Maximilian Marterer advanced to the final of the 2022 Brawo Open, defeating Zhizhen Zhang 6-3 5-7 7-6. The match had basically three very different phases:
- up until 6-3 4-4 for the German (Marterer looking like he’d smoothly cruise to victory)
- from 4-4 in the 2nd to Zhang leading 5-3 in the decider (the Chinese blasting through his service games, Marterer seemingly flat or tired)
- from 5-3 in the decider (utter craziness)
Marterer first saved two match points at 3-5 (Zhang was serving), before withstanding six more on his own delivery. What’s incredible, the Chinese really wasn’t losing his mind or anything, he didn’t choke the lead away. Zhang was still painting lines in the last few games, but his opponent was just absurdly clinical on all the opportunities for him to close it out. A particularly dramatic moment saw Marterer’s serve +1 forehand just clip the line. The umpire had to check the mark, but once again the German just didn’t make the error, eventually clinching the win in the deciding tie-break.
“I never experienced that. It was up and down in that service game at 5-4, where I saved a lot of match points. Feels unbelievable, I didn’t have the feeling that I’d been the better player in the third set, but I managed it somehow, to get through. I think that’s [one] of the most important wins that you’ll have during the year, those wins are bringing you forward. That’s why I’m playing tennis, actually, to win matches like this” said the 27-year-old following the win. It was an incredibly brutal loss for Zhang, who didn’t really even falter under pressure, but still had to come off the court defeated.
In the all-German final, he takes on Jan-Lennard Struff. “Obviously, I know him quite well. I didn’t play a lot of matches, just one time in a league match in Germany. Yeah, will be interesting to see how he will play tomorrow. He played a decent week so far, let’s see.”
“Decent” is a bit of an understatement given how Marterer’s championship match opponent performed in Braunschweig so far. Despite coming into this week with just a 2-13 win/loss record for the year, Struff needed just 4 hours and 57 minutes to dispatch a very dangerous set of opponents – Federico Delbonis, Franco Agamenone, Taro Daniel, and Henri Laaksonen. The 32-year-old is also in the doubles final alongside Marcelo Demoliner.
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