Basilashvili Lifts Munich Trophy

Nikoloz Basilashvili captured his fifth ATP Tour title on Sunday, completing the week at the BMW Open without dropping a set in five matches.

The fifth-seeded Georgian got off to a fast start and came through a 30-minute rain interruption en route to beating seventh seed Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 7-6(5) over 86 minutes in the Munich final.

“It wasn’t easy and I was super-tight at the end,” said Basilashvili. “It was very difficult. It’s never easy playing Jan, he’s a very big fighter and serves really well. I am super happy. It seems like German conditions suit me. This is my fifth [ATP Tour] title and it will give me confidence for the upcoming tournaments.”

Basilashvili, who was competing in his seventh tour-level final (5-2), captured the Qatar ExxonMobil Open crown (d. Bautista Agut) in March. He also recently beat Struff 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the Sardegna Open quarter-finals.

Basilashvili won eight of the first nine points against Struff, showcasing the kind of form that helped him beat second seed Casper Ruud in the semi-finals. Play was suspended due to rain with the Georgian leading 4-2, but Basilashvili returned to wrap up the 35-minute opener without a problem. Basilashvili lost just three service points.

In a competitive second set, Struff was unable to convert one break point in the sixth game. Both players served extremely well in the tie-break, which turned at 4/4 when Struff struck a backhand into the net. Basilashvili completed his 14th win of the season on his second championship point with a forehand winner. He is now 14-2 on German clay, which includes the 2018 and 2019 Hamburg European Open titles.

“It’s a very good boost and to win a lot of matches is very important for the upcoming tournaments,” said Basilashvili. “I was hungry to play well at this tournament…. I’m not looking for a coach right now, but I am travelling with a physio and a fitness coach.”

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Struff, 31, was appearing in his first ATP Tour final and dropped to an 11-10 match record on the season.

“I am definitely disappointed not to have held the trophy here in Munich,” Struff told ATPTour.com. “It was a great week with an appearance in my first ATP Tour final and I hope I can continue this form. Nico played an amazing final today. I served as well as I could, I left a good level on the court today. With Madrid and Rome coming up, I hope I can do some damage there.”

He had been attempting to become the seventh different German champion at the ATP 250 tournament since 1968, following in the footsteps of Jurgen Fassbender (1974), Rolf Gehring (1980), Michael Stich (1994), Philipp Kohlschreiber (2007, ‘12, ‘16), Tommy Haas (2013) and Alexander Zverev (2017-18).

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.

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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.

Struff Survives Krajinovic Thriller In Munich

Jan-Lennard Struff needed three hours and a final-set tie-break to reach his second BMW Open semi-final on Friday.

The seventh seed recovered from a break down on two occasions in the decider and closed the net well in the final-set tie-break to defeat Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3) on Centre Court. Struff is through to his second semi-final in Munich, seven years after reaching the same stage in 2014 (l. to Fognini).

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“It was a very, very hard match,” Struff said in his on-court interview. “I expected a very tough match and a hard fight… In the end, I am very happy that I could reach my second semi-final in Munich.” 

With his first ATP Head2Head victory against Krajinovic (tied at 1-1), Struff improved to 11-6 at the ATP 250. Struff is attempting to reach his maiden ATP Tour championship match this week.

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The 31-year-old will face Ilya Ivashka for a spot in the championship match. The Belarusian recovered from a set and a break down to eliminate top seed and two-time champion Alexander Zverev 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3. Struff won his only previous ATP Head2Head encounter against Ivashka last year.

Due to rain, the two remaining quarter-finals will be completed on Saturday. Casper Ruud was leading John Millman 6-3 and Nikoloz Basilashvili held a 5-4 advantage against Norbert Gombos when rain cancelled play for the day.

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Struff Reaches Fourth Munich Quarter-Final

Jan-Lennard Struff added a fourth quarter-final to his BMW Open resume in Munich on Thursday with a 7-6(3), 6-7(0), 6-2 victory against countryman Dominik Koepfer.

