Slovakian world No. 45 Martin Klizan captured his first ATP title on Sunday when he defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the St Petersburg Open. He is the first Slovakian to win a tour title since Dominik Hrbaty triumphed at Marseille in February 2004.
Third-seeded Klizan, who put out top seed Mikhail Youzhny in a marathon semi-final on Saturday, is set to rise to around a career-high world No. 33 in the world rankings as a result of his victory.
Until two months ago, 23-year-old Klizan had never won back-to-back tour-level matches.
However, since the end of July he has reached the semi-finals in Kitzbuhel and knocked out world No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to a fourth-round showing at the US Open.
“I said last year that I would like to be Top 100 by the end of this year and I’ve already done it,” Klizan said. “Now I’ve been Top 50, Top 40, maybe I can be Top 30 at the end of the year. I hope I can be healthy and still with enough power to play until the end of the season.”
The 25-year-old Fognini was contesting his second final having also finished runner-up to Gilles Simon in Bucharest.
“It’s horrible to play a final like this,” Fognini said. “I’ve played two finals this year. Simon in Bucharest was a really great final. On the court today he played his best tennis ever and I did not play my best tennis for sure.”
AP, METZ, FRANCE
Top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France thrashed fifth-seeded Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday to retain his Moselle Open title.
The seventh-ranked Tsonga needed just 50 minutes to see off Seppi’s challenge, breaking the Italian’s serve four times.
Tsonga’s own serve never looked like being broken as he won 85-percent of his service points.
He won nine games in a row to take a 4-0 lead in the second set.
“I had a complete match, but I remained focused because a match is never closed against a player like that,” Tsonga said.
It is Tsonga’s second title of the year, after the Qatar Open in January, and boosts his chances of reaching the year-ending ATP finals in London.