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Ferrer triumphs for the first time since 2015, Rublev and Isner also win titles


By Ricky Dimon


David Ferrer won his first title since the fall of 2015 when he defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-4 in the SkiStar Swedish Open final on Sunday. Ferrer broke his opponent three times and improved to 10-4 lifetime in the head-to-head series after one hour and 26 minutes.


The 35-year-old, who had plunged to No. 46 in the rankings, lifted an ATP winner’s trophy for the 27th time in his illustrious but slowed-down career. His 27 titles are the most for any player without a Grand Slam.


“It’s been two years that I haven’t won a tournament, so I’m really happy for this win,” said Ferrer. “I was a little nervous up 5-1 and Alexandr played without pressure. I tried to be focused on every point, but when I had all those match points I was thinking too much.


“I am going week by week, match by match, and I still have the motivation. I know it will be very difficult to get back to the top 10, but if I stay competitive like this week, I will play next year for sure. I still enjoy playing tennis, but it’s different as I am 35 years old.”


At the other end of the career spectrum, Andrey Rublev captured his first ATP title with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Paolo Lorenzi. It was an improbable week for the 19-year-old Russian, who lost in the final round of qualifying before getting a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser. The rest, of course, is history. Rublev became the seventh lucky loser in Open Era history and first since Rajeev Ram at the 2009 Newport tournament to win an ATP title.


“It’s amazing.” Rublev assured. “I have no words to explain it, especially after this tough week. Now I’m here and it’s amazing.”


John Isner’s run to the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open championship, on the other hand, was far from surprising. The No. 1 seed triumphed in Newport for the third time and he did so without losing a single set along the way. In fact, Isner was not even pushed to a tiebreaker until his final set of the tournament–which he survived against qualifier Matthew Ebden to get the job done 6-3, 7-6(4) in one hour and 14 minutes. The 6’10” American did not face a single break point in the match or in the entire tournament.


Ebden was the lowest-ranked ATP finalist since world No. 866 Raemon Sluiter finished runner-up eight years ago in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.


“It’s hard to win a tournament,” Isner noted. “It’s no small feat to come out here and be the last man standing. I’m very happy about that. It’s been two years since I won a tournament, so I had that weighing on my mind. I’m very happy with how I played all week. It was a perfect week and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”


“I’m not that tired to be honest,” Ebden commented. “I definitely didn’t lose because of anything physical, which is great. It’s a lot of reward for a lot of hard work–a lot of years of sacrifice. It’s disappointing (to lose the final), but at the same time I have to be happy with my week.”


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.