Fabio Fognini and Marco Cecchinato, Italy’s top two players, were there. And so was Diego Schwartzman, Argentina’s No. 2 for the past couple of seasons.

However, in the end, the last man standing at the inaugural edition of the Cordoba Open was perhaps the most unlikely champion of any player in the field.

Juan Ignacio Londero, who entered the tournament with an 0-3 record for his whole career on the ATP tour, claimed the championship by a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 score line over fellow Argentine Guido Pella.

After Fognini and Cecchinato, the top two seeds at the tournament, fell in their opening matches, it seemed that the path would’ve been clearer for Schwartzman to be the one left basking in the cheers of the home crowd. However, the eighth-seeded Pella stopped his charge before it really got started as he topped the former world No. 11 in straight sets in the quarterfinal.

Londero, who was granted a wild card into the tournament, pulled off an early upset of his own as he beat Nicolas Jarry, the fifth seed, in the first round in straight sets for his first ever main-draw win. Perhaps inspired by that breakthrough, the 25-year-old didn’t drop another set on his way to the final.

Going into the match, Pella—who was playing in his fourth career final—was considered the favorite by way of experience, along with the fact that he’d never lost to Londero, having beaten him the three other times they met at the Challenger and Futures levels. He started off the match quite confidently, taking the first set, 6-3.

Shaking off that disappointment as if he’d been in that situation before, Londero stayed even with Pella through the bulk of the second set. As Pella tried to force a tiebreak, Londero broke his serve to force a decider.

In the final frame, it was all Londero: He broke Pella’s serve three times and rolled to a 6-1 clincher, capping a dream week.

The win lifted Londero, who won two Challenger titles last year, to a career-high No. 69 in the world—and will immediately make it harder for anyone to underestimate him should they square off on the clay.


Juan Ignacio Londero caps perfect week with Cordoba Open title

Juan Ignacio Londero caps perfect week with Cordoba Open title

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