Federer, Nadal on opposite sides as Australian Open draw is announced in Melbourne
By Ricky Dimon
Gilles Muller is finally an ATP champion.
At 33 years old and contesting his sixth career ATP final, Muller erased the demons of past final failures when he beat Dan Evans 7-6(5), 6-2 at the Apia International on Saturday evening. The 34th-ranked Luxembourgian held all 10 if his service games while breaking Evans twice in the second set.
Muller squandered set points at both 5-4 and 6-5 in the opener, but he managed to fight back from a mini-break down in the ensuing tiebreaker and seized it seven points to five. With momentum in hand, the veteran cruised through set two without any difficulty
“It means a lot,” said Muller, who was overcome by emotion during the trophy ceremony. “Like you can see, I was pretty emotional out there on the court. For the past two or three years, it was probably my biggest goal to win a title. I always dreamed of that, and I was so close last year…. So I was very scared and worried that I was going to be one of those players who never win a title. Now I have it, and it just feels great.”
“There’s so many good players; it’s always tough (to win an ATP title),” Evans commented. “I hope it takes me six years if I get one. I’d sign for it taking that many times if I got one. He got [a title] in the end, and good for him. It was his day today.”
At the ASB Classic in Auckland, Jack Sock lifted the second ATP winner’s trophy of his career with a hard-fought 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 defeat of Joao Sousa on Saturday. A back-and-forth contest saw Sock put himself within two points of a straight-set win before Sousa stormed back to force a decider. The Portuguese underdog even went up by a break in the third, but Sock quickly restored order to the match.
“Anytime you can take a title, it feels really good,” the 23rd-ranked American assured. “I’ve had it once before. I’ve had chances. I’ve lost in a few finals. Winning the whole tournament is definitely a massive confidence booster. I was able to put in a lot of work in the off-season and I think it paid off. I was able to make lots of gains and lots of strides forward. I think it really showed this week.”
“I think I didn’t play a great match,” Sousa lamented. “[Sock]was very confident and he serves very well, and I think that was the key of the match.”
Topics: 10sballs.com, Apia International, Asb Classic, Atp World Tour, Auckland tennis, Australian Open, Dan Evans, Gilles Muller, jack sock, Joao Sousa, Ricky Dimon, Sports, Sydney Tennis, Tennis News