BIELLA/STARNBERG, March 22, 2021
Daniel Masur has clinched his first singes title on the ATP Challenger Tour by lifting the trophy of the €44,820 Biella Indoor Challenger 4. The World No. 249 emerged victorious from the battle of two German qualifiers, fighting past Matthias Bachinger 6-3, 6-7(8), 7-5 in Sunday’s final of the fourth consecutive ATP Challenger tournament held at the Palasport Biella in northern Italy.
After two wins in the qualifying over Matija Pecotic from Croatia and Andrea Arnaboldi of Italy, Masur beat No. 4 seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan, Czech youngster Jonas Forejtek, Ukrainian veteran Sergiy Stakhovsky as well as Illya Marchenko from the Ukraine en-route to the title match.
The 26-year-old, nicknamed “Wally” after former Australian professional Wally Masur, withstood 14 aces from Bachinger and broke his rival’s serve five times to prevail after two hours and 19 minutes.
The moment Daniel Masur has been waiting for. 🙌
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) March 21, 2021
Following eight triumphs on the ITF Pro Circuit, Masur lifted his maiden Challenger trophy and earned €6,190 in prize money as well as 80 ATP Ranking points.
“Winning your first tournament at a new level is always a special moment,” Masur told Tennis TourTalk and meinsportpodcast.de in the latest episode of the “Challenger Corner” podcast. “After competing in three semis, it was my first final and then taking the title is a great feeling.”
Final with ups and downs
Asked about the key to success in the championship match, he responded: “I think that my return game was more dangerous throughout the match. I was a break up in the second as well as in the third set but he fought back both times in great style. Physically I felt fine until the end, only a few points made the difference and the match could have gone either way.”
Masur missed two match points in the tie-break of the second set but stayed focused: “Bachi played really well and we both hit a lot of winners in the tie-break. I managed to overcome a couple of close and tough situations throughout the week, which helped me to stay mentally strong and keep going. It was a strong field this week in Biella and I expected to have a lot of hard matches.”
The Bückeburg native, who lives in Bavaria, and Bachinger are hitting partners at the TennisBase Oberhaching and know each other very well. “It was a special situation but also pretty cool. In the past, it was tough for me to compete in a tournament against good friends but I have learned how to perform better in a mental as well as tactical way.”
“Special conditions” in Biella
Masur played all four tournaments in Biella and described the conditions as “special”.
“Accommodation and catering were great but the practice courts were located inside the hotel with a totally different surface compared to the match courts, which made it difficult to prepare for the matches. It was also different to play on the two main courts,” he explained.
“Centre Court was considerably slower with a lot of bad bounces. I think it was the worst hard court I have ever played on. The surface was probably not designed to a four-week competition. So, you needed to adapt to the conditions but I was lucky to play consecutive matches on the same court. Nonetheless, I know that it is still a privilege to play professional tennis in these certain times and I am thankful being able to do so.”
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Masur keeps improving
After his successful performances over the past weeks, in which he also captured a doubles title alongside Belgian veteran Ruben Bemelmans in Quimper, France, Masur, coached by Lars Übel, is sitting at World No. 213 and is getting closer to his career-high ranking of World No. 203 of June 2019. “I feel that certain things like my second serve have improved in practice since December last year and the transition to the matches works well. This is not plannable and you need a bit of luck but I feel healthy. I have also become more experienced over the course of time in terms of tournament scheduling, regeneration, my body and the feeling on court, which helps not to remain a rookie for 10 years. I play solid and hope to continue improving.”
Up next for the Tutzing resident will be the Challenger Citta di Lugano. Masur is scheduled to play Marchenko in the first round. Both traveled together to southern Switzerland by car. “Unfortunately, there was no time to celebrate in Biella, as we started our one and half hour trip to Lugano right after the final in Biella on Sunday evening. I hope to catch up on it when I am returning home next week.”
Glasspool/Reid earn first team title
On Saturday, Lloyd Glasspool from Great Britain and Matt Reid of Australia took their first team title. The No. 4 seeds defeated the all-Ukrainian combination of Denys Molchanov and Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles final. The encounter lasted 59 minutes.