Tennis: Basilashvili outlasts Rublev to defend Hamburg title


Tennis – ATP 500 – Hamburg European Open – Rothenbaum Tennis Center, Hamburg, Germany – July 28, 2019 Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili celebrates winning the Hamburg European Open with the trophy REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

(Reuters) – Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili won the Hamburg European Open for a second consecutive year, beating Andrey Rublev 7-5 4-6 6-3 in the final on Sunday.

Fourth seed Basilashvili won 81% of his first-serve points and struck 26 forehand winners to record his 12th straight win on Hamburg clay, which includes 10 main draw victories.

The 27-year-old has now lifted three tour-level titles, with his other triumph coming in Beijing last year.

World number 16 Basilashvili, who saved two match points in his semi-final win over world number five Alexander Zverev, broke Rublev twice early in the final set and maintained the advantage to seal victory in just over two hours.

With the win, Basilashvili became the first player since Roger Federer in 2005 to claim back-to-back Hamburg crowns.

Russian youngster Rublev failed to add to his maiden title triumph in 2017 in Umag but was pleased with his impressive run this week, which included a straight sets win over top seed Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals.

“It was a good week for me. For the moment, my best week,” said Rublev.

“Of course, it is always disappointing to lose in a final, but Nikoloz was playing really well and he deserves it. To win two years in a row here is amazing. It is really hard. It is really tough mentally and he did it. It is unbelievable.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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