The 2013 Valencia Open 500 featured a lot of talent in a deep field, but the unseeded Mikhail Youzhny outlasted everyone to win his second title of the year.
There were a number of upsets throughout the event, especially on the bottom side of the draw. Top seeds Tommy Haas, Gilles Simon, John Isner and Kevin Anderson all lost within the first two rounds.
This allowed Youzhny to escape his side, where he was able to defeat No. 1 seed David Ferrer in the finals.
Every day of this event featured plenty of action, so read along for a daily recap of the 2013 Valencia Open.
Top Men's Seeds
No. 1 David Ferrer, Spain
No. 2 Tommy Haas, Germany
No. 3 Nicolas Almagro, Spain
No. 4 John Isner, USA
No. 5 Jerzy Janowicz, Poland
Day 1 Scores
No. 7 Fabio Fognini def. Martin Klizan; 7-5, 3-6, 6-0
Roberto Bautista Agut def. No. 8 Kevin Anderson; 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3
Dmitry Tursunov def. Albert Montanes; 6-4, 6-1
Marcel Granollers def. Janko Tipsarevic; 1-2 (Retired)
As previously mentioned, there weren't a lot of big names—or matches in general—to cover on opening day, but there was no shortage of storylines.
Unfortunately for South African Kevin Anderson, it was a second consecutive disappointing event, as he was upset by unseeded wild card Roberto Bautista Agut.
Anderson was unable to hold the momentum after winning the first set 6-3, dropping a tight tiebreaker thereafter before succumbing in the last set. He fell in Stockholm after getting a bye in the opening round, and now has another discouraging result to his name.
Dmitry Tursunov got a key, straight-sets victory over Albert Montanes, 6-4, 6-1, to get to Round 2.
CNN's Pat Cash and James Masters reported that Tursunov, who is approaching the end of his career at age 30, has to collect $200,000 in prize money just to break even each year.
He's done that handily already, having accumulated over $600,000, per ESPN.com. Still, wins like these add significance to the end of the ATP season for those who aren't tennis superstars.
2011 champion Marcel Granollers advanced despite trailing in the early going, because Janko Tipsarevic had to retire.
In the final match of the day, the highest seed that took the court on Monday, Fabio Fognini, endured a close first set, then dropped the second to Martin Klizan.
The underdog Klizan imploded in the third set, though, hitting only 40 percent of his first serves in and suffering four double faults en route to being routed at love.
Day 2 Scores (via ATPWorldTour.com)
Michal Przysiezny defeated Fernando Verdasco, 6-3, 7-6 (7).
Alejandro Falla defeated No. 6 Gilles Simon, 6-1, 6-0.
No. 3 Nicolas Almagro defeated Pablo Andujar, 6-2, 6-3.
Mikhail Youzhny defeated Bernard Tomic, 3-6, 6-4, 4-1, (Tomic retired).
Julien Benneteau defeated Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 6-1.
No. 5 Jerzy Janowicz defeated Pablo Carreno, 7-5, 7-6 (7).
Joao Sousa defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-3, 7-5.
Day 2 of the 2013 Valencia Open 500 was another chapter in the opening round of this tournament. While the field Tuesday lacked an elite name causal fans could get behind, ranked players Nicolas Almagro and Jerzy Janowicz put on excellent displays and stole the show.
Mikhail Youzhny and Julien Benneteau also won on Day 2, but the focus has shifted to Joao Sousa as the young star continues to shine after winning the Malaysian Open last month.
With Sousa’s first career victory coming in his first ATP event, the expectations that he could repeat at Valencia are through the roof. After Sousa beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-3, 7-5, the stage has been set for the talented prospect to shine once again.
Add in the upset of No. 6 seed Gilles Simon, and the unpredictable tournament is just getting started.
Day 3 Scores (via ATPWorldTour.com)
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. (2) Tommy Haas, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
(1) David Ferrer def. Gael Monfils, 6-3, 6-2
(4) John Isner def. Ernests Gulbis, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2)
Jeremy Chardy def. Florian Mayer, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Jarkko Nieminen def. Benoit Paire, 6-3, 6-3
(7) Fabio Fognini defeated Marcel Granollers, 6-3, 6-2
Dmitry Tursunov defeated Roberto Bautista Agut, 6-2, 7-6 (3)
On Wednesday, top seed Ferrer cruised, No. 2 seed Haas was eliminated and No. 4 seed Isner escaped by a whisker.
Ferrer was never troubled by Monfils, pouncing on his second serve—Ferrer won 67 percent of his second-serve returns—and saving two of the paltry three break points he faced. It was a walk in the park for the Spaniard.
Haas wasn't so lucky. He appeared to be in control in the first set after winning it 6-3, but fell apart in the next two against Kohlschreiber. Kohlschreiber's serve was his best weapon, winning nine aces and winning 76 percent of his first serve points.
Haas wasn't the only high seed to lose early in the tournament, as Gilles Simon also fell yesterday.
