By Florian Heer
(May 3, 2014) MUNICH – Fabio Fognini and Martin Klizan moved into the Munich final on Sunday. The 28-man draw at the BMW Open by FWU AG had been whittled down to the remaining four players on Saturday. The tournament’s two top-seeds as well as two qualifiers were fighting it out on Saturday for two spots in Sunday’s final. It has been the first time since Sydney in 2012 that two players from the qualifying made it into the semi-final stage at an ATP World Tour event.
In cold conditions (8 degrees Celsius/46 degrees Fahrenheit) with some drizzle, local hero Tommy Haas opened proceedings on Centre Court against Martin Klizan, with the German winning their only previous meeting, a straight sets victory in Hamburg two years ago. The Slovakian made a strong start in the match gaining a break in the opening game and dominated most of the rallies. The second-seeded German on the other hand just produced too many unforced errors and lost his serve for the second time in the fifth game. Klizan took the opening set in only 34 minutes. The weather obviously didn’t suit Haas’ shoulder and during changeover, the German veteran seemed to look for some warmness covering himself with towels. The qualifier was able to take advantage of the situation and broke serve in the fourth game of the second set. A second break in the eighth game, Klizan eventually advanced into his second career final on the ATP World Tour winning 6-3, 6-2 in 63 minutes.
“This is a bitter day for me. Conditions on court couldn’t have been worse for me today,” a disappointed Haas said afterwards. “Nonetheless you have to accept it, although it is not easy to do so. You have to try playing your game as good as possible. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me today. I’m not that happy at the moment. In particular here in Munich I wanted to reach another final. The crowd’s support was great during the week and I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to play my best tennis today. Who knows, if there will be another chance for me to participate here next year or if this was even my last match in Munich,” Haas said and set off for the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid starting next week.
“Conditions on court were really tough today but the thing is that we both had to face it. It was a difficult match playing in only about five degrees but the plan was to play aggressively and I think that I was the better player on court today,” said a happy Klizan. “Last year was very tough for me as I struggled with wrist injuries for a couple of months. During this time, I tried to stay positive and worked hard every day. Now I feel fit again and I’m ready to compete in the final,” the world number 111 said and is looking forward to tomorrow’s match and added that he loves fast cars in allusion to might win a new BMW tomorrow.
Top-seed Fabio Fognini and Jan-Lennard Struff met in Munich for the first time. The German advanced to the semifinal for just the second time in his career, recovering from a set down to beat lucky loser Ricardas Berankis in yesterday’s encounter. The 26-year-old Italian has reached the stage of the final four without dropping a set beating Dustin Brown in his opening match and Thomaz Bellucci in yesterday’s quarterfinal. Fognini, who played with long sleeves today, seemed to acclimatize to the cold conditions pretty well and gained his first break in the fifth game when Struff overcooked a backhand baseline shot. In the ninth game the top-seed served the opening set out. Overall, the underdog wasn’t able to really challenge his opponent today. Fognini was in total control and eventually advanced untroubled into his third final of the season winning 6-3, 6-1 in only 62 minutes.
“I had the feeling today that I wasn’t able to hit many winners. Fabio showed some great defensive skills, which forced me to take riskier shots. It was also tough for me to anticipate his forehand. I really couldn’t see in what direction he is going to hit,” Struff analysed the encounter. “Of course I’m disappointed but in general I’m pretty satisfied with my week here in Munich. I also enjoyed my first experience being part of the Davis Cup team and I will work hard for being there again,” the German added and said that he is going to play the ATP Challenger in Heilbronn next as well as the ATP 250 event in Düsseldorf in preparation for Roland Garros.
“Jan played a really good week here beating some tough players like Stakhovsky or López but I was very solid from the baseline today. I’m happy,” Fognini said. “The last time I played Martin in a final, he beat me easily,” the Italian added but also knew that he won all of the last three meetings between the two. “Tonight I won’t do anything special. Just try to sleep and tomorrow I will have to focus on my game and try to win the title,” the top-seed seemed to be confident.
Munich’s finals day will take place without any Germans participating. In the second doubles semifinal, last remaining local Dustin Brown lost with his partner Julian Knowle against Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins in straight set 3-6, 2-6. The British pair will take on Jamie Murray and John Peers.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.