October 9, 2015

Cuevas Claims Brazil Open


(February 15, 2015) No. 32 Pablo Cuevas won his third career ATP title on Sunday beating qualifier Luca Vanni 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4) for Brazil Open crown in Sao Paulo.

Cuevas, from Uruguay has won all three of his titles on clay courts.

“We were both very nervous, “Cuevas said. “I think it was the first time I played a final as the favourite. I thought that I couldn’t lose when that happens, but the matches become more difficult. In front of me I had someone that was playing with a lot of confidence and with a great serve. There were many mistakes at the end and the winner was the one who failed less than the other.

“I’m having a great comeback. I dream it will be good, but it’s better than I thought. I’m happy and enjoying the moment. But I’m healthy and I want more. I think I can give more and I thought about it when I could not play.”

The Italian Vanni, ranked 149th in the world had a career had never won a match on the ATP World Tour before this week. He advanced to the second round when top seed Feliciano Lopez pulled out with an injury and then advanced the final with wins over qualifier Thiemo de Bakker, Dusan Lajovic and Joao Souza.

“It was the best week of my career,” Vanni said. He was the first qualifier to ever reach the Sao Paulo final.

“I’m so happy. It was a close match. I fought hard against Cuevas. I’m so proud of myself,” Vanni said.

“I was in the chair before I served for the match and was thinking we are 1-all in the first set. I didn’t want to think we were at 5-4 and I was serving for the championship. I started with a good serve and then he played solid and didn’t miss a ball. He put every ball inside the court. I took some risks, which can be good sometimes and sometimes not. But I have to be satisfied after this week.”

“There couldn’t be a more difficult match to end the tournament,” Cuevas said. “I started playing well but things changed quickly in the second set. Maybe I relaxed too much. I’m glad that in the end I was able to come away with the title.”

Cuevas will move into the top 25, which will be a career high for the 29-year-old.


São Paulo: What To Do Other Than Watch Nadal


By Barbara Galiza

(February 13, 2013) São Paulo – If you’ve seen the video of Rafael Nadal’s entrance in São Paulo Tuesday night (posted on his Facebook), you probably got excited about the tournament. Very few ATP 250 events can proud themselves into bringing a 10,000 crowd for a doubles first round at 11pm. Sure the tournament is currently far from perfect – hot arena, court complaints – but the major city has much to offer.

On Sunday, the final (that could include the Argentine Juan Monaco,  the Spaniard Nicolas Almagro or even the local Thomaz Bellucci) will make the Ibirapuera arena boil. So why not relax first in the biggest park in São Paulo, that goes by the same name, right on the corner of the grounds? To find out what are the best things to do in the city, I had a chat with two press room neighbors: Sheila Vieira and Felipe Priante, from Tênis Brasil. They shared what are the must-do things in São Paulo.


Where Rio de Janeiro is famous for the cities, “paulistas” got to rely on their parks to enjoy the Brazilian Summer. On Sundays, the streets around and connecting the three biggest parks (Ibirapuera, Villa-Lobos and Parque do Povo) close, giving cyclists over 10km of free space.

Federer in Brazil

Mercado Municipal Paulistano

Opened in 1933, this is the place to find cheap things in São Paulo. Shopping is the city’s middle name and in the Municipal Market, you can buy fruits, vegetables, meats, spices and still eat the traditional “mortadela sandwich”. It is always absolutely packed but it was visited by Roger Federer last month, during his South American exhibition tour. If Federer can survive the masses, so you can you.


The São Paulo Modern Art Museum is not only a beautiful concrete and glass structure built in 1968, but it’s also located in the busiest street in the city, Avenida Paulista. Their collection includes a handful of Degas, Van Goghs, Cézannes and more. They also have a few exhibitions going on at a time, check out before you go

Bairro da Liberdade

Brazil is the biggest home outside Japan for Japanese people and they’re mostly located in São Paulo. Bairro da Liberdade is the Japanese neighborhood in the city. Expect to find there the best sushi places, food fairs that sell gyoza in the streets, traditional clothes shops and other Asian hard-to-find products.

Museu do Futebol

If you’re at the country of football, you might as well learn something about the most popular sport in the world. Located in the Pacaembú Stadium, home of Corinthians.

Vila Madalena

The neighborhood with the coolest bars. It has rich people and normal people, everyone having a drink. If you’re still hung up on the Football Museum, check out São Cristóvão – a bar football-themed where they sell vintage jerseys.

Even when Rafa isn’t playing, São Paulo is still full of sights and touristic attractions. If you’re looking for more things to do, the historic Casa das Rosas and the famous shopping streets, like Oscar Freire, are all good places to see before or after the tennis.

Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open  as media in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.


Alves Fails to Qualify, Questions About Court Conditions at Brasil Open

Brazil Open

By Barbara Galiza


(February 10, 2013) Even with an impressionable run in the Davis Cup play-off against America last week, Brazilian Thiago Alves still failed to quality for his home tournament. The 135th player in the world fell in the second round of qualifying and his reaction hinted the indoor clay at São Paulo was to blame. After his loss, the Brazilian smacked his racket and kicked the surface so hard, some areas had to be refilled.


Fabio Fognini‘s coach, José Perla, also complained about the surface, but on Twitter: “The only problem with São Paulo are the courts. They are in terrible conditions and the balls are from the supermarket. (…) We hope no one gets hurt.”


The ATP 250 São Paulo has the presence of Rafael Nadal confirmed, after just returning to tour last week from a seven-month injury lay-off. The Spaniard will make his debut on Tuesday, but the organizers insist the courts will be in perfect condition for the start of the tournament tomorrow.


“The courts are still being adjusted. The clay hasn’t even had a month to settle down (since the Federer Tour exhibitions, held on the same site, but on hardcourts). The people from the ATP will still arrive and make the conditions 100% for the start of the tournament,” says Brasil Open’s press agent.


Barbara Galiza is a journalist from Rio de Janeiro covering the Brasil Open in São Paulo for Tennis Panorama. She likes tennis and writing. Sometimes she blogs, most of the time she tweets. – @fiercetennis. Follow her São Paulo updates on @TennisNewsTPN.