It was that time of the year again: tennis time. My 3rd year in Stockholm Open left me thinking about the fact that after my home tournament in Bucharest, this is the second one I attended the most. I have to say that this tournament is an experience as a whole and it makes me feel like I were in the middle of it all. As always I am going to start with Marius Copil. Pretty much the only tournaments where I see him play are Bucharest and Stockholm. It is always a pleasure to watch him play. This year he started the tournament quite well, for a set, just to bow in front of Jesse Huta Galung 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. It wasn’t quite clear why, but his game shifted drastically in the middle of the second set. From there it was just a downfall and his strong service didn’t help him anymore. The opponent increased the quality of his game and Marius was out of the tournament from the first match he played.
With no Romanians to watch, I focused on Jarkko Nieminen, my favorite Finnish tennis player, or should I say now former tennis player? I doubt I will. For someone that I liked following around for so long, loved watching and enjoyed every moment of his matches, I think I will continue to call him a tennis player because in the end that’s what he is. He was the main character in some of the most amazing matches I’ve seen live, he got a standing ovation in Bucharest even though he was walking out of the central court as a looser in a direct match with Gilles Simon. On top of that he is Finnish and he has a very good taste in music. No wonder that after he played his last match it was a bit heartbreaking to see him sitting on the bench with the towel over his head and sobbing. It was quite an emotional moment, just like the farewell ceremony that the ATP organised for him on Friday evening. And I was there to watch both events. I will be forever grateful and happy for this.
The evenings brought some beautiful three sets matches, some starting at 18:30, others later. Monday it was Alexander Zverev vs Mikael Ymer at 18:30. The clash of these two young players left the audience pleasantly impressed and a bit sad because, even if the Swede fought bravely, he lost 7-6 (9), 6-7(5), 6-4. Tuesday Jarkko played his last singles match in a three set thriller, falling to Nicolas Almagro 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-4. Wednesday Jack Sock triumphed in an amazing match against Fernando Verdasco. It is matches like this when you actually wish both players could win because they both fight so hard. But Sock was the winner: 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-4. Thursday brought a quiet evening. Friday the three-setter came as the last match: Marcos Baghdatis vs Gilles Muller. The 2009 winner of Stockholm Open prevailed after a long and beautiful match that ended 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-3. Unfortunately, the second day he retired during his semifinal, so Tomas Berdych had a clear path to the final for the second consecutive year and for the third time in Stockholm Open.
He met Jack Sock there and, after a tight first set, Tomas won Stockholm Open for the third time: 7-6 (1), 6-2. My favorite part of the last day was the doubles final where the singles finalist, Sock, teamed up with Nicholas Monroe to capture the title after a match with Mate Pavic and Michael Venus. This match was truly spectacular, as almost all doubles matches, full of breathtaking shots and thrilling points. And after the last point had been played I realized that another edition of If Stockholm Open was over. Game, set, match, championship: Tomas Berdych, Nicholas Monroe/Jack Sock.