Hurkacz Braves Bonzi Challenge To Claim Marseille Crown

Top seed downs home favourite for sixth ATP Tour title

Hubert Hurkacz was not without his vulnerable moments on Sunday in the final of the Open 13 Provence. Yet the top seed repeatedly defied Marseille local Benjamin Bonzi — and the wishes of a vocal home crowd — with a stunning serving display to lift the title at the indoor ATP 250.

The World No. 11 Hurkacz secured a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory in which he sent down 19 aces and won 93 per cent (41/44) of points behind his first delivery. Even when under pressure, the Pole was relentless with his power and accuracy on serve. He fended off three Bonzi set points at 5-6 in the second set and then delivered a rock-solid tie-break display to seal his first ATP Tour title of 2023.

“I’m super happy today. Congrats to Benjamin, he played really well,” said Hurkacz post-match. ”I think he deserved to win the second set, I just tried to compete as hard as I can… He’s been playing really well this year and for sure he’s going to get a title very soon.”

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Hurkacz is now 10-4 for the season after lifting his first tour-level title since his Halle triumph last June. Although he will not rise any spots in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings as a result of his week in France, he will move to within 96 points of World No. 10 Holger Rune on Monday.

“I think my game is getting better," said Hurkacz. "I’m super happy with the way I competed today. I was able to come up with some good shots and good serves in the important moments, so I’m really happy with that.”

The 26-year-old finished the week in Marseille with a tournament-leading 72 aces. Yet his all-around game also held up well at difficult moments throughout his title run — he was pushed to three sets by Leandro Riedi and Mikael Ymer in his opening two rounds before edging Alexander Bublik in an entertaining semi-final on Saturday.

Despite championship match disappointment in his hometown, Bonzi will rise 15 spots to No. 45 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday after reaching his second tour-level final.

“It was a good week,” reflected Bonzi. “Unfortunately, today was not the win… He was playing very well. He was serving too good for me today. I tried to put pressure on the second set to go to a decider and see what happens. But he was too strong. It was [still] a good week with many things to remember and to improve, so we will see in the next [tournament].”

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Hurkacz and Bonzi had played only once before, when the Pole was a straight-sets winner at a 2018 ATP Challenger Tour event in Brest. He made a fast start to his maiden tour-level meeting with the World No. 60 Bonzi, opening an early 4-1 lead after breaking the Frenchman in the fourth game of the match.

Bonzi had the home fans on their feet when he converted his first break point of the match to reduce his deficit to just one game, but their joy was short-lived. Hurkacz stayed aggressive on return in the following game to break again for 5-3 before re-establishing his serving dominance to take the set.

The late drama in the second set suggested that Bonzi, playing in his second ATP Tour final, had started to take the initiative. Yet after Hurkacz saved the three break points to force a tie-break, the momentum swung back to the Pole. He claimed the only mini break for either player on the first point and delivered a final serving barrage to secure his triumph.

With the win, Hurkacz sealed his second ATP Tour title on indoor hard courts, after his 2021 victory in Metz. He now holds a 6-1 record in tour-level finals.