Prodigal Son Garin Wins Chile Open In Hometown

Cristian Garin (photo: Chile Dove Men+Care Open)

SANTIAGO/WASHINGTON, March 15, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

This year’s Chile Dove Men+Care Open has a hometown champion, Cristian Garin. On Sunday in Santiago, Chile, the 22nd-ranked Garin won his fifth career ATP Tour title, all on clay. He defeated 105th-ranked Facundo Bagnis of Argentina, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-5, in two hours and 36 minutes at Club Deportivo Universidad Catolica.

Match point was settled as Bagnis hit a forehand return long that ended an 11-shot rally. Immediately, Garin fell to the red clay and celebrated his victory lying flat on his back. The 24-year-old prodigal son of Chilean tennis, who dropped just one set all week, became the first from Chile to win the tournament at home since Fernando Gonzalez at Vina del Mar in 2009.

Afterward, Garin said his biggest object has always been to keep winning titles, “but I was not expecting to win in Chile after the way we started the year.” Garin is now 5-1 in ATP Tour finals and has won five straight.

Considering Garin has battled both injury and COVID-19, which sidelined him from the Australian Open and Aussie Summer Series tournaments earlier this year, he’s made a nice turnaround in quick time following an 0-2 start to his season. This week, seeded first, he strung together four straight victories.

“I always kept on training and staying positive, and I’m so happy that it’s paid off,” said Garin, quoted by the ATP Tour website. “Of course, I miss having a crowd especially while I’m playing at home, but I’m very pleased with this result.”

Meanwhile, the 31-year-old left-handed Bagnis, who turned pro in 2008 and has won 13 ATP Challenger titles – including six in 2016 – was appearing in his first ATP Tour final after beating three seeded players – Frances Tiafoe, Laslo Djere and Federico Delbonis – to reach the title match. It marked the third straight week an Argentine had been in an ATP Tour final during the Golden Swing.

“[Weeks like this] give you a sense of gratification that your hard work is paying off and is bearing fruit,” Bagnis said. “Of course, you want more all the time, and I think that’s great. The moment that you don’t want more it’s time to, well, do what you have to do. But I am still working for that ‘more’ and fighting for my goals.”

Bolelli/Gonzalez win doubles title

The Italian-Argentine team of Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez, seeded fourth, defeated Federico Delbonis of Argentina and Jaume Munar from Spain, 7-6 (4), 6-4 in one hour and 30 minutes.

The triumph is the 35-year-old Bolelli’s sixth doubles title and his first since 2016 in Dubai, while Gonzalez, 37, has now won five times in Golden Swing tournaments and earned nine titles total with eight different playing partners.

“This is my ninth ATP trophy, and my first with Simone, so I’m very happy that we were able to achieve this,” Gonzalez said. “We started playing together last year, post-pandemic around the time of the US Open. We have been playing well in the last few years, but we lost match points last week in Buenos Aires.

“We had that on our mind when we came to Santiago, but every day we’ve been playing better and better. We had to play more aggressive today, especially playing against two experienced clay-court players who are used to slugging out the points.”