas, following his title, will not be idle in the upcoming week. He is the sixth seed in Rio de Janeiro although his position in the draw might be a little too close for his liking to Rafael Nadal. That said, if Cuevas is going to reach the very upper echelon of men’s tennis, winning 250-level titles against fringe players will not be enough.
Vanni has a special entry into the Open 13 draw in Marseille where, provided that he doesn’t withdraw, he will face Simone Bolelli in the first round. But fans of Vanni’s should not be looking for further success in France in the upcoming week due to a combination of factors.
Firstly, Vanni has played a ton of tennis in the last week or so and he will be facing a much better rested player in Bolelli. Secondly, Vanni will have to travel trans-Atlantic to get to Marseille as the Brasil Open was played in Sau Paulo. Thirdly, even if Vanni overcomes Bolelli, the finalist from Sau Paul will have to beat Milos Raonic in the second round to stay in the tournament. Under circumstances such as these it is not uncommon for a player to withdraw from an event.
Other action from Sunday saw Stanislas Wawrinka claim a title in Rotterdam while Kei Nishikori claimed the ATP Memphis title.