Youzhny strikes it third time lucky
Originally published on: 10/05/10 13:46
Mikhail Youzhny had twice failed to convert appearances in the Munich final into a title, but the 27-year-old Russian finally got his hands on the BMW Open trophy after claiming a hard-fought win over Marin Cilic on Sunday.
A sparkling-new BMW 325i convertible accompanied his 6-3 4-6 6-4 triumph over the top-seeded Croat, and marked a happy end to Youzhny’s run of three successive losses in finals.
Defeated by Andy Murray in Valencia last November, the former US Open semi-finalist followed up with back-to-back final defeats in Dubai and Rotterdam this February.
But Youzhny has a history of performing at vehicle-manufacturer-sponsored events – he won his first title at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart eight years ago – and having never lost to Cilic in their three previous meetings, he was not to be denied the title this time.
The Russian took a 3-0 lead and held the advantage throughout the opening set, only to see Cilic hit back with two breaks of his own in the second. But in a close decider, Youzhny staved off a break point opportunity in the sixth game before breaking to love in the seventh then serving out victory.
“It was a really tough match,” admitted Youzhny after the two-hour-51-minute encounter.
“There were some tough moments for me. At the beginning of the third set I think two or three of my games were going from deuce to advantage and back to deuce, so it was really tough.”
On his part, a tired Cilic lamented missed opportunities after failing to add a third title to his collection in 2010. The Croat, who triumphed in Chennai and Zagreb earlier this year, would have become the first player on the ATP tour to claim three titles this season had he managed to clinch the win.
“I think I missed my chances at the beginning of the third set when I had a break point and after that he was trying to get back into it,” said Cilic.
“I think my fatigue made a slight difference in the end when I missed a couple of easy balls on my serve.”