In a thrilling final match played out in front of a capacity crowd, tournament number one seed and world No. 10 Alexander Zverev survived a robust challenge from Roman Safiullin to win 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 in two hours and 59 minutes and lift the 21st ATP Tour-level title of his career.
The German was made to work hard for the win, with Safiullin showing incredible composure and grit to save break points in vital moments to keep the former world No. 3 at bay in the first set. The world No. 55 Safiullin then got an early mini-break to race to a 3-0 lead in the tie-break, before securing two more mini-breaks in the final two points to take a one set lead.
In the second set, the two players exchanged breaks in the second and third games, before holding serve strongly until a pulsating tie-break, in which neither player could capitalise on their service points. Three mini-breaks each were traded before Zverev scored the telling mini-break at 6-5 up to force a deciding set.
The German’s far greater experience of playing big finals began to show in the third set, as the 26-year-old appeared more relaxed while mistakes began creeping into Safiullin’s game, allowing Zverev to secure the necessary break in the fourth game that would seal his first Chengdu Open crown.
“He’s playing the best tennis of his life and he’s beaten a lot of great players this week, so I knew he was playing well. I’m happy to have been able to come back and win this title. This week has been amazing and it’s even better that I won the title,” said Zverev, who paid tribute to the throngs of fans that turned up throughout the week to watch him play.
“I feel like I always have a lot of fans in China and I feel Chinese people are very giving, they always bring gifts and give something in return for pictures and autographs, so that is very nice of them. I have never been here before so I didn’t know what to expect coming here, but it has surprised me in a nice way to see so many fans,” added the 26-year-old German, who will solidify his position at No. 7 in the Race to Turin with the 250 points picked up here today.
In a similarly electrifying finale to the doubles, top seeded French tandem Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul reversed a one set deficit to overcome second seeded Portuguese-Brazilian duo Francisco Cabral and Rafael Matos 4-6, 7-5, 10-7 in one hour and 51 minutes.
Cabral and Matos notched four points in a row against serve in the ninth game to secure the first break of the encounter, going 5-4 up and securing the first set in the next game. However, Doumbia and Reboul returned the favour in the second set, taking four points on the trot at 6-5 up against serve to force a super tiebreaker.
In the super tiebreaker, the Portuguese-Brazilian twosome seemed to have the upper hand when they went one mini-break up to take a 7-5 lead, but the French pair rallied instantly, upping their game to take five points on the trot and secure the unforgettable victory.
The pair have won 15 challenger titles and nine ITF Tour titles since teaming up in 2015, but the Chengdu Open title is their maiden Tour-level triumph as a pair, as well as individuals.
“We have been waiting for this moment for such a long time. We have won Challengers before, but it was a big goal for us to win an ATP Tour event. To do it here in China is special – it’s amazing for us,” said the 33-year-old Doumbia.
“I’m very happy to share this title with Sadio. We started playing doubles full time two or three years ago and we have been working hard every day to win these kinds of matches. We are very happy and hopefully we will win a lot of titles,” said the 28-year-old Reboul.
The duo credited their strong performance this week to feeling comfortable and at home in Chengdu, with Reboul adding: “I would say what is important is to feel good in a place. We have always felt very good here because the people are very nice. We were very excited to come back to China. I think when you feel at home, you can play your best tennis.”
The tournament is owned by IMG and is organised by the Chinese Tennis Association and Chengdu Municipal Government, is co-organised by Chengdu Sports Bureau, Shuangliu District Government and Chengdu Culture Tourism Group, and is promoted by Sichuan Investment International Tennis Centre Development Co., Ltd., CCTV IMG (Beijing) Sports Management Co. Ltd. and WME IMG China Culture Development Co. Ltd.
The Chengdu Open is also very proud to have the support of our distinguished partners, including the ATP Tour’s Premier Partner Emirates, the official ball and stringer Yonex, the official car FAW-Volkswagen, the Sichuan Tennis International Hotel, which is conveniently located adjacent to the courts and provides efficient services to the tournament, the official timer Luminox, the official player hotel Intercontinental Chengdu Global Center, the official coffee provider Wood & Coffee, the official gym equipment Impulse and the official water Su Lao Quan. The official tournament website www.ChengduOpenTennis.com has additional information about the tournament