HEILBRONN, May 17, 2015
The 32-men-draw of the second edition of the Neckar Cup in Heilbronn has been whittled down to just two players when Germany’s rising tennis hope Alexander Zverev defeated Guido Pella in the final winning 6-1, 7-6.
The 18-year-old German controlled the match right from the beginning but it wasn’t as easy as the scoreboard might tell. Zverev had to save five break points in the opening set to claim it after 33 minutes, serving big in the deciding moments.
Pella found his rhythm with the beginning of the second set but couldn’t confirm the only break he gained in the third game. The world number 105 was too solid from the baseline, dictating most of the rallies and eventually converted his third match ball to seal victory in one hour and 43 minutes.
“Last year, I was still the newcomer. Most of the players didn’t know me. Now, I have established myself a bit on the tour and I feel good” Zverev told after claiming his second ATP Challenger title following the victory in Braunschweig last year. “I hope that I can play like this in Paris next week. Of course, I am a bit tired, as I made it to the final day in the entire last three weeks but I am looking forward to Roland Garros.”
Zverev will crack the top 100 next week for the first time. “I do not really care about my ranking on Monday. I am just happy that I made it into the top 100, which gives me the chance to play the main draw in a lot of tournaments. Through these victories, I will probably be able to get into the main draw in Wimbledon, which is an important step in my career and a dream would come true.
If Zverev returns to Heilbronn in 2015 is understandably not certain at the moment. “To be honest, I hope that I will not return to the Neckarcup next year, as I would prefer playing in Rome the ATP Masters 1000 event. But in case my ranking is not good enough to enter the main draw in Rome, I will come back, but there is still one year to go.”
Earlier the day, second-seeded pair of Mateusz Kowalczyk and Igor Zelenay claimed their first team title winning the final 6-4, 6-3 against the German tandem of Dominik Meffert and Tim Puetz in 57 minutes.
“I think we both served well today and tried to find our way to the net as often as possible, which was important as our opponents return very well,” Zelenay told about the key to success.
“I actually do not know why I seem to play that well here in this area,” Kowalczyk said. The Pole has already made it into the final of the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart twice, winning the final there last year. “I like these places here. I love the courts and the tournaments are really well prepared. Maybe that’s why I feel comfortable here,” he explained.
“We started to team up this season in Israel and match by match it is getting better and better. We are working hard for being successful. Now, we will have a week off and then we are going to play more Challengers but also fight to get into the World Tour events as well,” they told about their further schedule.
The organizers of the event were pretty satisfied with the week. “Between 6,000 and 7,000 spectators came to the venue over the last nine days,” told Tom Bucher, CEO of the organizing company C2B and added that the tournament’s prize money for the 2016 edition will be increased to € 64,000.