SZCZECIN, September 16, 2017
Richard Gasquet and Florian Mayer have set the highly anticipated showdown at the €127,000 Pekao Szczecin Open, winning their semi-final encounters on Saturday.
Gasquet defeated Taro Daniel of Japan 6-4, 6-4. The top seed from France saved all seven break points he faced, converting two of his own to reach his first title match on the ATP Challenger Tour since lifting the trohpy in Bordeaux in 2010.
“It was pretty tough today, as we had a lot of rallies today,” Gasquet told. “Taro had a couple of break points, so the match could have also gone the distance. It is a great win for me and I am very happy to reach the final.
“I have played many big tournaments in my life but this is also a great event here. The organization is good, the Centre Court is very nice and I am spending a wonderful week here.”
Mayer Holds Off Zopp
Mayer had to fight hard to put an end to a 15-match winning streak of Estonia’s Jurgen Zopp. The second seed from Germany rallied from a set down to secure a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 57 minutes. Mayer withstood 11 aces, hitting four of his own to prevail to his first title match since Hamburg in July.
“Jurgen came here with a lot of confidence, winning two Futures and the ATP Challenger in Alphen, so I knew it was going to be very tough,” Mayer told in post-match press conference.
“I actually do not like his powerful game, as he is going for every shot but I managed to stay mentally strong. I gained an early break in the second set, which helped. So I am very happy to win the match.”
Gasquet and Mayer will meet for the eighth time with the Frenchman leading 5-2 in head-to-head records. Their last match took place in Beijing four years ago. Gasquet emerged victorious in straight sets.
“I know him very well, we played a lot of times. It is always tough to play against him. He was inside the Top 20. I have to play my best to take the title,” Gasquet is looking forward to the final.
Koolhof/Sitak Take Doubles Crown
Later in the evening, top seeds Wesley Koohof from the Netherlands and Artem Sitak of New Zealand clinched the doubles title with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Aliaksandr Bury from Belarus and Andreas Siljestrom of Sweden in one hour and 11 minutes.
“It’s always pretty close in doubles. We had about four deuce points in the first set and it had gone either way. The second set was also very tough, we were only one point away from losing the set. We are really glad to get it done in two,” Sitak was pleased with their first team title.
“We arrived pretty early in the week to get used to the courts and the clay. The weather was a bit on and off, rainy, cold. Today it was just cold, no rain, no wind, that was fine to play in,” Koolhof told with a smile. The Dutch has lifted his first doubles trophy without Matwe Middelkoop as partner since 2014.
“Matwe and I split up after Wimbledon and I started to team up with Artem. We made the final in Atlanta, where we couldn’t win againt the Bryans but I am happy to win one here,” Koolhof added.
The pair will next play at the ATP 250 Moselle Open in Metz.