Mehul continues to rest at every opportunity, able to get two weeks off in a row here. Girsh however needs the matches at this point to get ready for the off-season. First up for him was the Stockhom Open(250, Indoor), where he proceeded to blast through the first three rounds without losing a game! Grimaldo was a routine win in the semis, leaving Olav Birkeland to spoil his dreams once again, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3. This loss was particularly dispiriting since on an indoor surface Girsh should be far the better player. Once again he outplayed the Swede, but had to deal with 21 aces and did nothing with 8 break points despite winning nearly a third of his return points overall.
Back at it again the next week, he was in Valencia(500, Indoor). Here he was the third seed, meeting up with Alvarez again in the semifinals. It didn't look good at first, but Girsh rallied for a big 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) win in which he was clearly better over the last couple of sets. An important victory after disappointments the last couple of weeks. Another top-ten foe, Thiago Herrera, proved less of a problem in the final, and Girsh claims his first 500-level title! At 23 and a half, he does so just three weeks younger than Mehul got his first(and only) 500 crown, another example of the uncanny similarity of their career tracks. This win also gives him 51 singles match victories on the year, a new high for him; Mehul set his personal mark in Shanghai, so both are just adding to the best years of their careers now as the season winds down.
Next up ... the Paris Masters.