Meanwhile, Isner found himself in a real scuffle with Gulbis, and neither player managed to break the other. But behind 17 aces, Isner won 70 percent of his service points and survived a stiff test.
Day 4 Scores (via ATPWorldTour.com)
(3) Nicolas Almagro def. Michal Przysiezny, 6-4, 7-5
(1) David Ferrer def. Julien Benneteau, 6-2, 6-1
Mikhail Youzhny def. Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-4, 6-3
Jeremy Chardy def. (4) John Isner, 7-6 (7), 6-3
Jarkko Nieminen def. Alejandro Falla, 6-2, 6-3
(5) Jerzy Janowicz def. Joao Sousa, 6-2, 7-5
The wins were decisive—not a single match on Thursday required a third set—the top seeds mostly advanced outside of No. 4 Isner and the quarterfinals are now set at the Valencia Open.
Top seed Ferrer uses an excellent service game (72 percent of total service points won) to cruise to victory against an over-matched Benneteau. No. 3 Almagro had a bit more trouble with Przysiezny, especially in the second set and with Przysiezny's serve—he had 11 aces and won 82 percent of his first-serve points—but was able to preserve a win without going to a third.
And Janowicz escaped a second-set revitalization from his opponent, Sousa, fighting of 13 aces to get the victory.
But Isner couldn't make it a clean sweep for the ranked players, as Chardy ripped 17 aces, won 91 percent of his first-service points and won 75 percent of his total service points. Isner managed to break him just once, and conceded defeat because of his inability to get anything going in his return game.
Day 5 Scores (via ATPWorldTour.com)
Mikhail Youzhny def. Jarkko Nieminen; 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4
No. 1 David Ferrer def. No. 5 Jerzy Janowicz; 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
Dmitry Tursunov def. Jeremy Chardy; 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 Nicolas Almagro def. No. 7 Fabio Fognini; 7-6(6), 6-2
Fans on hand in Valencia were treated to some exciting matches in the tournament's quarterfinals.
The action got started with an incredibly close battle between Mikhail Youzhny and Jarkko Nieminen. The theme of this match was great serving an the ability to win points when it mattered. The two men continued to save themselves on break points, and there were only two broken games all match.
Youzhny was the one who got the points when it counted, though, and he advanced to the semifinals.
He will face Dmitry Tursonov, who was able to slip by Jeremy Chardy in a sloppy match that featured 13 double faults in only two short sets.
On the other side of the draw, No. 1 seed David Ferrer was able to advance as expected, although he did have a tough time with No. 5 Jerzy Janowicz. The players split the first two sets in a competitive battle, but Ferrer pulled away in the final set with a 6-0 win while taking 79 percent of the points.
While he remains a top competitor to win the entire tournament, he will first have to get past Nicolas Almagro, who continues to perform well. The Spanish star struggled with accuracy against Fabio Fognini, but he still has not lost a set this week.
These four remaining players will create what is certain to be a thrilling semifinal round.
Day 6 Scores (via ATPWorldTour.com)
No. 1 David Ferrer def. No. 3 Nicolas Almagro; 6-2, 6-3
Mikhail Youzhny def. Dmitry Tursunov; 6-2, 6-4
Top seed and defending champion David Ferrer will be the prohibitive favorite to capture the title in Valencia again, capping off Saturday's action by easily disposing of native compatriot Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 6-3.
Ferrer beat the only man who has ever pulled off back-to-back trophies at this event with a sharp service game in the opening set, hitting 76 percent of his first serves in play.
There were only three total break point opportunities for Ferrer in that set but he capitalized on two of them, while Almagro didn't even have a chance to break back. That set the tone for the remainder of the match, when the outcome was never really in doubt.
Mikhail Youzhny will do his best to knock off the three-time tournament champion Ferrer in the final, as the Russian advanced past Dmitry Tursunov 6-2, 6-4 in the first semifinal showdown.
An amazing display in defense saw Youzhny win a whopping 50 percent of his return points. That type of grit will be necessary on the indoor hardcourts against Ferrer, who is as physically fit of a player as there is on the ATP.
A win would give Youzhny his second singles title of 2013, which would match his career best for a season.
Day 7 Scores (via ATPWorldTour.com)
Mikhail Youzhny def. No. 1 David Ferrer; 6-3, 7-5
Mikhail Youzhny capped off an impressive tournament to win his second title of the season. He also earned a victory in a clay-court event in Gstaad, Switzerland.
In this matchup, he was able to pull off the upset against top-seeded David Ferrer thanks to a big advantage on first serves. Youzhny won 27 of his 37 points on first serves, including five aces compared to only two double faults.
While Ferrer was solid with his serve as well, he simply could not keep up in the first set. In the second set, the Spanish player just did not get the points that mattered and fell 7-5.
Although Youzhny did not face a single seeded player until the finals, he was solid throughout to earn the title over an impressive field.
Meanwhile, this loss will not affect Ferrer too much after already putting together an outstanding year. He has already qualified for the ATP World Tour finals and should be a top competitor at that prestigious event.