BENDIGO, January 12, 2020
Philipp Kohlschreiber is the first ATP Challenger champion of the decade winning the Apis Canberra International (Bendigo) singles title at the Fosterville Gold Tennis Centre on Sunday. The 36-year-old German secured a hard fought victory over Emil Ruusuvuori from Finland 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3.
Ruusuvuori secured the early break in the opening set to go up 3-0, but Kohlschreiber was able to break back to level it up at 3-3. From there things remained on serve and headed into a tiebreak, which the German secured 7-5.
The second set remained on serve early, until the Finn secured a break and went out to a 5-3 lead. He held on to close out the set 6-4 and force a decider.
Kohlschreiber drew on his experience to break early in the third, taking a 3-0 lead. He stayed solid on serve to close out the match and claim the title after one hour and 53 minutes.
That winning feeling 🏆.
Philipp Kohlscreiber claims the Apis Canberra International (Bendigo) title.
— Tennis ACT (@TennisCanberra) January 12, 2020
The World No.79 said it was a great way to start 2020.
“I am very happy, playing the first tournament of the new season. It is the best start I could imagine.
“It was a very tough tournament. Tricky conditions, I think we both played a good final, but I think maybe my experience helped me out today.”
Kohlschreiber credited a solid off season for starting his season off well after struggling with some injuries in 2019.
“I had to work very hard in the off season to get fit again, so this is the best payout which you can have. I am very lucky, and I think I am playing really good tennis. Of course, the win this week was very nice leading into the Australian Open.”
By lifting his fourth ATP Challenger career trophy, his first since La Reunion in 2005, Kohlschreiber earned $21,600 in prize money as well as 125 ATP Ranking points. It has been the veteran’s first title since Kitzbühel 2017.
The Bendigo Challenger also commenced on Sunday and will run until Saturday 18 January at the Fosterville Gold Tennis Centre.
Aces for Bushfire Relief
Every ace served during the Apis Canberra International (Bendigo) saw $100 donated to the Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief and recovery.
Sunday 12 January 2020 Total – 18 aces
Apis Canberra International Overall Total – $99,700
Apis Canberra International Ace Leaders
Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) – 50
Harry Bourchier (Tas) – 36
Denis Kudla (USA) – 35
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) – 33
Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) – 31
Donations can be directed to the Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief and recovery efforts here.