It was an interesting tennis week because two players won their #maiden titles, and the third one was only two points away to join them… 26-year-old Ivan Dodig  debuted on the main level relatively late because in 2008, so winning an ATP title is an amazing achievement for him. Three years ago in his debut (Marseille) he lost in the second round to Novak Djokovic, two weeks ago during the fortnight in Melbourne, the Serb lost a set only to Dodig. Maybe it was a boost of confidence for the Croat, anyway in his hometown (Zagreb) he showed terrific form beating four seeded players. In the semifinal came back from a 2:4 deficit in the 2nd set against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, then was two points away from defeat at 5:5 in the tie-break (won 4-6, 7-6, 6-4). The final against Michael Berrer , Dodig won in unique circumstances. The Croat saved all seven break points he faced (mainly thanks to a great service display – 16 aces), and celebrated his triumph after an apparent service winner, threw his racquet in the stands, but the referee Cedric Mourier told him that the serve had been called ‘out’! Dodig couldn’t believe but his racquet came back from a “lucky” fan, and Berrer saved a match point after Dodig’s error. Losing the next two points would have been devastated for the local favorite, but he managed somehow to regain his composure and won those two points, then celebrated his triumph for the second time, in the same style – throwing the raqcuet high into the stands. “This is the best thing that can happen to a player – to play at home in front of your own crowd and win your first title,” says Dodig, who earned €72,600 – 1/3 of the total amount ($376,024) he gained in his 7-year career.
The title in Johannesburg took 25-year-old Kevin Anderson  to become the first South African who won this tournament since Christo van Rensburg in 1989. Anderson in the final, in front of local supporters, ousted Somdev Devvarman  in the 2-hour match, suspended due to rain after the first three games. Anderson: “Hopefully I can keep going and keep getting better. I’m going to keep working hard. There’s still a lot I want to achieve. It’s a great honor being mentioned with the Wayne Ferreiras of South African tennis; it’s definitely an exciting prospect for me.”
In the first clay-court tournament of the year, Tommy Robredo  clinched in Santiago his 10th title. The 28-year-old Spaniard, waited two years to win another title, and won it similarly to his previous triumph – in both cases was two points away from defeat at *4:5 (30-30) in the 3rd set – two years ago in Buenos Aires against Juan Monaco, this time against the first-time finalist Santiago (nomen omen) Giraldo . “When he served at 5-3 in the third, he started being less aggressive and put the ball more in play which allowed me to play longer and get into the court again,” declares Robredo, a specialist of winning matches in a decisive tie-break set (record at all levels: 24-13). He finished his semifinal match against Fabio Fognini in a very tense atmosphere. Robredo refused to shake hands with the Italian, and Fognini called the eventual champion “pedazo de mierda” (piece of shit).
S: Ivan Dodig d. (8)Michael Berrer 6-3, 6-4
D: (2)D.Norman/H.Tecau d. (1)M.Granollers/M.Lopez 6-3, 6-4
S: (4)Kevin Anderson d. Somdev Devvarman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
D: J.Cerretani/A.Shamasdin d. (1)S.Lipsky/R.Ram 6-3, 3-6, [10-7]
S: (6)Tommy Robredo d. (8)Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(5)
D: (3)M.Melo/B.Soares d. (1)L.Kubot/O.Marach 6-3, 7-6(6)
Choker of the week:
Antonio Veic in the first round in Zagreb, led 6-2, 5:3 on serve against Alex Bogomolov, and was three times in that game two points away from win at ‘deuce’, but lost 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-7(2).
# Number of maiden title winners year by year (the last 11 years):