Tallon Griekspoor clinched his maiden ATP Tour singles title following an impressive come-from-behind victory over Benjamin Bonzi at the Tata Open Maharashtra here on Saturday.
In a high-quality fare that lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes, the Dutchman won 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 to become the first men’s singles hard-court titlist from his country since Sjeng Schalken – the losing semifinalist to Pete Sampras at the 2002 US Open – in Stockholm way back in 2001.
“The first title means a lot,” Griekspoor said. “It probably means a lot more to my parents and my two brothers who were watching back home. I am really proud of myself.”
Much of the evening’s tennis was fast and staccato. It was mostly one big serve followed by one crushing groundstroke, with both players almost always on the lookout for the point-ending shot. They only differed in their approaches to the net, with Griekspoor a tad more eager to follow his serve.
Griekspoor, who until the final had won 30 of his 31 service games, continued in the same vein in the opening set. But the run snapped in the 10th game when he missed four first serves and lost all four points as Bonzi pocketed the set 6-4.
It took until the seventh game of the second for Griekspoor to have a good look at the Bonzi serve. That resulted in two breakpoints, but the Frenchman erased both, with a sliced backhand volley and an ace.
The Bonzi serve was threatened again in the 11th game, but this time Griekspoor cracked it open, executing a stunning backhand lob to go up 6-5. Bonzi nearly broke back, but the World No. 95 strung together an ace, a backhand and a forehand winner to even the contest.
A magical return game early in the third set put Griekspoor clearly on the ascendency. Two backhand winners, one down the line and one cross-court, and a superb sliding lob – more a lift – brought him within one point of a 2-1 lead. Bonzi obliged by double-faulting.
The World No. 60 didn’t give up though, pressuring his opponent in the sixth game by getting to two breakpoints. But Griekspoor saved both, courtesy an inch-perfect charge to the net and a splendid low volley, to hold to 4-2. That was Bonzi’s last stand and a comeback was truly beyond him.
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