The 26-year-old Jiri Vesely passed all the obstacles in Pune this week 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, Jiri had to leave the elite group in June 2018, struggling to find the form ever since and standing outside the mentioned club since May last year.
Now, the Czech will make a strong return, scoring five victories at this ATP 250 event and fending off six match points in total in the quarter-final and semi-final against Ilya Ivashka and Ricardas Berankis to secure a place in the final where he prevailed against Egor Gerasimov 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and 11 minutes to leave the event with a trophy in his hands.
Jiri fired 26 aces in the final, 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.
A left-handed Czech secured a break at love in the very first game of the match, getting broken in the very next game to bring Gerasimov back to the positive side of the scoreboard. Both players produced some excellent serving in the rest of the set, setting up 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, securing the set with three winners in the next game for a 7-5 and momentum ahead of the decider.
There, Vesely was the one who drew the most from his initial shot, 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, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the season after cracking the top-75 for the first time since July 2018.