HEILBRONN, May 20, 2018
Rudolf Molleker caps his dream week by clinching his maiden ATP Challenger title in Heilbronn. The 17-year-old German battles past second seed and World No. 81 Jiri Vesely in Sunday’s singles final of the fifth edition of the €85,000 NECKARCUP.
Molleker struck 11 aces, winning 87 per cent of his first service points. He capitalized on three of his six break point chances, converting his first match point after one hour and 49 minutes.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win my first Challenger title in front of my home crowd,” Molleker was more than happy afterwards. Prior to this week, the teenager has never won a match at ATP Challenger-level and entered the main draw with a wild card. Beating Vesely in the final marked his first win over a top 100-player.
“Ahead of the match, I talked with my coach about the tactics, as he knows Jiri pretty well. I was able to fight back today. I just played good tennis. This has been my best win so far and I am happy to finish the week with the title.”
At 17 years and seven months, Molleker has become the youngest German to clinch a Challenger title since Alexander Zverev in Braunschweig 2014.
“I haven’t really thought about this. It is simply nice to lift the trophy here. The younger, the better but age doesn’t really matter,” he commented.
Molleker €12,250 in prize Money as well as 100 ATP ranking points. He is projected to climb almost to 200 places to a new Career high World No. 300 on Monday.
Junaid/Pel clinch first team title
Earlier in the day, Rameez Junaid of Australia and Dutchman David Pel clinched their first Team title. The duo edged past the all-German-combination of Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 6-2, 2-6, 10-7.
“We sticked to the process. That was key. We played very well in the first set but lost some important points in the second. We sticked to our game and it paid off in the super tie-break. It was nice,” Pel was satisfied with the week. It was the biggest title for the 26-year-old.
Junaid, who points out how comfortable he feels in Heilbronn, captured his 24th trophy on the ATP Challenger Tour.
“It’s a special win for me. This tournament feels like home to me. The people are so nice. My daughter was here. It’s like a family affair. It’s a fun tournament and I am happy that we could win this high-level match against very good opponents,” the 36-year-old commented. The pair will next compete at the ATP Challenger in Loughborough.