Gerch Delights Home Crowd In Kassel

Lucas Gerch and Jules Okala (photo: Dieter Schachtschneider)

KASSEL, July 23, 2019 (by Dietmar Kaspar)

Lucas Gerch from Germany is the champion of the Wilhelmshöhe Open 2019. The ITF World Tennis Tour M25+ event, which took place at the venue of the KTC Bad Wilhelmshöhe Kassel von 1896, is part of the German Masters Series presented by Wilson.

En route to the final, No. 7 seeded Gerch defeated his 18-year-old compatriot Henri Squire, who entered the competition with a wild card, in the opening round in three sets. Following wins against Nerman Fatic from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Matej Vocel from the Czech Republic, he faceed his countryman Louis Wessels in the stage of the final four. 20-year-old Wessels clinched the title of the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 tournament in Marburg last week.

Left-handed Gerch broke his rival’s serve four times by dropping two service games to secure a 7-5, 6-4 victory after 93 minutes.

In-form Jules Okala prevailed in the top half of the draw. The unseeded French, who claimed the ITF Pro Circuit-titles at Bacau and Getxo in recent weeks, started into the competition with a straight-sets win against German wild card entry Patrick Zahraj. After knocking off German No. 4 seed Marvin Netuschil and No. 5 seed champion Orlando Luz from Brazil, champion of 2018, 21-year-old Okala stopped the way of top seed Sadio Doumbia of France in the semi-finals in two clear sets.

The championship match took place in front of packed stands. Lasting two hours and 40 minutes, Berlin native Gerch outpointed his opponent 111-108 to secure a 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in their first meeting on the tour.

During the ceremony, a happy winner told the spectators: „I am really speechless. I played the best tennis of my life. I had a lot of fun although it was very tough and I had to fight for every point“.

Following his triumph in Iasi, Romania last year, 24-year-old Gerch, who is coached by Jochen Müller, lifted his second singles trophy on the ITF World Tennis Tour.