Superb Struff downs Fritz in Munich for first ATP Tour title

33-year-old is third-oldest first-time champion in ATP Tour history
April 21, 2024
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Jan-Lennard Struff defeats Taylor Fritz to win the BMW Open in Munich. By ATP Staff

Jan-Lennard Struff banished past championship-match heartache in style on Sunday at the BMW Open in Munich.

The German overcame World No. 15 Taylor Fritz 7-5, 6-3 to lift his maiden ATP Tour title at the clay-court ATP 250. The fourth-seeded Struff entered the final with an 0-3 record in tour-level finals, but he showed no sign of nerves in front of his home fans en route to sealing a 79-minute triumph.

“[It feels] unbelievable, and to do it on home soil is just incredible,” said Struff in his post-match interview. “I waited so long. I’m 33 years old and played so long on Tour. It’s just an amazing feeling to do it here in Germany.”

Aged 33 years and 11 months, Struff became the third-oldest first-time champion since the ATP Tour was established in 1990. The pivotal moments in Struff’s victory came in the first set, when he faced two set points on his own serve at 4-5, 15/40, and then another at 40/Ad. From there, the home favourite reeled off 11 points in a row to take the set.

Struff and Fritz’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head clash on clay was played out in damp, cold conditions. The temperature dropped as low as 3 degrees Celsius during the championship match but that did not prevent the German bringing some real fire to the court. Just as he had in his semi-final upset of second seed Holger Rune, Struff used his powerful forehand to dictate rallies against a similarly high-powered opponent.

The home favourite clinched his victory with a powerful smash before immediately raising his arms in celebration to his team. He converted five of 11 break points he earned against Fritz, according to Infosys ATP Stats, to complete a dominant week on home soil in which he did not drop a set.

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With his triumph, Struff improved to 16-8 in Munich, where he also reached the final in 2021. The German’s other tour-level finals both came in 2023, when he lost to Carlos Alcaraz as a lucky loser in the Madrid championship match and held a match point against Frances Tiafoe in Stuttgart before also falling to defeat.

"I played good tennis this week, I’m very happy," reflected Struff. "I beat good guys and I’m just unbelievably happy that I did it today.”

Struff will on Monday rise four spots to No. 24 in the PIF ATP Rankings as a result of his Munich title run, just three spots shy of his career high. He had the chance to add another trophy to his cabinet later on Sunday, when he took to court alongside countryman Andreas Mies in the doubles final against Yuki Bhambri and Albano Olivetti. However, India's Bhambri and France's Olivetti triumphed 7-6(6), 7-6(5).

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