Tata Open Maharashtra | Jiri Vesely outlasts Egor Gerasimov, ends long drought

Cry of delight: Jiri Vesely gives vent to his emotions after winning the title.   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

Jiri Vesely ended a five-year ATP Tour title-drought after beating Egor Gerasimov 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3 in the final of the Tata Open Maharashtra on Sunday.

The Czech, who last won a title at Auckland in early 2015, is the first player outside the top-100 to win India’s only ATP Tour event in its 25-year history. Come Monday, he is set to gain more than 30 places and find a position in the high 70s.

“A week ago I would not have thought of this,” the 26-year-old said after the triumph. “It’s only February and having a title already feels great. In every single year I had big successes, highlights, like playing the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2016 and 2018. But I was never able to push on. So now I need to stay focused in the next tournaments.”

For the 27-year-old Gerasimov, who played his first final, the week gone by was like an audition and at the end of it there was no doubting his talent. Against Vesely, he looked a tad subdued compared to his earlier matches. But he made Vesely play his best match of the tournament.

Vesely started the evening with two crunching forehand winners — a significant improvement from his last two matches — and broke Gerasimov in the very first game. Even as the Belarusian restored parity immediately, Vesely kept up the pressure. In the third and the ninth games, he had Gerasimov at 0-30 but the latter held on admirably. In the tie-break, though, from 3-2, Vesely reeled off four straight points to take a one-set lead.

“I was not really happy with the first set,” Gerasimov said. “I didn’t push in the beginning. Tie-break is a lottery. There wasn’t a big difference between us. Just up and down and I had to execute at the right moment.”

Levelling it

That moment arrived in the 11th game of the second set when he stretched Vesely on the forehand side way beyond the tramlines. One of two errors Vesely made thus was on breakpoint and Gerasimov duly served out the set on his first opportunity.

The third was perhaps Vesely’s best set all week, making 75% of first serves against 63% the whole match and winning 83% of those. He broke to 2-0 after Gerasimov had gone 30-0 up by displaying the kind of staying power in long rallies that had deserted him earlier in the competition. Up 4-2, he finished on the right side of a nearly 20-shot rally that seemed to suck out every last ounce of energy left in Gerasimov. Serving at 5-3, he held to love to seal the contest.

“I have to be realistic,” Vesely said. “I had a lot of luck during the week, saving so many match points, especially in the quarters and semis. It’s something that happens maybe once in a lifetime. I had to stay calm in important moments and I am really happy about that.”

Rungkat’s distinction

Earlier in the evening, Christopher Rungkat became the first Indonesian to win a Tour event when he clinched the doubles title in the company of Swede Andre Goransson, defeating Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski 6-2, 3-6, [10-8].

The results: Finals: Singles: Jiri Vesely (Cze) bt Egor Gerasimov (Blr) 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3.

Doubles: Andre Goransson (Swe) & Christopher Rungkat (Ina) bt Jonathan Erlich (Isr) & Andrei Vasilevski (Blr) 6-2, 3-6, [10-8].

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 10:44:02 AM |

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