15 of February 2016 11:21:26
Slovakia’s Martin Klizan holds the winners trophy, Sunday.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands – This time Martin Klizan did not save any match points. But he still had to rally past fifth-seeded Gael Monfils 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-1 to win the indoor World Tennis Tournament on Sunday.
The 26-year-old Slovak, who saved eight match points on his way to the final, won six of the seven break points he faced against Monfils in their two-hour match.
Monfils had 12 aces but was broken five times.
“I cannot believe that it happened,” said Klizan, who saved five match points to upset sixth-seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals and fended off three more in his next match, against Nicolas Mahut.
“Every day I was just fighting,” Klizan said. “Most of the time I had three-hour matches every day, so the only thing I could do was fight. In the end I saved so many match points. I still cannot believe it.”
Monfils could not convert six break points in the first set before he prevailed in the tiebreaker. But the Frenchman handed his opponent the first break of the match in the eighth game of the second set with a double fault and his play collapsed after that.
Monfils, who has a poor 5-18 record in finals, won only six points as Klizan led the decider 5-0 and sealed the match with a forehand winner to capture his fourth career title.
Monfils won the last of his five titles two years ago in Montpellier.
“Martin played a very good match,” he said. “I think he just played a brilliant match today, better than me, so well done to him. I had good matches, but still it’s tough to lose in the final.”
Elsewhere, Kei Nishikori of Japan won his fourth straight Memphis Open title Sunday, beating U.S. teen Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-4.
Nishikori joined Jimmy Connors as the only four-time winners of the event and became only the fourth active player to win an event four times, joining Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Ranked No. 7 in the world, Nishikori won his 11th career title and first since Washington last August. He picked up the $109,950 check with his 17th straight match win in Memphis. Nishikori hasn’t lost at The Racquet Club in the main draw since the first round in 2009.
Nishikori improved to 9-2 this year.
The 18-year-old Fritz already was the youngest U.S player since Michael Chang won Wembley in 1989 at the age of 17 to reach an ATP Tour final and was trying to join Chang as a winner in just his third career ATP event.