Paul Claims First ATP Tour Crown In Stockholm
Tommy Paul captured his first ATP Tour title on Saturday to complete a dream week at the Stockholm Open. The American recorded a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory over third seed and defending champion Denis Shapovalov of Canada in two hours and 12 minutes.
With his 25th match win of the season, the 24-year-old is the first American to lift the Stockholm title since James Blake captured his second straight trophy in 2006.
"I played some of my best tennis to beat Denis," said Paul. "It's the most fun I've had playing a tennis tournament. It means everything to win my first title. I've worked so hard to achieve this and I'd like to break into the Top 30 at some point."
Paul barely put a foot wrong in the first set of his maiden tour-level final, putting Shapovalov under pressure in four of the Canadian’s five service games. Paul broke to love at 2-2 and closed out the 41-minute opener with an ace.
It was a different story in the second set as Shapovalov’s first serve started to fire to claim a 3-0 advantage. But Paul threatened to comeback, forcing Shapovalov to win five straight points from 0/40 at 3-1 and recover from 15/40 at 4-2. The pair’s first meeting went to a decider when Paul volleyed a backhand long.
Paul saw Shapovalov save 10 break points, but continued to work hard for his opportunities. Having saved two break points at 3-4 in the decider, Paul broke Shapovalov to love in the next game before coolly closing out the biggest match of his career. It capped a fine week that saw the World No. 53 also beat Leo Borg, Taylor Fritz, Andy Murray and Frances Tiafoe.
Shapovalov had been bidding to become the eighth different player to win back-to-back Stockholm titles in the ATP 250 tournament’s history.
"Tommy played unbelievably all week, so it was just a matter of time before he lifted a trophy," said Shapovalov. "I've had a great season with two finals [also Gonet Geneva Open], so I hope to keep working my way up the [FedEx ATP] Rankings next year."