The Heineken Open in Auckland suffered from a plague of injuries and early seed exits, all of which led to qualifier Jiri Vesely lifting his first career title on Saturday afternoon at the tournament. The Czech youngster defeated France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 to become the first player of his nationality to lift the title in 19 years.
The 21-year-old defeated both Ernests Gulbis and Kevin Anderson en route to his title win and is the latest in a string of title winners born in the 1990s
“It feels amazing to be part of the ATP champions,” said Vesely. “It’s not something that everyone is [able] to achieve, so I’m very grateful for that.
“It’s a great start for me… I can really see that it’s possible to play with the best guys and I think that’s something very important for me for the future.”
Vesely deserved his win, as he even lead the tournament stats in aces, as well as service points, according to the ATP World Tour.
“When you get broken by someone who’s serving like this, you feel like it’s slipping away,” said Mannarino. “I was trying to deal with my own game and it was really tough today. I didn’t have the same feeling that I had during the week. I didn’t feel the ball the same way. Unfortunately it happened in the final.”
The doubles title went to veterans Leander Paes and Raven Klaasen, who won their first team title on Saturday against Dominic Inglot and Florin Mergea. The pairing won the match 7-6(1), 6-4.
“It’s been a good start to the year,” Paes said. “It just goes to show that when you persevere and work hard together, we’re very potent as a team.”