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Tennis • Tsitsipas Soars To Second Marseille Title, Garin And Opelka Also Win

By Ricky Dimon

Felix Auger-Aliassime’s recurring pain was Stefanos Tsitsipas’ gain at the Open 13 in Marseille on Sunday. Auger-Aliassime fell to 0-5 lifetime in ATP finals and Tsitsipas secured his fifth ATP title with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph.

The 21-year-old Greek has won the Marseille tournament on back-to-back occasions without dropping a single set.

“I played a good quality of tennis today and I showed everyone what I am capable of,” Tsitsipas said. “Serving well, returning well, just being there behind every single ball, executing, dominating, and being clever in my decision-making.”

”I feel disappointed,” assured Auger-Aliassime, who also finished runner-up in Rotterdam last week (lost to Gael Monfils). “You never like losing finals, but now it has been five– so it is in my mind. It is tough, but I think it is just going to make me a better player. It is going to build my character and I am going to overcome this challenge one day. I’ll keep working towards that goal. I am working to win bigger tournaments and to achieve even better things, so I am not going to stop here.”

Although the field was not as good as that of Marseille, the biggest event of the week in terms of points came at the Rio Open. Cristian Garin captured title No. 4 (all on clay, all within the past 11 months) of his career by beating qualifier Gianluca Mager 7-6(3), 7-5.

“I think this is a gift from all those years working hard (and) suffering,” Garin explained. “This is my dream. I’m enjoying it. I didn’t expect this ever in my life. I’m so, so happy. I’m really emotional; winning the Rio Open means a lot to me. It’s hard to describe this past week. I slept only four or five hours and woke up nervous this morning and it ended up being one of the best days of my life.”

“Incredible week,” reflected Mager, who upset Dominic Thiem on his improbable trip to the final. “It’s unbelievable for me. It’s a dream to beat the No. 4 in the world, go to the final of an ATP 500. I am very happy and I’ll keep working every day and fight every day.”

If there was a big discrepancy in terms of ranking between the two Rio de Janeiro finalists, there was an even bigger discrepancy in terms of size between the last two men standing at the Delray Beach Open. Reilly Opelka (6’11”) defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (5’7”) for the second time in two weeks for career title No. 2. Opelka’s 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2 success marked his second match of the day, as he previously got the best of fellow big server Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in a rain-delayed semi.

“I love playing at home; I have a house not far from here–10 minutes,” Opelka commented. “I base here; I’ve been here the past 10 years, so I’m very comfortable. It’s going to be an event I play a lot the rest of my career just because I plan on staying in South Florida. I love playing in Delray.”

“It’s very tough to break his service games,” Nishioka said, stating the obvious. “In the third set a little bit I lost my mind and maybe he saw it, he came out and tried to be a little bit aggressive. It worked. That was key in this game. But much better than last week when I played against him.”

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

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