The 31-year-old recovered from 2-4 down in the first set and won the final four games of the match to reach the last eight in Munich after two hours and 39 minutes. Struff struck 11 aces throughout his first ATP Head2Head encounter against Koepfer and saved four of the five break points he faced to improve to 10-6 at the ATP 250.

“I am very, very happy that I turned around the first set,” Struff said in his on-court interview. “I played a not good second-set tie-break. Before [that] the set was okay, but I couldn’t lock into his service games that much… I am very happy that I broke him in the third set and I am very happy to be through. Dominik is a good guy and a very good player.”

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Struff will attempt to reach his second Munich semi-final (2014) when he faces fourth seed Filip Krajinovic on Friday. The World No. 44 lost his only previous match against the Serbian in three sets at the 2014 Hamburg European Open.

“I am really looking forward to my match tomorrow against Filip Krajinovic… I think it is going to be a very tough match. I played him in Hamburg [seven] years ago and lost in three sets. I hope I can beat him tomorrow.”

Nikoloz Basilashvili also reached the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-2 win against Daniel Elahi Galan. The fifth seed converted four of his seven break points to move past the Colombian qualifier in 77 minutes.

Basilashvili will meet Norbert Gombos in the last eight. The lucky loser reached his second quarter-final of the European clay swing with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Federico Coria.

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Struff Blasts Into Munich Second Round; Lajovic Falls

Jan-Lennard Struff blasted his way into the BMW Open second round on Tuesday after he knocked out Slovakian lucky loser Andrej Martin 6-4, 6-3 in 76 minutes.

The seventh-seeded German, who reached the 2014 Munich semi-finals, lost just five of his first-serve points (21/26) and hit six aces. Struff awaits Dominik Koepfer, who ousted three-time champion Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 after two hours and 24 minutes.

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One break of serve in each set proved to be enough for American qualifier Mackenzie McDonald, who knocked out sixth-seeded Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-4 in 86 minutes. The 26-year-old dropped just eight games in two qualifying matches and is playing his first clay-court event since October 2020 at Roland Garros. He takes on Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka in the second round.

Elsewhere, former World No. 19 Pablo Cuevas will play second seed Casper Ruud after a 7-6(4), 0-6, 6-1 first-round win over American Tennys Sandgren in one hour and 47 minutes.

Later in the day, Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan upset Sebastian Korda 6-1, 7-6(7) in one hour and 29 minutes. Korda struggled with his form at the start of the match, losing nine games in a row from 1-1. The World No. 115 did well to stay focused despite a late second-set surge from Korda.

From 2-5 down with Galan serving for the match, the 20-year-old American turned his body language and the momentum around by reeling off four games in a row. The tie-break could have gone either way but ultimately Korda missed an overhead long to give Galan the win. The 24-year-old next plays fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

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Struff Moves Into Cagliari Quarter-finals

© Giampiero Sposito

Fifth seed Jan-Lennard Struff beats qualifier Liam Broady on Wednesday for a place in the Cagliari quarter-finals.

Basilashvili saves five match points against qualifier Kovalik

Fifth seed Jan-Lennard Struff booked his place in the Sardegna Open quarter-finals on Wednesday by beating British qualifier Liam Broady 6-4, 6-2 in 81 minutes. The German, who improves to a 7-7 record on the 2021 season, saved five match points in his first-round win over Portugal’s Joao Sousa on Tuesday.

Struff will next play fourth-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, last month’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open titlist (d. Bautista Agut). Basilashvili saved five match points at 4-5 in the deciding set of a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over qualifier Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia in three hours.

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Elsewhere, Slovenian Aljaz Bedene needed just under two hours to beat Egor Gerasimov of Belarus 6-4, 7-6(5). The pair met in February, with Gerasimov winning their Open Sud de France second-round clash 6-4, 7-6(4). Bedene now challenges second-seeded American Taylor Fritz or Slovakia’s Andrej Martin.

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