With tickets bought weeks ago it was again time for the home ATP tournament. I couldn’t miss such an event. Little did I know what was in store for this year. I didn’t have much time to spend watching tennis, or better said, not as much as I would have wanted, so I had to plan my visits to the tennis courts very, very well. I got there on Monday just in time to see Borna Coric battle 6-2, 6-7, 7-6 past Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Everybody talked about the talented young player from Croatia so I was among the few who wanted the Ukrainian Stakhovsky to win. Second match I saw and the reason why I was actually freezing there was Marius Copil vs Mikhail Youzhny. For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge supporter of this Romanian tennis player. Come to think about it I support and follow closely all of our players, even so, it was a match I couldn’t miss. Marius started the match in force but got lost on the way while the Russian player needed time to get used to Copil’s strong serve but adjusted his game very well as the match went into the third set.
The good quality of the game showed by Marius towards the end of the match couldn’t, unfortunately, keep him away from an early exist from the singles draw: 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. After this match I just went home, it was too cold. For this reason I spent the next day taking care of myself and periodically providing my organism with aspirin and paracetamol. As on Tuesday I couldn’t make it to a doubles match with a 100% Romanian team (Copil/Ungur), the next stop was Wednesday evening when I wanted to see Florin Mergea playing with his Indian partner Rohan Bopanna. To my disappointment the opponents pulled out and Florin and Rohan went directly to the next round where they would face Copil/Ungur. On Wednesday I ended up watching Bolelli/Darcis vs Frystenberg/Garcia-Lopez. Not a bad match, not bad at all especially if you are a doubles fan such as myself. The Italian/Belgian team won 3-6, 6-3, 10-5.
Thursday things changed, my cold seemed to go away, I got myself some warmer clothes and I spent quite a nice time watching some tennis and drinking lots of warm stuff. I was impatiently waiting for the match made out of 75% Romanians. It really hurt to see Bopanna/Mergea playing against Copil/Ungur. I didn’t quite know who to support so I just watched. I honestly expected a better match from the Indian/Romanian team so I was a bit confused and disappointed but happy that we had representatives in the doubles semi-final: Marius and Adrian were on to the next round 6-4, 7-6.
The other matches that I saw were Youzhny vs Monfils (1-6, 2-6) and Typsarevic vs Simon (5-7, 4-6). Friday it was another story, a sunny and warm one. I saw three beautiful singles matches. Garcia-Lopez vs Rosol was the first one, a re-edit of the 2013 final but this time the Spaniard moved on as the winner: 6-4, 7-6. Not bad, especially because I like Guillermo, he reminds me of the good ol’ days when the tournament was full of Spanish players. The second match I watched was Simon vs Gimeno-Traver. I think that after winning this tournament 3 times, Gilles Simon can’t get himself beyond the quarter finals and it is a pity because he is a good player and a crowd favorite. He bowed to the Spanish player 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Bolelli and Monfils was a match that I wanted over as fast as possible just to get to the moment when Marius and Adi would play. I was just too impatient especially because they were playing against a very good doubles team: Flemming/Marray. We all know Flemming from last year’s tournament and we will never forget Marray, he is half of the team that made a nightmare out of a certain Wimbledon final for some Romanian and Swedish players and tennis fans. This match was not going to be easy but after a first set won, a second lost, the match tie-break made the 50 people left to freeze while watching scream and heat things up for our boys just enough to give them wings to fly to the final: 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 and the doubles final had Romanian players for the 4th consecutive year. After Horia Tecau announced that he puled out because of an injury, I don’t think anybody thought or dared to dream about cheering for Romanians in a final. Well, these two very amazing guys proved us wrong. Sunday was going to be a very interesting day. Saturday was semis day. And sunburn day. Gimeno-Traver and Vesely offered a beautiful match and the Chech player moved to the final after a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 win. Everybody was eagerly waiting for the second semifinal between Garcia-Lopez and Monfils.
I like Monfils, he is very talented and quite spectacular but I don’t like that he pulled out of the tournament two years in a row, nor did I like his attitude during this match. He seemed like he didn’t want to play, weather he was injured or not I don’t know but his on court behavior made me feel like he showed no respect for his opponent or the audience. I think he just wanted to go home. And he did, Garcia-Lopez won 6-7, 6-4, 6-2. As every year I skipped the exhibition match.
Sunday started with the doubles final. Oh my, was I excited…and afraid…and in need of a shot of whiskey. More shots actually. Our boys were playing against Monroe/Sitak. They started the match well with a break but lost it immediately after. They also lost serve and saw themselves one set down. The second set looked good, they had a break but lost it, managed to stay in the game and break their opponents again and push the match in a match tie-break. And that’s when insanity broke loose. Every person cheered, Marius and Adi easily went to 4-1, but what seemed easy soon turned into an emotional roller coaster. It was fast 5-5. Then 8-5 and 9-7 for our boys but a few minutes later Monroe/Sitak had a match point. It was saved… then another one, and another one. It seemed only a matter of seconds before the guests were named champions. Marius and Adi signaled the audience to cheer louder. So we did. Loud, louder, the loudest, through all 5 match points that the boys saved just to let it all go the moment we heard: game, set, match: Copil/Ungur. It was unbelievable, I was shaking, I was clapping and cheering and I was so so happy and proud. Their first ATP final, their first title on home ground. It seemed a dream but it was real.
I spent the next 40 minutes in the shade and after I calmed down I entered the men’s singles final: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs Jiri Vesely. I had to have a favorite and of course I picked the Spanish tennis player. What I saw was a very beautiful match, I wanted to see more, especially because it was the last tennis match for this year, but the guys wrapped it up in two sets: a double 7-6 and Garcia-Lopez lifted the trophy on his second attempt, 2 years after his first. And of course “Stand Up (For the Champions)” was played, you can’t have a proper tournament in Bucharest without that cheesy song. It actually sounds amazing in the tennis context. Now it’s time to wait, again, for another year. It’s a bit strange that I wait a whole year for this event and it passes in just a short week but every year I say: and what a week it was! Game, set, match, championship 2015: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Marius Copil/Adrian Ungur.