Londero's Dream Week: From Winless To ATP Titlist
Juan Ignacio Londero could do no wrong this week at the Cordoba Open. The 25-year-old Argentine, who hadn't won a tour-level match before this week, won his maiden ATP Tour title on Sunday, beating countryman Guido Pella 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Londero, who was a wild-card entrant, was down a set and a break against the 28-year-old Pella, who also was going for his maiden ATP Tour title after losing his first three finals. But Londero stayed aggressive and took control of the final, with his forehand inflicting much of the damage and the Cordoba crowd carrying him to the finish.
Few players have celebrated such come-from-nowhere runs. Belgian Steve Darcis was 0-2 entering Amersfoort when he qualified and won the title in 2007. Spain's Santiago Ventura had never played a tour-level match when he qualified for Casablanca in 2004 and then captured the crown.
And former World No. 6 Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador owned only five tour-level wins when he competed in his first ATP Tour event, as a qualifier in Bogota 24 years ago, and won his first title.
Pella had beaten Londero all three of their prior meetings -- two on the Futures tour and one on the ATP Challenger Tour. The left-hander, with deep, consistent groundstrokes, placed the onus on Londero to start, and the first-time finalist felt the moment. The 25-year-old from nearby Jesus Maria dropped his serve in the second game, and Pella, with the experience of four previous finals, was steady to take the opener.
It was the first set Londero had dropped all week. In his semi-final match, he lost only one game, demolishing two-time ATP Tour titlist Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-0. But Londero regrouped in the second, finding more inside-out forehands. And while Pella's patience had paid off in the opening set, Londero hit his targets more often and broke in the 12th game to force a final set.
Pella never recovered. The left-hander was broken three times in the final set and fell to 0-4 in finals. He will receive 150 ATP Rankings points and $49,205 in prize money.
Londero, No. 112 in the ATP Rankings, will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and is projected to rise to No. 69 on Monday when the new rankings are released. He will receive $90,990 in prize money, or about 30 per cent of his career prize money before this week ($317,482).