Federer Returns as the Winner
Former greats Thomas Johansson and Jonas Björkman were responsible for putting together a star-studded lineup, which they did with excellence.
They managed to secure Roger Federer, who hadn't played in Stockholm for ten years, and when it became known, ticket sales exploded. The tournament became a resounding success, and even when the popular Swiss was practicing, the center court was packed.
Overall, it was a splendid tournament with strong names like Ivan Ljubičić, Florian Mayer, James Blake, and Tomáš Berdych.
The only ones who could rival Federer for the audience's appreciation were the Swedes Filip Prpic, Michael Ryderstedt, and Robin Söderling. Robin made it as far as the quarterfinals where he fought valiantly but lost to Mayer.
Despite having some injury issues during the season, Federer still won the tournament. The only person he dropped a set to was his compatriot and friend Stan Wawrinka, who made his debut in the Stockholm Open.
When Federer stood alone as the winner of the tournament, he was presented with the winner's trophy by H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria.
Oh What a Disappointing Withdrawal
Robin Söderling was in fantastic form. He secured ATP victories in Brisbane, Rotterdam, Marseille, and Båstad, and also performed well in Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Naturally, he was one of the hot favorites in Stockholm as well.
But after the Båstad week, he contracted glandular fever and had to withdraw from Stockholm.
In fact, he never returned at all. He was fully determined to do so, but the effects of the illness hindered all attempts, and shortly before Christmas 2015, he announced that he had played his last match at an elite level.
Eleven Stockholm Open debutants participated, and one of them won the entire tournament. That was none other than the top-seeded Frenchman Gaël Monfils, who defeated Jarkko Nieminen in the final. The Finn had become a true stalwart, making this his twelfth consecutive start in the Stockholm Open.
Only one Swede, Michael Ryderstedt, appeared on the starting list, and he was eliminated in the first round.
Rosenholm Ignites a Glimmer of Hope
24-year-old Patrik Rosenholm expressed his gratitude to the tournament organizers for his wild card entry by upsetting last year's champion Gaël Monfils. 2-1 in sets to Rosenholm.
But the upset reverberated so much that young Patrik couldn't reach the same level in the next match and fell to the sixth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny.
Jarkko Nieminen, participating for the 13th but not the last time, also fell in the second round. In his case, it was against Lleyton Hewitt.
One can conclude that the generational shift continued. Thirteen players made their Stockholm debut, and one of them was the finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga from France. However, the winner, Czech Tomáš Berdych, had been here before. He made his debut back in 2004 but had never progressed beyond the quarterfinals until now.
Impressive Comeback by Pim-Pim
An old hero made a comeback. Joachim Johansson, Pim-Pim, had retired a couple of times but decided to make a temporary return to the Royal Tennis Hall.
He had the chance to qualify and surprisingly performed well in the qualifiers. He defeated three accomplished opponents and comfortably won against Colombian Alejandro Falla in the main tournament's first round.
However, his stamina ran out. Pim-Pim lost to Canada's Milos Raonic but still gave him a tough match. Old heroes are always beloved by the tennis-savvy audience.
Spaniard David Ferrer was the top seed and cruised his way to the final. There, he faced Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who had been the world's top-ranked junior but hadn't fully lived up to expectations since then.
The final started well for Ferrer. He won the first set 6–2, but then Dimitrov claimed two straight sets, thus securing his own and Bulgaria's first ATP title.
A Glimpse of a Brighter Future
Three Swedish players got a chance in the tournament: Patrik Rosenholm, Christian Lindell, and Elias Ymer.
Patrik Rosenholm, who surprised two years prior, put up a good fight again. However, Bernard Tomic from Australia was slightly better, winning 6–4 in the tiebreak.
Christian Lindell had grown up in Brazil, but his father is Swedish, so he chose to represent Sweden. Unfortunately, he was eliminated in the first round.
18-year-old Elias Ymer from Skara also lost right away but still showcased his talent for the audience, who always love local players.
Czech Tomáš Berdych came to the Stockholm Open for the fifth time since 2004 and claimed his second victory. He advanced to the second round, defeating German Dustin Brown, Romanian Marius Copil, German Matthias Bachinger, and finally Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Close matches all the way, but Berdych was the winner that autumn.
