Nikoloz Basilashvili won his second successive Hamburg European Open title on Sunday, defeating unseeded Russian Andrey Rublev 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. In front of about 6,000 spectators on Centre Court, the tournament’s No. 4 from Georgia overpowered his opponent towards the end of the match and gained the decisive two breaks in the fourth as well as the sixth game of the final set to secure victory in two hours and seven minutes.
“It’s unbelievable to win back-to-back titles here. It looks like that this is my favourite tournament and it is an ATP 500 event, so I am really happy,” Basilashvili said.
With his 12th straight match win at Hamburg, Basilashvili has become the first seeded Rothenbaum titlist since seventh favourite Martin Klizan of Slovakia won in 2016. Unseeded lucky loser Leonardo Mayer of Argentina clinched the trophy in 2017, while the Georgian was an unseeded qualifier when he claimed the title here last year.
“Maybe the clay is different here or something is different on the Centre Court. I can see the ball much better than at other tournaments. It looks like I’m playing my best tennis here,” Basilashvili said. ”I didn’t know that Roger (Federer) and Medvedev won defending titles but just to see my name next to them means a lot to me for sure.”
After lifting his third ATP 500-level trophy in a 12-month span, Basilashvili took away from Northern Germany $354,845 in prize money as well as 500 ATP-Ranking points.
Rublev, who was trying to become the first Russian to the take the Hamburg since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009, collected a prize cheque of $178,220 and 300 ATP-Ranking points.
“It’s always disappointing to lose in a final but that’s the part of the game. We have to deal with it. Congrats to Nikoloz, who did a very good job to defend his title here,” Rublev said during his on-court speech and could also take away some positives from the last seven days in Hamburg: “This has been my best week here so far. I hope that can keep it up and even improve over the next couple of weeks.”