This past week week, the women and the men swapped spots for world team play; with the ladies competing in their first Fed Cup ties of the season and the men duking it out for titles at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, and at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.
Top seed and local Marin Cilic won his third PBZ Zagreb Indoors title after defeating Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-1 in the final. Cilic also won this title in 2009 and 2010. Melzer is looking for an uptick on his win-loss record for 2013 so far, which has seen upsets to lower-ranked players and upsets against Tomas Berdych in Melbourne and Grigor Dimitrov in Brisbane.
Melzer, on his loss to Cilic:
“He was the better player today. I needed it to be close at 4-all, 5-all in the first set to give me confidence. That didn’t happen and he ran away with it. I felt like I was hitting the ball really well at the beginning, but he hit the ball even better. What made the difference in the first few games is that he had free points on serve, whereas I had to work for them: hit a winner or play well so he missed. He deserved the victory.”
More: Trophies from France (our pick of the week!) and Chile, plus the Fed Cup ties — after the cut…
In Montpellier, Richard Gasquet won the battle of the Frenchmen, beating Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-3. Gasquet bagged his second title of 2013, having also taken the Doha title (d. Davydenko), and has compiled a 14-1 record so far in 2013. Gasquet also reached the fourth round of the Australian Open before falling to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
And in Chile, the much-anticipated return of Rafael Nadal lasted through the final day of the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile, where the former world No. 1 got beaten by fellow claycourt (and lefty!) specialist Horacio Zeballos. Zeballos also won a Challenger title, in Sao Paolo, to start off 2013.
The ladies, of course, played Fed Cup, with the Czech Repuplic, Italy, Slovakia, and Russia all winning their respective World Group First Round ties. The semifinals are in April.
(Cilic photo via PBZ Zagreb website; OSDF photos via OpenSuddeFrance.com; VTR Open photos by Cesar Pincheira/VTR Open via nadalnews.com)