Photo: Gastón MonteroJorge Aguilar (CHI)
Rounding off the year, our featured male player is Chile’s Davis Cup player Jorge Aguilar.
Aguilar last featured in June following a run of results that saw him collect two singles titles from three finals, a feat that he repeated over the course of this month.
At 27-years old, Aguilar had featured in a staggering 28 singles finals and 32 doubles finals during his ITF Pro Circuit career coming into the final month of the year. This run saw him pick up 17 titles in singles play and 22 titles in doubles.
This month Aguilar’s three tournaments were all staged in his native Chile in successive weeks leading up to Christmas and began in the city of Temuco.
Aguilar was named the number one seed for the singles event and also for the doubles event with partner Juan Carlos Saez with whom he had already won three titles since first teaming up in late May this year.
The opening round required three sets to earn victory which Aguilar then backed up with two consecutive straight sets wins, including a 64 62 quarterfinal win over the fifth seed Nicolas Gustavo Kauer.
In his semifinal against Spain’s Albert Alcaraz Ivorra, the unseeded Spaniard stunned Aguilar by reeling off six games in succession in the opening set to take it 60. The top seed, behind for the first time in this event fought back but was made to work hard for the victory and two tiebreaks saw him eventually win through to the final 06 76(3) 76(5).
This was Aguilar’s first appearance in an ITF Pro Circuit singles final since his title win in Italy at the start of September this year. Facing him in the final was a fellow Chilean player, Hans Podlipnik-Castillo, who was seeded two.
Podlipnik-Castillo took the first set 63 and this was a good omen as in each of their previous three career encounters the winner of the opening set would win the match. Whether either player was aware of that statistic we don’t know but this match was to follow suit as the title slipped away for Aguilar when losing 75 in the second set.
In the doubles event Aguilar and Saez came into the match fresh from a title winning victory the previous week but here their participation ended in the quarterfinals when giving a walkover win to their opponents.
For the second tournament of the week, taking place in the city of Osorno, the play continued on clay but switched to an indoor venue. Here Aguilar was a wild card entrant but was still seeded number one in the singles event as he had been the previous week.
The doubles event saw a change of partner for Aguilar with Ecuadorian Juan-Sebastian Vivanco coming in. This was their first tournament together and as fourth seeds were eliminated in round one 64 63 to unseeded Brazilians Wilson Leite and Tiago Lopes who would go on to win the doubles title in Osorno.
There was no early exit for Aguilar from the singles event though and after seeing off the challenge from a qualifier in round one he was forced to come from a set down in each of the next two rounds to gain the victories in similar score lines.
First was a second round 46 76(2) 62 win over Albert Alcaraz Ivorra whom he had beaten in the previous week’s semifinal and then Tiago Lopes, seeded six, was defeated 16 76(4) 62 as Aguilar moved into the semifinal.
A comfortable 63 62 semifinal win took him into the final against fourth seeded Guillermo Rivera-Aranguiz. Aguilar dropped a close first set 75 to fall behind for the third time in his last four matches. In his last final Aguilar went on to lose after falling behind but this time the title was to be his as a 63 win in each of the next two sets secured the title.
To round off the month and the year, Aguilar was in action in his home city of Santiago. Here in the capital the action reverted back to outdoor clay courts and Aguilar was named the top seed in both singles and doubles events. For the doubles he welcomed back Juan Carlos Saez as his partner.
The week got off to a great start for Aguilar who dropped just the one game in an opening round defeat of a Chilean qualifier and, in round two, a 64 62 win accounted for his doubles partner from the previous week; Juan-Sebastian Vivanco, who had also come through the qualifying event.
Aguilar recorded another bagel win in the quarterfinal as he saw off Felipe Rios in two contrasting sets 75 60 and this win set up a semifinal showdown with his current doubles partner Juan Carlos Saez, who was seeded fifth.
It was Saez who moved into an early lead when taking the first set with the loss of just one game but a second set tiebreaker saw Aguilar draw level and force the match into a deciding third set. Aguilar pushed on from taking the second set to wrap up the win with a 62 final set triumph to reach a thirty-first career ITF Pro Circuit singles final.
The day before that singles final was to be played Aguilar and Saez were in action in the doubles final. The pair had only teamed up for the first time at the end of May earlier this year and this was their fifth final from eight tournaments but they were unable to make it four titles, going down 36 75 [10-7] to Jorge Montero and Felipe Rios.
Putting this disappointment behind him, Aguilar took to the court the next day to contest the singles final which saw him once again up against Hans Podlipnik-Castillo, seeded two, in a repeat of their final at the beginning of the month in Temuco.
Aguilar took the opening set but just as a revenge victory looked on the cards his second seeded opponent hit back to level the match with a 63 win in the second set. In the deciding set Aguilar reversed that scoreline to end the year with a 64 36 63 win and claiming his nineteenth career ITF Pro Circuit singles title. This title was also his fifth of the year and career eleventh from fifteen finals in Chile.
His performances during the month also saw Aguilar make a return to the ATP Top 200 for the first time since November 2010.