FÜRTH, June 4, 2016
Jan-Lennard Struff and Radu Albot will compete in Sunday’s final of the €42,500 Franken Challenge in Fürth.
The 26-year-old German had to fight hard to overcome Máximo Gonzalez 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 saving two match points in the second set. Struff fired 10 aces, winning 72% of his first service points to eventually prevail in two hours and 55 minutes.
“It was a very intense match with a lot of long rallies. It was very tough and I wasn’t allowed to get too deep into the defense. Finally I managed to find my rhythm, which made the difference in the end today,” Struff told Tennis TourTalk.
“Of course, I was a bit lucky saving the first match point with a bit of help from the net. However, in tight matches like this, those things can happen,” the world number 101 from Germany said. He also had to rally back in Friday’s encounter against Jozef Kovalik when he was a set and a break down.
“Yesterday was not good, today it was good,” he simply stated. Struff finished runner-up at the Neckarcup in Heilbronn to Nikoloz Basilashvili three weeks ago.
Struff will take on Radu Albot, who dismissed 2014 champion Tobias Kamke, winning 6-1, 6-4. The world number 137 from Moldova saved nine of the 10 break point chances he faced and converted five of his own, the last on match point after one hour and 29 minutes.
“I just tried to play my game and it worked out pretty well,” Albot was satisfied after reaching his first final since the ATP Challenger in Prague in August last year. “He started a bit slow but then he came out very strong at the beginning of the second set. I lost a bit of the focus during my service games but I am happy that I was able to change something and come back, as he was a break up and also had a couple of more break points.”
Although, Albot has advanced to his only first title match in almost one year, he is pleased with his results in recent times.
“I played a couple of good matches. I played well in Paris as well as in Romania, where I beat Mathieu in the main draw. Getting to another final is not a relief but obviously it is a nice feeling.”
Albot is playing in Fürth for the first time and seems to enjoy his stay here so far.
“I planned to come here earlier but I couldn’t make it. I like it here. It is a nice big club with a lot of courts, giving you the chance to practice even when it is more crowded at the early stages of the tournament. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best this week but the local guys were saying that it was much better in the past years. This has been the worst week they have had so far. But today it was sunny and hot compared to the other days. Tomorrow will be another tough match.”
Struff and Albot will meet for the third time with the German leading 2-0 in head to head records. Struff emerged victorious in Heilbronn and Braunschweig last year but always had to go the distance.
In Sunday’s doubles final Facundo Arguello and Roberto Maytin will take on the top-seeds Andrej Martin and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn. The encounter will start at 1 p.m. local time.