© www.GEPA-pictures.com

Paolo Lorenzi wins his first ATP World Tour title at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel.

Lorenzi Breaks New Ground In Kitzbuhel

Italian defeats first-time finalist Basilashvili on Saturday

Fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi became the oldest first-time winner on the ATP World Tour by prevailing on Saturday at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel. The Italian played his best match of the tournament in defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili, 6-3, 6-4.

“I think it’s great to win an ATP World Tour trophy,” said Lorenzi. “I don’t look at the age, so I don’t mind if it’s happening at 34.”

Lorenzi’s only other ATP World Tour final came in Sao Paulo in March 2014 (l. Delbonis). At 34 years, 7 months, he surpassed the record set by Victor Estrella Burgos in February 2015 for oldest first-time winner on the ATP World Tour (Quito; 34 years, 6 months). Lorenzi is the third-oldest winner this season on the ATP World Tour, only behind Ivo Karlovic (Newport; 37 years, four months) and Estrella Burgos (Quito; 35 years, 6 months).The Italian is the first player this year to win both an ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour title, having prevailed this year at Challengers in Canberra and Caltanissetta.

“Winning one trophy was a goal for this year, so it’s great for me. I hope this is not the last,” said Lorenzi. “I’m changing a lot. I need to be more aggressive and improve a lot of things, so this is just the start.”

Despite the loss, Basilashvili broke ground by becoming the first player representing Georgia to reach an ATP World Tour final.

“I couldn’t handle my nerves today. I was very tight, very nervous,” said Basilashvili. “I couldn’t handle the pressure, but I think I played great this week and we’ll see for the future.”

In the first set, Lorenzi won 90 per cent of his first serve points and was especially impressive in return games by winning 46 per cent of total points (compared to 26 per cent for Basilashvili). He opened the match by breaking Basilashvili’s serve and then broke once more at 5-3 to take the opening set.

It appeared that Lorenzi would run away with the match when he broke the Georgian to take a 3-1 lead, but Basilashvili fought back to break Lorenzi to love in the next game. The pair traded holds until 5-4, when Lorenzi broke Basilashvili on his first match point opportunity to win his maiden ATP World Tour title.