Qualifier Cerundolo Clinches First ATP Final In Buenos Aires
A week after his younger brother Juan Manuel Cerundolo defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the final at the Cordoba Open, qualifier Francisco Cerundolo repeated the upset with a 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-2 victory at the Argentina Open to reach his first ATP Tour final on Saturday.
The big-hitting 22-year-old had to overcome his fifth three-setter of the week to defeat Ramos-Vinolas inside Court Guillermo Vilas. He bounced back after dropping the second set and broke the Spaniard five times to book his spot in the final after a marathon two hours and 35 minutes.
The Argentine owned just one ATP Tour win – which he achieved last week in Cordoba – before qualifying for the main draw in Buenos Aires. But he played with the same fearless tennis and heavy pace that led him to reach three ATP Challenger Tour clay-court finals since November and win titles at Campinas and Guayaquil.
Right-handed Cerundolo came out swinging and firing winners off both wings, a contrast in style to younger brother Juan Manuel, a counterpunching lefty. He had scoreboard pressure on his side as he edged to a 3-1 lead against Ramos-Vinolas, but the experienced Spaniard quickly levelled the score.
Cerundolo took the first set with a spate of winners in the tie-break, but couldn’t break through in the second as Ramos-Vinolas took the set 6-3. He was back in control in the decider, raising his level on serve to fend off three break points and take a 3-0 lead.
Things unravelled quickly for Ramos-Vinolas after going down another break at 4-2. Cerundolo broke serve once more from 0/40 to reach his first ATP Tour final, collapsing in elation on the red dirt of the Cathedral of Argentine Tennis.
Cerundolo awaits the winner of top seed Diego Schwartzman and fourth seed Miomir Kecmanovic for a shot at the title. After Juan Manuel’s victory in Cordoba last week, Francisco is trying to join him in the winners' circle to become the seventh pair of brothers to win singles titles in the Open Era and the first to do so in consecutive weeks.