Garin Glorious: Chilean Continues Breakthrough Season With Munich Title
Chilean Cristian Garin began the season with just one ATP Tour match win. After defeating Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(1) on Sunday to triumph at the BMW Open by FWU, the 22-year-old leaves Munich with his second title, and it’s only the first weekend of May.
"I'm so excited right now," Garin said. "It's amazing. I cannot believe it, so I'm very happy."
It has been a remarkable breakout year for Garin, who with his 19th clay-court win of 2019, is now tied with Guido Pella for the ATP Tour-lead on the surface. The unseeded victor also lifted the trophy in Houston and reached the final in Sao Paulo, where he lost to Pella.
"Of course I need to keep improving. This is just the beginning," Garin said. "This is my first year playing ATP [Tour events full-time], so I need to improve a lot. I've been working hard, so this is a reward from that."
Just two days ago, it appeared Garin may not make it out of the quarter-finals. But he saved two match points against two-time defending Munich champion and top seed Alexander Zverev, defeating the German 6-4, 5-7, 7-5. He has not looked back since, and on Monday, he is projected to climb to a career-high No. 33 in the ATP Rankings. Just more than two months ago, he was 92nd.
It was a tough final as Berrettini not only won his rain-delayed semi-final against Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Sunday, but last week's Budapest champion also carried a nine-match winning streak into his battle with Garin. The Chilean got off to a quick start in the championship match, though, breaking Berrettini's serve twice and frustrating the Italian with his consistency in the first set, leading to plenty of unforced errors.
In the second set, however, Berrettini began to find the range off his forehand wing. And as it drizzled onto the clay, Garin began to lose his rhythm, especially on the backhand side. Despite missing out on his first two chances in the game by failing to put a return in the court, Berrettini finally broke the Chilean before serving out the set to love.
The decider was mostly dominated by serve. But back-to-back breaks from 4-3 allowed Garin to serve for the match, and then Berrettini to retake the momentum by getting back on serve. But Garin played his very best tennis in the tie-break, controlling the court with his positioning on the baseline and showing sensational shotmaking when he was put in tough positions to triumph after two hours and nine minutes.
"I've been working hard. I'm trying to play every point," Garin said. "I'm trying to fight every point in the match and I think to be a good player I've been working a lot on my mentality and fighting experience, so I think that makes me win a lot of matches."
Garin, with the €90,390 he earns for the title, has now pocketed more prize money this year than he had in his career before this season. The Chilean, who won his first ATP Tour match in 2013, also adds 250 ATP Ranking points.
Berrettini, who is projected to reach a career-best 31st in the world on Monday, takes home 150 points and €48,870 in prize money. The Italian has a 15-10 record on the season.
"I'm kind of sad because I lost, but I did my best. I did everything [I could] and I left everything on the court," Berrettini said. "I did two matches in a row and I was feeling really good with my body, so I'm really proud of myself for that because I worked a lot in the preseason and these are the results.
"I want to keep going for sure. I want to win more titles, I want to win more important titles, so that's the way I can improve. I'm really focused and looking forward to improving."
Did You Know?
Garin has been clutch in tight matches this year, winning eight of his nine deciding sets, including all three of his final-set tie-breaks.