Second Consecutive Victory for Berdych
Mikael Ymer received a wild card and put up a good fight against German Alexander Zverev, but he didn't quite make it in the tiebreak.
Czech Tomáš Berdych also received a wild card since the deadline had passed when Berdych reached out, and he fared better. He defeated Zverev in the second round and Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals. Dimitrov had won the tournament two years earlier and had been defeated by Berdych in the 2014 final, so he was undoubtedly a tough opponent.
It was a tough match indeed. Berdych won 7–5, 6–4.
The semifinal was easier. Marcos Baghdatis was a skilled player, but he was injured now and should have withdrawn. However, he made an attempt and had to retire after one set.
As a result, Berdych made it to the final for the second consecutive year. This time against American Jack Sock, who was rising as a singles player but couldn't match up this time. Berdych was in good form and full of confidence. He secured his second consecutive victory in Stockholm.
Sock without a Title but a Swedish Triumph
Jack Sock arrived in Stockholm with high hopes. This was his fourth consecutive year participating, and he probably felt that the path to victory was open.
Sock wasn't exactly accustomed to tournament wins, so he was really eager.
But he had to work for it. Three sets and a tiebreak in a deciding match against Tunisian Jaziri, three sets against the Jamaican-German Dustin Brown, two tough sets against the Portuguese Elias – and then three even tougher ones in the semifinal against Alexander Zverev. 6–7, 7–6, 6–4.
No wonder Jack Sock looked a bit exhausted in the final. He lost 7–5, 6–1, but it's also worth noting that the competition was first-rate. Juan Martín del Potro is, after all, a global star.
Both Ymer brothers were in the mix. Elias was eliminated right away, but Mikael had more luck. He defeated Spaniard Verdasco but was defeated in the second round by Croatia's Ivo Karlović.
In the doubles tournament, however, the Ymer brothers excelled. They won the whole thing after beating Mate Pavic and Michael Venus in the final.
Del Potro Only Dropped One Set
This time, Elias was the luckier of the Ymer brothers. Elias won the first match but then fell to top player Fabio Fognini from Italy.
Stockholm's audience loves former champions, so many were rooting for last year's winner, Juan Martín Del Potro. He plays powerfully and always has a special aura. And indeed, things went smoothly for the Argentine again. He won in straight sets against German Jan-Lennard Struff in his first match and had no trouble in the quarterfinal against Japan's Yūichi Sugita either.
However, semifinal opponent Fernando Verdasco was a tough nut to crack. It took a tiebreak in the deciding set, but Del Potro was unchallenged there.
In the final, Grigor Dimitrov wasn't quite himself. He played weakly and uninspired, losing 6–4, 6–2.
– I think my serving made the difference, said Del Potro.
Stefanos' Victory Makes Greece Dance
The 20-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas had already been to the Royal Tennis Hall in 2011 and 2012 to play on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour. He reached the second round at most. Now he returned and made a historic effort, securing his first ATP title.
And that's not all – it was actually Greece's first-ever victory in an ATP tournament.
His mother was a tennis pro in her time, and his father is a tennis coach, so there was definitely cause for celebration. Both of them were present in Stockholm to witness it.
Stefanos only dropped one set on his way to the prize ceremony, and that was in his first match against Australia's John Millman.
In the final, he maneuvered past Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who had never before lost an ATP final.
– I've had an incredibly fun time here in Stockholm, said Tsitsipas. I think that's why it went so well.
Elias Ymer played a really good match against Jack Sock. He took the second set and showcased elegant tennis with many crowd-pleasing elements.
– He has an interesting future, Sock said about the Swede.
Shapovalov Rightfully Claims Victory
The 20-year-old Canadian (who was born in Israel but moved with his family before he was even a year old) just like Tsitsipas, secured his first ATP title in Stockholm and was equally thrilled.
He was the fourth seed in the tournament, but when the top three ranked players were eliminated as early as the second round, he realized he had a chance.
He played four matches and didn't lose a single set.
The Ymer brothers are steadily progressing toward the top each year. Unfortunately, Elias was eliminated in the first round against Japan's Sugita, and Mikael fell in the second round against Germany's Stebe. Mikael has otherwise had a really good year and is now in the top 100 rankings (74 at the time of writing), and is also one of the nominees for "Newcomer of the year" in the 2019 ATP Awards. The future looks very exciting for Swedish tennis!