BRAUNSCHWEIG, July 9, 2016
Thomaz Bellucci is the champion of the €106,500 ATP Challenger Sparkassen Open in Braunschweig. The top-seed from Brazil defeated the tournament’s number two Inigo Cervantes in Saturday’s final 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
About 1,700 spectators enjoyed the sunny conditions on Centre Court, when Bellucci had a strong start into his second title match of the season after he had finished runner-up to Victor Estrella Burgos at the ATP 250 Ecuador Open in Quito in February. The 28-year-old leftie only revealed some weaknesses in the second set, when Cervantes began to find his rhythm but was back on track in the decisive stages of the encounter. Bellucci capitalized on five of his seven break point chances and sealed victory in one hour and 41 minutes.
“I was putting a lot of pressure on him in the beginning of the match. The first set was almost perfect. I started to produce a couple of mistakes in the second set and Inigo started to play well, gaining more confidence. I just tried to keep my focus, not to give up any point and played aggressive,” Bellucci told about the key to success taking away €15,300 in prize money as well as 125 ATP ranking points.
After lifting his ninth ATP Challenger title – his second in Braunschweig – the world number 62 was in a hurry, as he had to leave for the airport heading for Belo Horizonte to represent Brazil at its Group I Davis Cup tie against Ecuador.
“I have to travel tonight. It is good to win a title just ahead of the Davis Cup. It gives me confidence and I feel well prepared. We have a good team and I hope to play well there again.”
However, with the Olympic Games in Rio, Bellucci’s personal season highlight is still to come.
“We played a test event there. We tried the courts, so we got a first impression of the venue. It is a very nice complex with a lot of courts. I think it will be very nice. Everything will be organized very well and the courts will be perfect for the players.”
“I haven’t felt good since the first moment of the match,” runner-up Cervantes told, who didn’t drop a set en-route to the final. “I feel fit but I just played without energy and with not enough power. I was down the first set but managed to come back. Then it was important to start well into the third set, which didn’t work out for me, losing my serve in the opening game. Thomaz was a bit better than me today and deserved to win.
“Tomorrow I will go to Hamburg, playing my second tournament there. Last year I enjoyed it a lot and it was a good experience. This year, we will see what is going to happen,” Cervantes will face German promising youngster Alexander Zverev in the first round.
“It is going to be a tough match but I will try to win. I know him but we have never had the chance to practice together and didn’t play a match. It will be a nice experience.”
Cerretani and Oswald capture second team title
Earlier the day, third seeds James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald rallied back from a set down to overcome Mateusz Kowalczyk and Antonio Sancic 4-6, 7-6, 10-2. The US-American-Austrian-combination had to save three match points in the second set before they finished the encounter in one hour and 44 minutes. It was the second team title for Cerretani and Oswald, who also triumphed at the Marburg Open last week.
“They played very well and also deserved to win, but we worked too hard to give anything away for free. We put a lot of work in every day. This didn’t just happen with a magic pill. We were aggressive, went for the shots and we were able to execute in the important moments,” Cerretani said.
“Playing with James is really intense. He gives 100% on and off the court. We have the same passion and work hard every day. This is a step for us to go up to the next level. Playing ATP events together for the next couple of years is our goal and this win will help us. There are so many short-term relationships in doubles nowadays, but we are planning on a bigger picture,” Oswald added. The Austrian will play the Davis Cup next weekend and Cerretani will team-up with Max Schnur at the Poznan Open before both will be reunited in Kitzbühel the week after.