BRATISLAVA, November 13, 2016
Norbert Gombos is the champion of the 17th Peugeot Slovak Open, winning Sunday’s final of the €85,000 ATP Challenger event 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Marius Copil from Romania. The 26-year-old Bratislava resident captured his first title on home soil.
In an exciting title match, Copil gained the first two break points of the encounter in the sixth game, which were saved by Gombos with a forehand winner and an ace. The local hero held serve, evened score at 3-3 and the set went into the tie-break. Atmosphere inside the Aegon Arena heated up when Gombos saved three set points with powerful tennis from the baseline and eventually took the breaker 10-8 after just under one hour of play with Copil netting a forehand.
One horrible service game from Gombos with a couple of unforced errors and Copil gained the first break of the match in the seventh game of the second set. The 26-year-old from Romania took the match the distance, firing his 14th ace in the 10th game.
With the support of about 2,000 spectators, Gombos fought back, setting the tone early in the final set and broke serve in the fourth game to seal his first victory at home after two hours and nine minutes.
“There were only few shots, which made the difference today,” Copil told Tennis TourTalk. “I was 6-3 up in the tie-break of the opening set but he played a couple of unbelievable points. If I took the opening set and broke him early in the second, it could have gone in my way but this is tennis. It was his day today. He enjoyed great support throughout the final, which created a great atmophere.
“I am happy with the week and I am getting closer to the Top 100, which is my goal.”
Copil will enjoy his off-season now and has already made up some plans for the next couple of weeks.
“I want to go home to Arad and visit my family and friends and then spend some time in Bucharest, where I live. Going out a bit and enjoy life. After that I will go to the mountains, preparing for the next season. I am going to start 2017 with a Challenger but I am not sure where. Maybe Bangkok, Noumea or Happy Valley. I still have to decide with the team what is the best option for me.”
By winning the biggest of the three ATP Challenger events held on Slovakian soil this season, Gombos takes away €12,250 in prize money as well as 110 ATP Ranking points.
Here is what the champion said: