Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Qualifier Vesely wins in Auckland

AFP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic celebrates winning against Adrian Mannorina of France in their final at the Auckland Open in New Zealand yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Unheralded Jiri Vesely, the 63rd ranked player in the world, won his maiden ATP title yesterday when he beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the Auckland Open.

The 21-year-old Czech has proved a giant-killer since winning through the qualifying rounds to make the tournament proper and then advancing to an ATP final for the first time.

Along the way he knocked out top seed and world No. 13 Ernests Gulbis, as well as tournament fourth seed Kevin Anderson.

Against Mannarino, Vesely quickly recovered from dropping the opening serve of the match to break the 44th-ranked player twice in each set.

With a power game that proved too much for the 26-year-old Frenchman, Vesely raced through each set in little more than half an hour.

After breaking Mannarino to level at 2-2 in the first set, he broke again at 4-3, when the Frenchman double-faulted on game point, before serving out the set with an ace.

In the second set, he broke Mannarino’s serve twice in succession to race to a 5-1 lead and coasted home from there, taking match point with his 11th ace.

Vesely’s path through the tournament was made easier by the withdrawal ahead of the Australian Open by a string of high-profile players, including David Ferrer, Gael Monfils and Tommy Robredo.

Meanwhile, Serbian Viktor Troicki ruthlessly dismantled ailing Kazakh qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-2, 6-3 to win the Sydney International for his second career ATP title.

The 28-year-old righthander won the last four games of the first set and was 4-1 up in the second when Kukushkin took a medical timeout to have treatment on his left thigh.

The Kazakh rallied to win the next two games for his first break of serve in the match, but Troicki was just too strong and broke back before serving out the match and claiming the title with his 13th ace.

Once ranked 12th in the world, Troicki is working his way back up the rankings after a doping ban that took a year out of his career.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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