Re: ATP Finals
World No. 82 Andrey Golubev capped a dream week on Sunday by becoming the first player from Kazakhstan to win an ATP World Tour title with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over third seed Jurgen Melzer in the final of the German Open Tennis Championships in Hamburg.
As champion of the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tournament, Golubev received 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €228,000, while runner-up Melzer earned 300 points and €104,000 in prize money.
The 23-year-old Golubev, who celebrated his birthday on Thursday by recording his first Top 10 win over No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko in the third round, is the third first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season. He joins John Isner (Auckland) and Ernests Gulbis (Delray Beach).
Golubev had won just eight tour-level matches this season coming into Hamburg but discovered his best form as he raced to the title without losing a set all week. He was contesting his second ATP World Tour final, having finished runner-up to Andy Murray in the 2008 St. Petersburg Open final.
“I’m very happy to win my first title, especially here in Hamburg on a clay-court. I never expected that my first title would be on clay," confessed Golubev. "I played very well, I believed in myself. It was very tough [today]. I served well; I played very well from the baseline. In the important points I played very good. I think the most important thing this week was that I believed in myself, I believed in my game, my forehand and backhand.”
A solid serving display from Golubev saw him surrender just five points behind his delivery in the first set of the final. He earned his first chance to break Melzer’s serve in the eighth game, after the Austrian had squandered a 30/15 lead, and capitalised before going on to serve out a one-set lead.
In a lengthy sixth game of the second set, Golubev escaped to level at 3-3 after saving five break points. He later made Melzer rue his missed opportunity as he broke the left-hander’s serve in the 11th game before coming from 0/30 down to serve out victory in 89 minutes.
“He played a really good match," conceded Melzer. "He started off unbelievable in the first set and I was a little unlucky to get broken at 4-3. In the second set I had my chances and couldn’t convert them. It is how it is. He really felt good out there and I wasn’t just playing well enough to get him struggling.”
World No. 15 Melzer, currently at a career-high position in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, slipped to a 2-7 record in ATP World Tour finals. The Austrian, who recently advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), was bidding to win his first ATP World Tour title since triumphing at his hometown tournament in Vienna (d. Cilic) last year.