IRVING, March 23, 2015
Aljaz Bedene captured his ninth ATP Challenger career title winning the final at Irving Tennis Classic 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 against Tim Smyczek.
The 27-year-old US-American needed to finish his semi-final against Gilles Muller first, which was suspended on Saturday due to rain, winning 6-4, 7-6. Smyczek rallied back from 2-6 down in the second set tie-break to seal victory in one hour and 41 minutes.
In the final, however, it was Bedene making the pace in most of the rallies. The world number 115, who reached the final at the ATP 250 event in Chennai earlier this year, fired 15 aces and capitalized on 4 out of his 12 break points to seal victory in two hours and 14 minutes.
“It helped that he played a match before. The first set after I got broken, serving for the set 5-4, won pretty confidently the tie break, and I mean when you are 1 set to love up, it’s always better than being down,” Bedene told after the final. “I did not sleep well, I had some stomach problems, I did not eat well yesterday. Luckily I managed to win, especially the first set. I think it was important. Um, he was better in the second set. In the third, he had a few chances in the beginning, he did not take them, he basically gave me the break and I took it. I’m happy with the result.”
The Slovenian has played in Irving for the first time: “I came from Indian Wells unfortunately I lost too quickly, I did not feel great before coming to this tournament. After a great start of the year my confidence dropped. I guess I got it back this week. I played some great tennis. Winning a tournament, especially this high quality tournament like this, helps with my confidence and can’t wait for Miami tomorrow….I am already playing tomorrow qualies, I’ll do my best to win.”
Robert Lindstedt and Sergiy Stakhovsky lifted their first doubles trophy together beating Benjamin Becker and Philipp Petzschner 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and five minutes. For the 38-year-old Swedish Australian Open doubles champion from 2014, it has been the first Challenger title since 2006.
“The first set to get us a break ahead there, I mean obviously with two double faults from Benni (Benjamin Becker), things that happen. I think second set we played a great game to break him, and we were very solid on our serves, we played some great points on Staky’s serve, it was a very, very solid doubles match today…if you’re solid through the season, you do pretty well,” Lindstedt told. “I think it’s very big of Sergiy to stay and fight through the week when he had a singles tournament that he wasn’t happy with…so thanks to him for that,” the Swede added.