World No. 335 Cerundolo, 19, Completes Dream Week With Cordoba Trophy

Argentine third first-time ATP Tour champion this season

#NextGenATP Juan Manuel Cerundolo made sure his ATP Tour debut would be one for the ages. The Argentine qualifier completed a dream week on home soil with a 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 stunner over Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Sunday to win the Cordoba Open title. 

Currently sitting at No. 335 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, 19-year-old Cerundolo is the fifth-lowest ranked titlist on the ATP Tour since 1990, and the lowest-ranked since No. 355 Pablo Andujar won Marrakech in 2018.

“It’s kind of incredible. I can’t believe it,” Cerundolo said. “I’m so happy to [win] this tournament and [achieve] this goal that I was hoping would happen sooner or later. But I can’t believe it. There’s so many things in my head right now that I can’t express all of them. The only thing I can say is that I’m very happy and I’m going to enjoy this night.”

Lowest-Ranked Champions In ATP Tour History (since 1990)

 Player Ranking   Tournament 
 1. Lleyton Hewitt   No. 550  1998 Adelaide
 2. Pablo Andujar  No. 355  2018 Marrakech
 3. Fernando Gonzalez   No. 352  2000 Orlando
 4. Tommy Haas  No. 349  2004 Houston 
 5. Juan Manuel Cerundolo  No. 335  2021 Cordoba

Coming into this week in Cordoba, Cerundolo had only played 14 matches in the ATP Challenger Tour, where he owned a 7-7 record. He made some Argentine tennis history as he joined older brother Francisco, 22, in the Cordoba main draw for the first time, making them the first siblings from their country to feature at the same tournament since 1981.

But Cerundolo would not be satisfied just being a footnote in the history books, and the teenager just kept winning. He took down two seeded opponents, No. 3 Miomir Kecmanovic and No. 7 Thiago Monteiro, in three sets and defeated good friend Federico Coria en route to the final. 

He was playing like a veteran in the opening set against fifth-seeded Ramos-Vinolas, taking control of the points early in the ATP Tour’s first all-lefty final since July 2019. The Spaniard couldn’t find a way through his rock-solid defence, and Cerundolo reeled off the first six games of the contest to take a head-turning 6-0 lead. 

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But then came the inevitable letdown and Ramos-Vinolas, who had created five break chances in the first set, was quick to capitalise. The Spaniard robbed his counterpunching opponent of angles as he began to hit through the middle of the court, and was rewarded with the second set.

With the partisan crowd firmly behind him, the Argentine qualifier dug himself out of a 0-2 deficit  in the final set. Cerundolo settled back into the match, and reeled off the next six games to win the Cordoba title.

“The key was to be mentally stable, because the match was very physical,” Cerundolo said. “He’s very solid with a good backhand and forehand. I was stable in my head, but in the second set he was [better] than me. In the third set I was able to get on top of him, but the key was to stay mentally stable.” 

Did You Know… Juan Manuel Cerundolo’s victory marks the second time the Cordoba Open has seen a player win his first ATP Tour main draw match and go on to win the same event. Compatriot Juan Ignacio Londero accomplished the feat at the inaugural 2019 edition.