BRAUNSCHWEIG, July 15, 2017
Nicola Kuhn capped his fabulous run at the €127,000 Sparkassen Open by lifting his first title on the ATP Challenger Tour in Braunschweig on Saturday afternoon. The 17-year-old Spaniard benefited from the retirement of Croat Viktor Galovic, leading 2-6, 7-5, 4-2.
Galovic, who won his maiden Challenger title in Recanati last weekend, dominated the opening set with his powerful serve but Kuhn, who battled through the qualifying, fought back and broke in the 11th game of the second set to serve out in the following.
The teenager from Torrevieja also set the tone early in the deciding set, gaining a break in the opening game before Galovic got injured at his leg and was forced to retire after one hour and 48 minutes.
“At his age I was at home playing PlayStation,” Galovic joked during the on-court ceremony. “He is an incredible player. He did a great job this week.”
Kuhn joins the elite club of players aged 17 and under to win an ATP Challenger title in 2017. Earlier this season, Canada’s teen sensations Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov took titles in Lyon and Drummondville.
“This has been my best week in my career so far,” Kuhn told during the on-court ceremony and only struggled a bit with the German language, when he “thanked all of his parents.”
“I am not used to do this in German, so sorry for any mistakes,” the grounded and sympathic teen explained with a smile.
Kuhn, who started the week ranked World No. 501, is projected to crack the Top 250 on Monday. He takes away €18,290 in prize money as well as 125 ATP ranking points.
Knowle/Zelenay Take Doubles Trophy
Julian Knowle from Austria and Slovakian Igor Zelenay captured the doubles title, winning 6-3, 7-6 over German duo Kevin Krawietz and Gerno Kretschmer. The encounter lasted one hour and 21 minutes.
“I am very happy to win such a big Challenger. The match was tougher than the scoreboard tells. It wasn’t easy at all. We play well together but we will have different schedules in the following weeks, as Julian’s ranking is higher than mine,” Zelenay told Tennis TourTalk after lifting the fourth trophy with the Austrian veteran.
“I think that we were the better team for most parts of the final. We had the chance to close it out a bit earlier but we stayed focused managed to win the title in the end. I will play with Philipp Petzschner in Bastad next, followed by Hamburg qualifying maybe and then hopefully Kitzbühel,” Knowle added.