Weekly Tennis Review – 100 titles for Federer and unstoppable Kyrgios

Roger Federer became just the second man to win a 100th Professional Tour title in Dubai this week.

At the age of 37, the Swiss maestro lifted to ATP trophy in Dubai after beating rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

This brings the 11-time Wimbledon Champion nine titles short of American Jimmy Connors, who holds the record number of titles in the Open Era.

After missing a large part of 2016 due to a major knee injury, many thought that it may be time to say goodbye to the Federer of old.

But the quality of tennis displayed in the final showed just why he has been able to win two grand slam titles since his return and re-enter the world’s elite.

The week however got off to a slow start, with the second seed dropping sets to both Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, and fellow veteran Fernando Verdasco of Spain. A tough quarter final against world number 31 Marton Fucsovics saw two tight sets, but Federer prevailed 7-6(6) 6-4.

The semi saw Federer face the 22-year-old world number 12 Borna Coric, who had defeated him at their last two meetings.

This time round was much simpler for the now eight time Dubai champion, who cruised to a 6-2 6-2 win and only dropped 11 points on serve throughout the match.

The now world number 10 Tsitsipas is only 20 and made headlines when he defeated defending champion Federer at the Australian Open in January. There were no signs of repetition on Sunday though.

Tsitsipas looked fatigued from winning the crown in Marseille last week. Federer on the other hand looked good as new and rode through to a comfortable 6-4 6-4 win and a breathtaking century of titles.

“It is an absolute dream come true right now,” said Federer, rejoicing in this landmark milestone.

Federer also reflected on his career and the quality of rising young players like Tsitsipas. “It was a treat to play Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. I’m sure Stefanos will have a wonderful career. Tennis is in good hands regardless if I’m there or not.”

Whilst not as major as titles such as those 20 grand slam titles Federer can boast, the title in Dubai marks a sensational achievement. Many now will wonder if he can win a further ten titles to surpass Connors and become the best ever player in terms of titles won.

Furthermore, Federer has confirmed a return to Dubai next year. Despite the fact he will be 38, the legend of tennis does not show signs of wishing to retire soon.

Despite the focus in Dubai all being on Federer, one other man did make the headlines.

That was youngster Hubert Hurkac, who defeated number one seed Kei Nishikori 7-5 5-7 6-2. After beating the world number 7, the man from Wroclaw, Poland had risen to a career high of 67.

Playing at the Next Gen finals last year, Hurkacz will hope to use this breakthrough win to continue his rise and cement himself as one of the game’s top stars.

Acapulco – Firebrand Kyrgios beats Nadal and Zverev

Last week also saw the tour travel to Acapulco for the Mexican Open, featuring a strong field.

Topped by world number two Rafael Nadal and featuring players such as Alexander Zverev and Stanislas Wawrinka, the competition always looked to be a competitive one. Very few people however would have predicted the most controversial player, Nick Kyrgios, would run away with the title.

Ranked 13th in 2016, the Australian has had a poor last two years, being hampered by injury.

Kyrgios has often attracted media attention for the wrong reason, with erratic on court behaviour and questionable attitudes towards umpires, fellow players and journalists. Going into the tournament last week he was ranked outside the world’s top 70.

However last week there was no arguing that the level of determination showed by Kyrgios was substantial. During his second round match against Nadal, Kyrgios complained of feeling unwell, but he wanted to avoid any backlash and play through the pain.

After losing the first set 6-3, Kyrgios battled back winning the subsequent two in tiebreaks. The battle saw him save three match points.

The abstract on court antics did not stop however, with Kyrgios choosing to serve underarm at one point late in the match. Though legal, this action is so rare and can be seen as disrespectful to an opponent.

After the match Nadal said that Kyrgios “lacks respect for the public, the rival and himself.”

The week continued for Kyrgios with two hard earned three set victories against John Isner and Wawrinka, before he faced world number three Zverev in the final.

Whilst many looked forward to  a competitive final, the man from Canberra arguably got his easiest win of the week, winning 6-3 6-4. Spectacular dropshots from Kyrgios left Zverev looking shell shocked as he was not given any way into the match.

In his victory speech after the match Kyrgios reflected on his own mentality, and how it may not currently be up to scratch. He said that before the final he “went jet skiing,” and said that he did not “think that’s what a top 10 player would do.”

Kyrgios has had mammoth wins like this before and has struggled to back them up.

Eyes will be on him at the first Master tournament of the year next week. The main draws at Indian Wells, California also starts this weekend.

Written by Michael Gillett (@michaelBGjourno)