News & Press

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Qualifier Becker Clinches Maiden Title

's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

Benjamin Becker© AFP/Getty ImagesBenjamin Becker

German Benjamin Becker became the first qualifier to win an ATP World Tour tournament this season as he dashed the hopes of Dutch wild card Raemon Sluiter 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday to clinch the title at the Ordina Open, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

In reward for his achievement, the No. 82-ranked Becker will receive 250 South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking points and €71,700, while World No. 866 Sluiter earns 150 Ranking points and €37,700.

At the age of 28, Becker captured his first ATP World Tour title in his second final attempt – having finished runner-up at Bangkok in 2007 (l. to Tursunov). The Merzig native is the first German to triumph in ‘s-Hertogenbosch since Michael Stich lifted the trophy in 1992.

The right-hander is the one of three qualifiers to reach an ATP World Tour final in 2009, joining Russian Evgeny Korolev – who finished runner-up at Delray Beach (l. to Fish) in February – and today’s runner-up in Eastbourne, Frank Dancevic of Canada.

After a dream run through to the final, including victories over top seed Fernando Verdasco and No. 4 Rainer Schuettler, Becker found it had to break down the resilient Sluiter in the first set of Saturday’s final. However, after squandering two break points in the sixth game of the 42-minute first set, Becker capilatised on his opportunities at the second time of asking in the 12th game as he broke Sluiter to claim the one-set lead. The German then pressed home his advantage early in the second set, breaking Sluiter in the second game before going on to close out victory after one hour and 15 minutes.

Becker was effective on serve, only surrendering five points behind his first serve, and did not face a single break point in the championship match. He becomes the first qualifier to lift the Ordina Open trophy after Guillaume Raoux lost to Richard Krajicek in the 1997 final and Peter Wessels finished runner-up to Ivan Ljubicic in 2007.

Becker, who reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season last week in Halle (l. to Rochus), improved to an 8-3 match record in 2009 – with seven of those wins coming on grass. Coming into the Ordina Open, he had jumped 48 places in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings since the end of 2008 courtesy of winning four titles on the ATP Challenger Tour.

The 31-year-old Sluiter was bidding to make history by becoming the lowest-ranked player ever to win an ATP World Tour singles title and is already the lowest-ranked player to reach a final.

The Rotterdam native was hoping to win his first ATP World Tour title in his fourth final after finishing runner-up in three previous attempts – all of which came on home soil at 2000 Amsterdam (l. to Gustafsson), 2003 Rotterdam (l. to Mirnyi) and 2003 Amersfoort (l. to Massu).

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home