‘It means the world to me’ says Alexei Popyrin as rising youngsters steal the show in weekend of firsts
Australian Alexei Popyrin and Argentine Juan Manuel Cerundolo secured maiden titles in Singapore and Cordoba this weekend.
Popyrin, 21, capped an impressive run at the inaugural Singapore Tennis Open with a 4-6 6-0 6-2 victory over Kazakh Alexander Bublik in the final to take his first tour-level title. He now jumps from World No. 114 to a career-high ranking of 82.
‘So many people in my life have sacrificed a lot’ he told ATPTour.com. ‘My family especially has sacrificed so much for me to get where I am right now. To have won this tournament, it’s for them.’
Over the Pacific in Cordoba, Argentina, home qualifier Cerundolo, 19, overcame multiple seeded players, including fellow up-and-comer Miomir Kecmanovic in the Round of 16. The final saw Cerundolo overcome top 50 Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-0 2-6 6-2 to claim the title on his ATP main draw debut.
‘It’s kind of incredible. I can’t believe it,’ he said following his win: ‘there’s so many things in my head right now that I can’t express all of them.’
Cerundolo is the fifth lowest-ranked champion on the tour since 1990, at World No. 335, according to ATPTour.com. The teenager jumps 154 places to 181 with this win.
On Twitter, compatriot Diego Schwartzman congratulated Cerundolo on a ‘beautiful title’, while former player Gabriela Sabatini said it was a ‘great triumph!’
In Montpellier, the first and second seeds Roberto Bautista Agut and David Goffin met in the final. The Belgian came from behind to win 5-7 6-4 6-2 to get back to winning ways after a first-round loss to Popyrin at the Australian Open. Montpellier 2021 is Goffin’s first title since Tokyo 2017.
‘It’s never easy to win tournaments’ he said on-court. ‘This is my fifth and every tournament I’ve won was special.’ Goffin faces German Jan-Lennard Struff next in Rotterdam this week as he tries to carry this momentum forwards.
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