Mariano Zabaleta ( born February 28, 1978 in Tandil ) is a former Argentine tennis player. He has worked as a professional player from 1996 to 2010 and won three tournaments on the ATP World Tour. His favorite surface was sand, on which he brought all of his tournament victories.
- 2.1 wins
- 2.2 finals
Zabaleta began at the age of seven years with tennis. In 1995, he dominated the junior scene and suffered their only defeat of the year in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open against Peter Wessels. At the Italian Open, the final, he won against Martin Lee 6-4, 6-2, he made no record. The same managed the Argentine at the French Open, where he was victorious against Mariano Puerta 6-2, 6-3. Finally, it was also first in the Orange Bowl, the unofficial ITF Junior World Championship, where he lost in the finals only one proposition in a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 against Tommy Haas. He finished his junior career in the same year as the first in the world rankings and statistics of 81 wins with 6 losses.
In April 1996, Zabaleta celebrated in Birmingham to a 6-4, 6-4 against Bill Behrens his first Challenger tournament victory. A month later he first participated in a tournament of the Tennis Masters Series in Rome, but resigned in the first round.
Even his first Grand Slam appearance at the 1997 French Open ended early. Things went better for the Argentines at the French Open in 1998, when he threw out of the tournament in the first round the world at that time ranked second Petr Korda 6-0, 6-2, 3:6, 4:6, 6:3. He went on to win against Jeff Tarango, before he retired in the third round against the Moroccan Hicham Arazi. In the same year Zabaleta took in Bogotá his first title on the ATP World Tour and was at the end of the year for the first time among the top 100 in the world rankings.
In 1999 he reached the Hamburg Masters the final, but lost to Marcelo Ríos with 7:65, 5:7, 7:5, 6:75, 2:6. The game took a total of 4 hours and 7 minutes and was the hitherto longest of his professional career. More Finaleinzüge and consistent results brought him on 3 April 2000 at No. 21 in the world rankings, the best result of his career. At the U.S. Open 2001 Zabaleta made the quarter-finals for attention. On the way, he defeated, among others, the former top 10 player Sébastien Grosjean, losing in the quarterfinals but clearly against Russian Marat Safin.
In 2003 he celebrated his second ATP tournament win in Bastad. After a semi-final victory against Carlos Moyá he defeated Nicolas Lapentti in the final 6-3, 6-4. A year later Zabaleta defended his title at this tournament with a final victory over the reigning French Open champion Gastón Gaudio.
Other achievements were made in the following years, so that the Argentines fell out of the top 100 in the world rankings and finally again had to play in Challenger tournaments. That changed in 2007, when Zabaleta won the Challenger tournaments in La Serena and Bermuda and the final of the ATP tournament in Houston achieved what brought him back among the top ranked 100 players. However, this should not last for long: through many injuries, he could only participate in a few tournaments in 2008 and eventually even fell out of the top 1,000.
In March 2009, Zabaleta reached the Challenger final in Santiago de Chile, which he lost to his compatriot Máximo González with 4:6, 3:6. In 2010 he ended his professional career.