October 31st, 2014
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What an epic week it was last week in Newport for Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt.
The 33 year old claimed what was his 30th ATP World Tour title as he beat out second seed Ivo Karlovic over three sets in the singles final. The Australian had to scrap it out in blustery conditions against the 35 year old Croatian, both of them proving that they have some legs left yet. The title win put Hewitt in amongst some elite company as well.
Hewitt is now only the fourth active player on the ATP Tour who has won 30 or more singles titles in his career. The other three are Roger Federer with 79, Rafael Nadal with 65 and Novak Djokovic with 45. The Newport final was Hewitt’s 10th on grass during his career, and he holds a fantastic strike record of 8-2 in those grass court finals. The win in Newport was also the fifth different grass court trophy for him.
After coming so close to winning the Newport title in the last couple of years, he will have been relieved to have finally gotten over the finish line at an event in which he clearly feels at home. But it was to prove to be an even bigger weekend for Hewitt as he completed the double in winning the Newport Doubles title with fellow Australian Chris Guccione. That was the first time in Hewitt’s career that he had won both the singles and doubles title at the same event.
Last week’s other ATP Tour event was in Bastad, Sweden on clay and there was another first there as well. There was a debut winner on the Tour. Pablo Cuevas stepped up to the plate and absolutely routed Joao Sousa in the final, dropping just three games, to blitz his way to the title and become the first Uruguayan to land an ATP World Tour title since Marcelo Filippini won in Austria all the way back in 1997.
The great Spaniard Rafael Nadal also notched up a first as well, as he became the first player to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the year. The showcase finale to the season to be held at the O2 in London again, will see Nadal back in action there and the 2014 French Open champion is looking to land his first ever title at the event. Nadal’s qualification leaves just the seven places left to book in the eight man tournament.
He should be joined soon by Roger Federer.This season Rafael Nadal, still only 28, has won four titles including the big win over Novak Djokovic at the French Open. Although Nadal surrendered his grip on the number one world ranking to Novak Djokovic, following the Serbian triumph at Wimbledon, he is the first to make it to the Tour Finals.