This year’s edition of the “Golden Swing”—the stretch of winter clay-court ATP tournaments through Latin America—has just wrapped up, and it seems like there was one surprise or another every week.
Some of those, along with a few shockers from recent years, are highlighted here, showing that the dirt can bedevil even the greatest players.
Londero the Long Shot
At the 2019 Cordoba Open, which kicked off the swing, one of the biggest surprises of the season to date took place as Juan Ignacio Londero—who had never won a tour-level match—claimed the title over fellow Argentine Guido Pella.
Fin de una semana inolvidable, quiero agradecer a @sportslab.ar , al gringo y @agustincaceras , también todo el apoyo y aliento que recibimos durante todo el torneo. Ahora a descansar y disfrutar de este momento mágico! @asicsargentinaoficial @gaston.montironi @hydrogen_official ???? @wilsontennis @oakley @torneos_ok #ascistennis #playtheunplayable #cordobaopen #hydrogen #atpworldtour #wilson #oakley
Djere’s Endearing Triumph
The second unexpected run to a title this year occurred in Sao Paolo, Brazil, when Laslo Djere topped the young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. After the final, the Serb let the world know what inspired his run.
Nadal Doesn’t Dominate
Rafael Nadal has claimed his share of titles during the winter months, but has also tasted defeat of late. In 2016, in only their second meeting, Dominic Thiem stopped Nadal in the semifinals of the Argentina Open after being up a match point. He experienced a similar result the year prior at the Rio Open, when Fabio Fognini stopped him at the same stage.
Estrella Burgos: A Star Is Born
Before Cordoba, the opening event of the Golden Swing was held in Quito, Ecuador. The first edition in 2015 saw a hometown hero come through as Victor Estrella Burgos won his first career title. Buoyed by that success, Burgos would go on tow in the title the next two years.
The King of the Swing
Nadal has nearly every clay-court record in his possession, but there’s one missing from his grasp: being the all-time title leader through the four tournaments. That distinguished mark belongs to his countryman David Ferrer with seven. This is Ferrer’s last year on tour, so maybe Nadal can catch him in the future.
Follow Van on Twitter: @Van_Sias