Two unseeded players went head to head on Sunday when Ilya Ivashka took on Mick Lescure in the final of the eighth edition of the Südwestbank Tennis Grand Prix in Schwieberdingen.
The world number 708 from Belarus reached the tournament’s climax without dropping a set including a win over top-seed Uladzimir Ignatik. The 21-year-old Frenchman had to overcome a couple of difficult encounters like on Friday’s quarterfinal, in which he had to save four match points before beating German Yannick Maden. Saturday’s semi-final became more comfortable for the world number 714, as Lescure scored a straight set victory over his buddy and countryman Tom Jomby.
In front of about 100 spectators Ivashka had the better start, was more powerful from the baseline and capitalized on his very first break point in the opening game. After another break in the seventh game, the 20-year-old from Minsk served the first set out in 30 minutes.
Lescure gained his first break point of the match in the opening game of the second set and used it when he started to adapt Ivaska’s game better. The French became more solid with his groundstrokes, improved his returns and put more variety in his shots. After the third game, Ivashka took a medical time-out and received treatment on his right arm and seemed to lose his focus in the following. Lescure took the second set in the seventh game after an hour.
During changeover, the Belorussian needed to take another medical time-out but couldn’t find his rhythm again. A couple of unforced errors led to another service loss in the opening game of the final set and although Ivashka tried to stay aggressive, Lescure hit a couple of nice passing shots and had the better answers on court today. Consequently, the French converted his first match point winning 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 37 minutes.
“It was a strange match because Ilya played very well in the first set. After that, however, I started to feel more comfortable on the court. I played more solid and I didn’t lose my serve. That’s why I could win the match today. I am very happy with my performance and my game throughout the week,” Lescure, who is currently ranked on his personal career high, was happy after he gained his very first Future title on the ITF Pro Circuit.
“The carpet here seemed to suit my game pretty well. Next week I’ll play in Stuttgart-Stammheim with a different surface but I will go there trying to gain another title. I will get a bit of a rest, as I will start the tournament on Wednesday,” the French told about his ambitious goals for his next week in Germany.
Ivashka was understandably a bit disappointed afterwards. “After a good start into the match, I do not exactly know what happened then. I lost a bit of my concentration. Unfortunately, I also had to cope with a bit of a headache and I didn’t feel good after the first set. But my opponent played a very good match, especially in the second and third set and it was his tournament,” the Belorussian youngster was a fair loser. “I want to get to the Wimbledon qualifying this season. This is my main goal. Therefore I will play a couple of Futures, Challengers and maybe even ATP tournaments in February,” Ivaskha added about his greatest wish for the year. At first, however, the man from Minsk will play in Stuttgart-Stammheim next week, where he could meet Karen Khachanov. The only 18-year-old Russian, youngest player ever participating for his country in the Davis Cup, had to withdraw from the tournament in Schwieberdingen due to an ankle injury but will return to the court in Swabia’s capital next week.