This is an interesting entry, because personally I didn't think that I would be writing something like this after a short period of time. Gaston Gaudio returned to the winners circle for the first time in 4 years, by winning the Tunis Challenger, which is one of the larger Challenger events in terms of ranking points. He defeated Frederico "Gilberto" Gil in the final, who is top 100 now and has been in good form all season. The toughest match of the week was the second rounder against "How Now" Björn Phau where he was down 3-1 and 4-2 in the 3rd set, but luckily was able to break at will and then served it out.
Once he got through that, the weight on the shoulders seemed to be lifted, as he made cassoulet out of Sidorenko for the loss of 2 games in the quarter finals. He played a very solid match, good serving, not much short stuff when it came to length and controlled everything. The semi with Nieminen he continued with the good form, though it was very disappointing that Nieminen had a major problem with the wrist. The readers and myself wish him a speedy recovery, as he is one of the nicest guys on the circuit, a fair sportsman and generally a decent individual.
The final, well like many matches, there were a few key moments and the main two involved Gaudio service games. The first service game of the match, went to a few deuces, and Gaudio had to save break points, once he did that, he was able to settle down into his rhythm and then break Gil straight away and played quality clay tennis with good length, using the angles to get Gil moving and then hitting winners with the backhand. The second set Gil stepped it up and Gaudio had a lapse of concentration and was punished for it, and Gil took the set easy, while Gaudio was preparing for the 3rd set.
Both guys played clownish service games at the start, both served 2 double faults in their games for 1-1, then Gaudio held a big game to take a 2-1 lead saving 4 break points, one with an ace and another dropshot. Gaudio fixed the serving problems to an extent, was able to place it better and then take a more offensive position on the baseline to limit Gil's aggression, but Gil was fighting hard and trying to be more aggressive. The vital break came at 4-3, it was combination of some poor play from Gil and quality groundies from Gaudio lead to the break. Gaston doesn't have a great record in serving out matches, but after going down 0-30 and was able to do it after the 2nd match point, to surprisingly win this event.
What to make of this result. Well, Gaudio has played a few events already with the benefit of wildcards. Interestingly enough this was his first challenger event and he won it, this is the path that he should have taken originally, apart from the Buenos Aires event. Got to play matches to get the match practice and it's easier to achieve this at Challenger level than on the main tour, at the same time playing on the main tour, he had some good performances considering where he came from and this was able to give an indication of where he was at. Winning this challenger, should give him greater confidence and hopefully the organisers will give the man a wildcard to Roland Garros and he can keep doing well in the events leading into Paris, where he can hopefully win a match.
Interesting twist that his great rival Guillermo Coria retired from tennis in the last week, he hasn't been the same since 2005 and Gaudio won an event, I wonder if this helped him, that is unless the individual believes in conspiracy theories.