Struff Reaches First ATP Tour Final In Munich
Jan-Lennard Struff bounced back from a slow start on Saturday to book a place in his first ATP Tour final at the BMW Open. The seventh-seeded German broke a seven-match losing streak in semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka in 87 minutes.
"I am happy to have reached my first final on home soil in Germany and I will try my best tomorrow," said the 31-year-old from Warstein, a 360-mile car ride north of Munich.
Struff will next challenge fifth-seeded Georgia Nikoloz Basilashvili in Sunday’s final. Struff is tied at 2-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Basilashvili, who won their recent Sardegna Open quarter-final clash 7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
Ivashka raced out to a 3-0 lead, before Struff started to find his service rhythm and forehand range. Struff, who saved three break points at 4-3, closed out the 48-minute opener with an unreturned serve.
Ivashka showed fighting spirit by saving three break points in the opening game of the second set, but Struff make the breakthrough two games later with a powerful backhand. The German gained a 4-1 advantage with a forehand return winner and didn’t look back.
The 27-year-old Ivashka, who beat two-time former champion and top seed Alexander Zverev on Friday, had also been attempting to reach his first ATP Tour final.
In the second semi-final, Basilashvili swept past second-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-2 in 71 minutes for a place in his seventh ATP Tour final (4-2 record).
Basilashvili, who captured his fourth title in March at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Bautista Agut), won nine straight games from 0-1 in the first set to establish a 3-0 lead in the second set. Ruud, who was appearing in his 10th tour-level semi-final, is now 12-5 on the season.
“I am feeling good and I am feeling fresh," said Basilashvili. "I am looking forward to the final. I feel confident here and the court suits me, so it will be an interesting match tomorrow as we played recently in Italy.”
This morning, Ruud completed a 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final victory over eighth-seeded Australian John Millman in one hour and 31 minutes, which had been interrupted by rain on Friday. Basilashvili also overcame Slovakian lucky loser Norbert Gombos 6-4, 6-4 in 84 minutes.