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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, September 13, 2020

 
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Miomir Kecmanovic conquered qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-4, 6-4 capturing his first career ATP title on the red clay of Kitzbühel.

Photo credit: Tobias Höfinger/Generali Open Kitzbühel

Miomir Kecmanovic couldn’t find his first serve in the first set.

That didn’t stop the 21-year-old Serbian from landing his first ATP title on the red clay of Kitzbühel.

More: US Open Men's Singles Final By the Numbers

Kecmanovic converted three of four break points dispatching German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-4, 6-4 capturing the Generali Open Kitzbühel championship.

The victory will vault Kecmanovic inside the Top 40 for the first time.

“It means a lot [to win my first ATP Tour title]. I worked so hard for this," Kecmanovic said. "I am definitely happy that I was able to achieve it so quickly.

“Mentally it was a tough one [in Antalya]. I had match point and didn’t end up winning, so it was really a heartbreak. I have had a lot of experiences since then, played a lot more tougher matches and I think that definitely paid off."

Maybe Kecmanovic wasn’t the Belgrade-born baseliner you expected to be raising a title trophy on US Open Sunday—world No. 1 Novak Djokovic was an overwhelming favorite to win Flushing Meadows before his disqualification last Sunday—but the world No. 47 was precise on pivotal points today.

Despite serving just 35 percent, Kecmanovic backed his second serve stubbornly winning 73 percent of points played on his second delivery and denying four of five break points.

Kecmanovic has been close to this maiden milestone before—he was runner-up to Lorenzo Sonego in the Antalya final last summer and was a runner-up in both Doha and New York this season—and he played smarter, sounder tennis to take the title today.



The man who finished 2016 atop the ITF world junior rankings ahead of rivals Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime, drew first blood breaking for 2-1 in today’s final.

Kecmanovic, who struggled to land his first serve throughout the set, served out the 34-minute opener convincingly as Hanfmann botched a drop shot to end it.

Although he served just 26 percent in the opening set, Kecmanovic backed up his serve with more self-assured baseline play. He won 16 of 20 second-serve points and denied both break points he faced.

Redirecting his backhand down the line sharply, Kecmanovic broke to start the second set.

Finally, Kecmanovic’s inability to land first serves cost him. Hanfmann converted his third break point to level the second set after four games.

Throughout the match, Kecmanovic was sounder from the baseline. Earning triple break point in the seventh game, the Serbian tossed up a short lob—and Hanfmann badly bungled a smash surrendering serve at love.

The world No. 47 streaked through 12 of 13 points building a 5-3 lead.

Serving for his first ATP title, Kecmanovic felt the jitters donating a pair of unforced errors to face double break point. Kecmanovic denied both and Hanfmann’s overhead issues cost him again as he bashed a routine smash long handing the Serbian a second championship point.

When Hanfmann missed a final return, Kecmanovic fell flat on his back, soaking up the red dirt and the moment after a 76-minute victory that brought Hall of Famer Goran Ivanisevic to his feet in the crowd.


 

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