(September 29, 2013) Joao Sousa became the first player from Portugal to win an ATP Tour title when he rallied from a match point against him to put down France’s Julien Benneteau 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 to capture the Malaysian Open tennis tournament. This was Sousa’s first ATP final.
The 77th-ranked Sousa had a dream week in Kuala Lumpur, beating seeds along the way to the crown in top seed David Ferrer, fourth seed Jurgen Melzer and fifth seed Benneteau in succession.
Behind 2-6, 4-5, 30-40, Sousa staved off a match point, winning three straight games on the trot to even the match. Sousa broke to open the third set and held on for the win.
“I just gave my best, Sousa said. “Tennis is like this, if you don’t go for it, you’ll never make it, so I just went for it. We both played a great match. He had a lot of chances to win.”
“I’m so tired mentally and physically but I just feel amazing, it’s just a dream come true, winning my first title here in Malaysia,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m really happy to win this title.”
“I tried everything today… I played very well, particularly I was very aggressive and I didn’t let him play for two sets almost,” said the Frenchman who is now 0-9 in ATP finals.
“I took my chance, it didn’t pay off and it’s hard, it’s hard, it’s very hard. But it’s sport.”
Sousa is the seventh first-time winner and the 12th unseeded winner on the ATP World Tour this year.