POPRAD TATRY, June 24, 2017
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe has clinched his first title in four years, winning Saturday’s final of the €64,000 Poprad-Tatry Challenger against Laslo Djere of Serbia 6-0, 6-3.
On sunny but also a bit windy day in Northern Slovakia, the 26-year-old German saved eight of the nine break points he faced, converting five of his own to secure victory in one hour and 19 minutes.
“Laslo is a tough opponent. I knew that I have to fight for the win today. Maybe I was in better physical shape towards the end of the match and I am really happy to win a tournament after more than four years,” Stebe was pleased.
After nearly three years on the sidelines with multiples injuries, the former World No. 71 has returned to his first ATP Challenger final since lifting the trophy in Meknes in 2013.
“It was a really tough week for me, in particular the match against Adam (Pavlasek) in the semi-finals yesterday. If I survived that match, I knew that I would have a chance to win the tournament and somehow I managed to do so.”
Stebe, who practices at the TennisBase Oberhaching also enjoyed the conditions at the foot of the High Tatra Mountains.
“It is a really nice tourament here. I actually arrived here pretty late, as I had made it to the semis in Caltanissetta the week before. I like the venue with the hotel right next to it. I enjoyed the stay in the moutainous region, as I live in Munich and I like to play in the altitude. People were also very nice and gave their best to make it as comfortable as possible for the players.”
The eight hours’ journey time back home by bus will be worth it, as Stebe takes away €9,200 in prize money as well as 90 ATP ranking points. On Monday, the current World No. 215 will return to the Top 200.
Kowalczyk/Mies Take Doubles Crown
Earlier in the day, Mateusz Kowalczyk from Poland and German Andreas Mies clinched their first team title, winning the doubles final 6-3, 7-6 against Luca Margaroli of Switzerland and Austrian Tristan-Samuel Weissborn. The encounter lasted one hour and 23 minutes.
“A final is always special and you have to keep your nerves under control. It was also difficult as we played some good friends of mine,” Mies told after lifting his second ATP Challenger career trophy.
“We had a good start, earning an early break and we took the opening set pretty comfortably. It became more difficult. Unfortunately we missed a chance to close it out earlier and I started to get a bit nervous. However, we both played a good tie-break in the end and I am really happy. It was a great event here and we felt very comfortable here.”
The 26-year-old German is usually teaming up with his compatriot Oscar Otte. The pair captured the title in Rome earlier this season.
“Oscar had to pull out of the tournament this week. He won the singles tournament in Lisbon last week but felt his back hurting afterwards. On Saturday he told me that he wasn’t able to compete in Poprad, so Mateusz asked me and we improved match by match. For sure, we will team up again in the future. We both enjoyed it a lot.”
Mies will compete in the ATP Challenger events in Marburg and Brauschweig next.
“My flight home will be pretty early tomorrow morning, as I have to play a team competition match in Cologne on Monday. I will leave for Kosice airport at about 3:30 am. It is going to be a rough night,” Mies said.