Vesely Joins Exclusive Club After Lifting Pune Title
Czech lifts second ATP Tour title
Five years after capturing his maiden ATP Tour title in Auckland, Jiri Vesely added a second trophy to his collection on Sunday to complete a dramatic week at the Tata Open Maharashtra.
The Czech fired 26 aces to beat Egor Gerasimov 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3 and become only the eighth player since 2013 to save match points in two matches en route to an ATP Tour crown. Vesely saved two match points to overcome Ilya Ivashka in a final-set tie-break to reach the semi-finals and advanced to the championship match after surviving four match points in another final-set tie-break against Ricardas Berankis.
“I have to be realistic. I had a lot of luck in the week, saving six match points [across] two matches in a row,” said Vesely. “I think that happens once in a lifetime, maybe, you never know… Two matches in a row, especially in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, is really big.”
Players To Win A Tournament After Saving Match Points In Two Matches (Since 2013)
|2020||Jiri Vesely||Pune||QF (Ilya Ivashka) & SF (Ricardas Berankis)|
|2018||Bernard Tomic||Chengdu||2R (Lloyd Harris) & F (Fabio Fognini)|
|2017||Victor Estrella Burgos||Quito||2R (Ivo Karlovic) & F (Paolo Lorenzi)|
|2017||Feliciano Lopez||London/Queens's Club||QF (Tomas Berdych) & F (Marin Cilic)|
|2016||Dominic Thiem||Rio de Janeiro||2R (Gastao Elias) & SF (Rafael Nadal)|
|2016||Martin Klizan||Rotterdam||QF (Roberto Bautista Agut) & SF (Nicolas Mahut)|
|2015||Rajeev Ram||Newport||1R (John Isner) & QF (Adrian Mannarino)|
|2013||Jo-Wilfried Tsonga||Marseille||QF (Bernard Tomic) & F (Tomas Berdych)|
The 6’6” left-hander improves to 2-1 in ATP Tour finals after winning his maiden ATP Head2Head match against Gerasimov. Vesely reached his first two championship matches in 2015, lifting the trophy in Auckland (d. Mannarino) and finishing as runner-up in Bucharest (l. to Garcia Lopez).
“I am happy with this week,” said Vesely. “I’ve been waiting for it for so long. I have been working hard, very hard, to be with a trophy again.”
After trading breaks in their opening service games, a tie-break was required to decide the outcome of the first set. Vesely found his best level, landing winners with his backhand and firing powerful serves to establish a 6/2 advantage. Gerasimov struck a short forehand into the net to hand Vesely a one-set lead.
A second tie-break appeared likely, with neither player able to manufacture break points in the opening 10 games of the second set. But Gerasimov struck in the 11th game, driving his backhand to take time away from Vesely and extract multiple errors. The Belarusian levelled the match with an ace out wide, his ninth service winner of the match.
Vesely quickly regrouped, gaining the crucial break of serve in the second game of the deciding set. The Czech won four straight points to break, using his backhand to dictate rallies before ripping a cross-court forehand return to take a 2-0 lead. Vesely maintained his advantage to serve for the title at 5-3 and held to love, capturing the trophy with a strong backhand net approach.
“All the matches throughout the week were really very close,” said Vesely. “It just showed me how important it is to stay calm in the important moments, to try to stick to your guns and try to believe in the important moments that you have all the shots to make it.”
Gerasimov was aiming to become only the second Belarusian to win an ATP Tour singles title. In 2003, Max Mirnyi defeated Raemon Sluiter to lift his only tour-level singles trophy at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
“I am taking all the positives from this,” said Gerasimov. “I wish that many more [finals] come.”
Vesely receives 250 FedEx ATP Ranking points and collects $91,625 in prize money. Gerasimov gains 150 ATP Ranking points and earns $50,710.