Greek track defeats Bonzi for first ATP Tour title at Maharashtra Open

Tallon Greek track reached the final of the Maharashtra Open ATP 250 and won 96.77% of his service games. His opponent, 26-year-old Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi, had dropped just one set leading up to the title fight, and after drilling a hole through the Dutchman’s serve to make a 5-4 breakup in Saturday’s opener, he appeared to be the favorite for the crown.

But Greek track, number 95, had very different plans. And spurred on by a packed, boisterous, underdog-loving Pune crowd, he turned the one-set deficit to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 for his first title at this level.

The two had played a lot of youth tennis together and had a Challenger win in the 2021 season, withGreek track taking eight of those titles and Bonzi six. Both were in their first-ever ATP World Tour finals and served quite well – and it was only that mistake late in the first set when a Greek track double faulted that gave the Frenchman the lead.

It was difficult to score points from behind, so both were determined to run to the net and look for volleys. Greek track has a rather extravagant inside-out forehand that he used to poke holes in Bonzi’s confidence and slowly dismantle his serve.

But it was the vicious lob that hurt Bonzi twice in crucial moments and opened the door for Greek track. With rallies difficult to extend due to evening conditions, the Dutchman lured Bonzi to the net, defended the short, cut volley well, then sent the ball looping back to the baseline, to earn the break points that mattered – late in the second set and early in the third.

Bonzi’s serve would begin to melt the moment his opponent’s came together, with the former leaking points if not games as Greek track showed big heart to wrest the second set from the Frenchman.

It has been almost ten years since someone from the Netherlands won a singles title in the Tour. And now suddenly a peloton breaks – Tim van Rijthoven closed 2022 well, and Botic van de Zandschulp lost in the semi-finals on Friday – through in the Tour with great results.

When asked to whom he attributed the victory in the first week of the season, Greek track replied β€œto myself”. While a Dutch resurgence is underway, in addition to his compatriots,Greekspoor has two brothers who play tennis – all training together and pushing each other. β€œMaybe this title means a lot more to my family, friends and brothers than it does to me. It will bring joy to the people at home. I had good off-season training and confidence today, and it’s for those who believed in me,” he said.

Greek track would get some Dutch support in the stands – employees of a Pune-based aerospace components company trudge to Balewadi to watch the bunch of Dutch players rise through the ranks.

“It took a while, but we kept encouraging him. Great to see a Dutchman win,” Martin Durville, who has lived here for 13 years, would say. “Our last great tennis hero was Richard Krajeck, when he won Wimbledon ( in 1996. So it’s good to watch the whole peloton here. We also watched Botic yesterday, although he lost in the semis,” he said.

For Bonzi, who started playing tennis to beat his cousin, it was a deflating loss after looking so impressive for the first half of the match. But Greek track had too much class in his forehand and some fine passes, plus the decoys on the net, for Bonzi to counter. The Frenchman lost his accuracy with his confidence, and eventually the serve turned into nervous doubt errors.

“I got energized by the crowd, because I struggled a lot at first,” said Greek track of a rambunctious stand who couldn’t stop chanting “Go Tallon”β€”usually hoping they could be treated to a third set. When the tide turned, they would fall behind Bonzi, but it was too late in the play and the original underdog would take advantage of the sonic energy. “This kind of crowd is one of the reasons why I play and practice hard…” said Grecour.

Jeevan-Bala loses to Belgians

India’s N Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan’s fine run came to an end after they were beaten by fourth seed Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 6-4, 6-4. They were outsmarted by the Belgians who had won five titles before that.

The European pair knocked out top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the semi-finals and proved a notch too good for the Indians, who had shocked No. 2 seeds Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow in the quarter-finals.

It was early breaks in both sets that pocketed the Belgians to put pressure on the Indians, who were left catching up. Unlike their previous matches, they were unable to fight on equal terms in the final – their first together in the Tour. Although the short shots at sharp angles gave them a number of points, the Belgians volleyed better and had more control over their serve.

“Honestly, we weren’t surprised by our level of play, it was a good start to the year,” said Jeevan, adding that making the French Open draw (they need a combined ranking of 150) is their first goal of the season. season was.

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