HEILBRONN, May 14, 2016
Jan-Lennard Struff and Nikoloz Basilashvili will compete in Sunday’s final of the €64,000 Neckarcup in Heilbronn.
The 26-year-old German cruised past Albert Montanes in pretty chilly conditions on centre court, winning 6-0, 6-3. Struff took the opening set in only 18 minutes, suffering his only service loss in the first game of the second frame. The 2014 Heilbronn champion gained the immediate re-break and sealed victory in only 51 minutes.
“I played very well in the last two matches. Carsten Arriens and I have been working hard and I was able to build up some confidence,” Struff told after reaching his first title match of the season, his first since lifting the trophy in Orleans last October.
“It’s always great to be back in a final but I have to continue like this tomorrow. Obviously no one wants to finish as runner-up,” the world number 107 said.
Struff always seems to enjoy to play in Heilbronn.“
The organisation is excellent and I simply like to play here. A friend arrived from Dortmund today and we will have dinner tonight, maybe watching some football,” he told about his plans to spend Saturday evening in the city.
Earlier in the afternoon, Nikoloz Basilashvili fought past Jozef Kovalik 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. The 24-year-old from Georgia withstood six aces, hitting two of his own and capitalized on all of his three break point opportunities.
“I played really well in the second and third set, so I am happy to be through,” Basilashvili was happy afterwards.
The turning point of the match happened in the second set.
“I lost the rhythm in the first set and I just changed my game a bit in the following. It’s cold but I like to play in those kind of conditions,” the 24-year-old from Tbilisi said, who could even see a flag of Georgia flying in the stands.
“I have some supporters, who attend several tournaments when I play in Germany. That’s nice.”
Basilashvili advanced to his second final of the season after lifting the trophy at the Guangzhou Challenger in March.
“I had a lot of ups and downs this year. I won a strong Challenger in China, followed by a couple of losses in the opening rounds in the United States, when I wasn’t at my best and needed to get some treatment at my hip.”
The world number 125 will prepare for tomorrow in a usual way.
“I will just have some stretching and then enjoy some rest for to be ready for tomorrow. Maybe I will stay here for a bit of sight seeing after the final before leaving for Paris,” he said. Basilashvili will compete in the qualification for Roland Garros.
His only previous meeting with Struff took place at the ATP Challenger in Bergamo in 2013. Back then, Basilashvili was forced to retire with fever in the second set.