First-Time Winners Flourish on ATP Tour in 2013

by John on December 13, 2013

Mahut & Fognini

Nicolas Mahut (left) and Fabio Fognini (right) led a group of eight first-time ATP Tour titlists in 2013. It was the year of the newbies. Last year there was just one maiden winner. Not content with their first victories, and perhaps still en fuego at the time, Mahut and Fognini won second career titles in quick succession. It all started in early January, when 20-year-old Aussie Bernard Tomic, the youngest of the eight, won at Sydney. In February, Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos pulled off maybe the biggest upset of the year, defeating Rafael Nadal in the final at Vina del Mar. Czech Lukas Rosol, who similarly shocked Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012, hoisted the trophy at Bucharest in April. Frenchman Mahut, oldest of the year’s first-time winners at 31, wielded his grass-court magic at the Topshelf Open at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in June, decisively defeating Stanislas Wawrinka. The second week in July saw 30-year-old Argentine Carlos Berlocq win at Bastad and Italy’s Fognini triumph at Stuttgart, while Mahut won his second crown, also on grass, at Newport. Fognini won number two the following week at Hamburg, and was going for his third straight the week after that at Umag, but lost in the final. On the Asian Swing in September, Portugal’s Joao Sousa upset Julien Benneteau at Kuala Lumpur and in the process captured his country’s first tour title. Talented Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov became the eighth first-timer in October when he knocked off No. 3-ranked David Ferrer at Stockholm. Mahut’s 12-2 record on grass was second best to Andy Murray’s 12-0, and Fognini’s 42-27 match record translated to a No. 16 year-end ranking.

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