2020 in Review: Jiri Vesely edges Egor Gerasimov to win the title in Pune

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2020 in Review: Jiri Vesely edges Egor Gerasimov to win the title in Pune

The ATP 250 event in Pune took place right after the Australian Open, gathering the entire season's weakest fields. Benoit Paire and Ricardas Berankis were the top seeds, but they failed to reach the final, with Jiri Vesely and Egor Gerasimov entering the title clash.

The 26-year-old Vesely passed all the obstacles to claim the second ATP title, the first in more than five years after conquering Auckland in 2015! Ranked inside the top-100 for more than four years after a prominent junior career, Jiri had to leave the elite group in June 2018, struggling to find the form ever since.

The Czech made a strong return in India, scoring five victories at the ATP 250 event and fending off six match points in total in the quarter-final and semi-final against Ilya Ivashka and Ricardas Berankis. Vesely had to dig deep against both rivals to prevail in the deciding tie break, securing a place in the final and beating Egor Gerasimov 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes to lift the trophy.

Jiri fired 26 aces, facing only two break points and allowing Gerasimov to convert both and stay in contention after getting broken twice from three chances offered to the Czech, fighting valiantly but missing the opportunity to win the first ATP title.

They had a similar number of winners and forced errors, with the Belarusian hitting more unforced mistakes, which cost him dearly.

Jiri Vesely conquered Pune after fending off six match points that week.

A left-handed Czech secured a break at love in the encounter's first game, getting broken a few minutes later to bring Gerasimov back to the positive side of the scoreboard.

Both players produced some excellent serving in the rest of the set, arranging a tie break that Vesely grabbed 7-2 following a massive forehand mistake from the Belarusian, who had to start all over from set number two if he wanted to fight for the title.

Raising his level, Egor lost only five points in six service games, defending the second serve nicely and earning the much-needed break in the 11th game when Jiri placed a forehand wide. The Belarusian secured the set with three winners in the next game, taking it 7-5 and gathering momentum ahead of the decider.

Vesely was the one who drew the most from his initial shot in set number three, dropping four points in his games and earning the decisive break in game two with a return winner. Showing no sign of nerves in the ninth game, the Czech fired three service winners to cross the finish line and wrap up a perfect week after so many challenges, cracking the top-75 for the first time since July 2018.