First-Time Winners: Ramos-Vinolas, Lorenzi, Carreno Busta
ATPWorldTour.com pays tribute to the first-time winners on the ATP World Tour in 2016.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas – Bastad [Ramos-Vinolas Spotlight]
Competing in his first clay court event since reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final two months earlier at Roland Garros, Ramos-Violas once again showed off his red-clay prowess by capturing his first ATP World Tour title in July in Bastad. After defeating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer for the first time in seven tries in his semi-final win, Ramos-Vinolas prevailed in another all-Spanish encounter by defeating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4 in the championship match. The win also enabled him to snap a three-match losing streak against Verdasco.
“I cannot be more happy after a long time waiting. I have been working very hard,” said Ramos-Vinolas. “Everybody wants to win or dreams of winning a title. It was the same for me. It was important for me to win one ATP World Tour title.”
The Spaniard followed up his breakthrough in Bastad by reaching another ATP World Tour final in September in Chengdu (l. Khachanov). Ramos-Vinolas reached his career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 26 in October.
Paolo Lorenzi – Kitzbuhel [Lorenzi Spotlight]
The feisty Italian broke ground in July in Kitzbuhel by becoming the oldest first-time winner on the ATP World Tour at 34 years, 7 months. With his 6-3, 6-4 victory in the final over Nikoloz Basilashvili, Lorenzi also finished 2016 as the third-oldest winner in 2016 on the ATP World Tour. only behind Ivo Karlovic (Newport; 37 years, four months) and Estrella Burgos (Quito; 35 years, six months).The Italian also became the first player that season to win both an ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour title, having previously prevailed at Challengers in Canberra, Australia and Caltanissetta, Italy.
“I think it’s great to win an ATP trophy. I don’t look at the age. I can say that I’m really happy and I don’t mind if it’s happening at 34,” said Lorenzi. “When I was younger, I think the dream is to become No. 1 and win a Grand Slam, but of course it’s not so easy and only a few players can do this. But a goal of this year was to win one trophy, so this is great for me.”
Lorenzi would go on to reach the third round of the US Open, marking his best appearance at a Grand Slam. He also recorded a quarter-final showing in September in St. Petersburg, and achieved a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking that same month of No. 35. The year was also a success off the court for Lorenzi as he married Elisa Braccini in December.
Pablo Carreno Busta – Winston-Salem [Carreno Busta Spotlight]
Having finished runner-up earlier in the year in Sao Paulo and Estoril, the third time proved to be the charm for Carreno Busta in August in Winston-Salem. Facing fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the final, the Barcelona resident rallied from down a set and a break to prevail 6-7(6), 7-6(1), 6-4.
“This is amazing. This is an incredible feeling. To win my first ATP World Tour title and then playing against Bautista [Agut], a top player, is really tough,” said Carreno Busta. “When you continue working and you continue fighting all the time and finally the result arrives, for me, it's really, really good.”
His top form carried over into the US Open, where he reached the doubles final with another Spaniard in Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (l. Murray/Soares). Carreno Busta went on to win his second ATP World Tour title in October in Moscow (d. Fognini) and currently sits at a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 30.