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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday February 28, 2021


Juan Manuel Cerundolo is a quick learner. The 19-year-old had never participated in an ATP main draw prior to this week, but on Sunday he stood alone in Cordoba, holding the trophy aloft as the first player to claim a title on his ATP main draw debut since 2004.

Tennis Express


Cerundolo defeated veteran Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 on home soil, capping a thrilling week that saw him become one half of the first pair of Argentinian siblings to play in the same main draw since 1981. Cerundolo and his older brother Francisco each earned their maiden ATP main draw win on Tuesday, and though Francisco fell at the next hurdle, Juan Manuel powered through four more three-set wins to claim the title.


“It’s kind of incredible. I can’t believe it,” Cerundolo said, according to ATPWorldTour.com. “I’m so happy to [win] this tournament and [achieve] this goal that I was hoping would happen sooner or later. But I can’t believe it. There’s so many things in my head right now that I can’t express all of them. The only thing I can say is that I’m very happy and I’m going to enjoy this night.”

At 335, Cerundolo becomes the fifth lowest-ranked ATP title winner since 1990. He will rise to a projected ranking of 181 in the world in Monday’s rankings.

The Argentinian crowd had his back as he turned up the intensity to break a tight third set open and race away with the final four games to take the title. It was a stunning finish for a young southpaw who looked comfortable on the clay, playing his brand of defense and counterpunching to perfection all week long.


 

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