Martin Klizan rallied past fifth-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-7(1) 6-3 6-1 to win the indoor World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Slovak, who saved eight match points on his way to the final – five in the quarterfinals against Roberto Bautista Agut and three when facing qualifier Nicolas Mahut in the semis – won six of the seven break points he faced against Monfils in their two-hour match.
Monfils had 12 aces but was broken five times.
The Frenchman could not convert six break points in the first set before he prevailed in the tiebreaker.
But Monfils handed his opponent the first break of the match in the eighth game of the second set with a double fault and his play collapsed afterward.
Monfils won only six points as Klizan led the decider 5-0 and sealed the match with a forehand winner to capture his fourth career title.
Monfils’ record in ATP finals falls to a desultory 5-18, while Klizan took his record to a perfect 4-0, having also won titles in Casablanca (2015), Munich (2014) and St Petersburg (2012).
“I cannot believe that it happened. It was my dream to be on the board with these unbelievably great players. It’s an amazing feeling,” he said.
“Every day I was just fighting. Most of the time I had three-hour matches every day, so the only thing I could do was fight. In the end I saved so many match points. I still cannot believe it.
“In tennis you play best-of-three or best-of-five, so there is always the chance to win the match. So I just tried to fight until the last point and it was a good option.
“This is the best result in my career so far. I’m very, very proud of it. Also in our country, maybe I can be a motivation for the young players. I’m very happy for that.”
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