Silky Sonego Charges To Metz Title

Italian lifts third ATP Tour trophy in France, his first on hard courts

Lorenzo Sonego’s perfect week at the Moselle Open is complete.

The Italian downed seventh seed Alexander Bublik 7-6(3), 6-2 in the championship match in Metz on Sunday to claim his first ATP Tour title of 2022. The 27-year-old’s 87-minute victory ensured he will depart France not having dropped a set at the ATP 250 indoor hard-court event.

“I improved my tennis every day, and I’m really happy for this match and this tournament," said Sonego after the match. "I like the atmosphere here, it was unbelievable today and yesterday and this week. It’s really tough to play against Alexander, because he is an unbelievable player with an amazing serve, good talent, and it is always tough to play him.”

Appearing in his fifth tour-level final, Sonego crucially recovered 0/40 to hold in the fifth game of the match before edging Bublik in a hard-fought opening set by raising his level in the tie-break. The Italian then kept his composure as Bublik produced an array of trick shots in the second set to seal the win and extend his ATP Head2Head series lead against the Kazakh to 4-0.

“This is an emotional moment for me, because I had a tough year," said Sonego, who is now 23-24 for the 2022 season. "Now I’m going to enjoy this moment.”

Sunday’s final was Sonego’s first on the ATP Tour since Eastbourne in June 2021, but the Italian showed no sign of nerves as he picked up where he left off in Saturday’s semi-final triumph against second seed Hubert Hurkacz. The Italian struck the ball crisply from deep and was once again impressive on serve, winning 82 per cent (36/44) of points behind his first delivery overall.

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Bublik had clinched his maiden ATP Tour trophy on French indoor hard courts in Montpellier in February, but the World No. 44 was unable to cap a dream debut week in Metz with a trophy as he struggled to effectively counter against a confident Sonego.

“Big congrats to Lorenzo. It’s always a pleasure to lose against you, as I told you at the net!” joked Bublik at the trophy presentation. “Thanks to my team, thanks to everyone for supporting me and I was happy to be back in the finals in France.”

As well as Bublik, Sonego also defeated seeded players Aslan Karatsev and Hubert Hurkacz in Metz, where he was making his third appearance. Sonego’s run in north-eastern France has propelled the Italian up 21 spots to No. 44 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

Sonego’s previous Tour titles were won on grass in Antalya in 2019 and clay in Cagliari in 2021. The 27-year-old is the fourth Italian tour-level singles champion of the year, with Matteo Berrettini, Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner also lifting trophies in 2022.