Struff Storms Past Rune, Faces Fritz For BMW Open Title

Jan-Lennard Struff (photo: Getty Images)

MUNICH, April 20, 2024

The sun returned to Munich and provided excellent conditions for the semi-finals of the BMW Open on Saturday. Jan-Lennard Struff delighted his home crowd by snapping the winning streak of two-time defending champion Holger Rune of Denmark with an impressive performance.

The No. 4 seed of the ATP 250 clay-court tournament was the dominant player on Center Court right from the beginning. Struff dictated most of the rallies with his powerful serve and was definitely in cruise mode. The 33-year-old German struck eight aces and won 69 per cent of the total points played to advance in only 45 minutes.

“I think I played a perfect match today. It was amazing to play in front of you guys,” Struff told the crowd on a sold-out Center Court afterwards. “It will be my second final here in Munich. That’s special and so nice to reach another title match in Germany. I will try to go all the way tomorrow. I will give everything.”

Struff finished runner-up to Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia three years ago and is still seeking to win his maiden tour-level crown.

Fritz defeats Garin

Earlier, Taylor Fritz reached his first clay-court final on the ATP Tour following a 6-3, 6-4 win over 2019 BMW Open champion Cristian Garin from Chile. The third-seeded US-American didn’t face a break point and converted two of 11 break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 19 minutes.

“Conditions were much better today, especially in the second set when the sun came out. The court became faster and helped my serve,” said Fritz. The 26-year-old Californian has become the first player from the United States to compete for the Munich title since Andre Agassi, who finished runner-up to Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist in 1998.

“I have been close to a clay-court final several times. Now I really do want to get the title,” said Fritz. The World No. 15 is bidding for his eighth career tour-level triumph.

“We are both good servers, it will be tough to break,” said Fritz of his upcoming task in the championship match against Struff. The pair’s head-to-head record is tied at 1-1. Struff beat Fritz on grass at 2019 Wimbledon and Fritz emerged victorious on an indoor hard court in St. Petersburg three years ago.

Struff will also compete in the doubles final. Alongside his compatriot Andreas Mies, the pair will take on Yuki Bhambri of India and Frenchman Albano Olivetti.

Stich honored on Center Court

Michael Stich was honored in a pre-match ceremony on Center Court of the MTTC Iphitos. The 1991 Wimbledon champion in singles, who also captured the doubles crown at The Championships alongside John McEnroe one year later, was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport in 2018. However, he had not been presented with his official Hall of Fame Ring until today due to the pandemic crisis.

“Munich is my sporting home. I grew up in Elmshorn but the first steps as a tennis professional I made in Munich together with Niki Pilic and Mark Lewis, who was a coach at that time here at the MTTC Iphitos. The club is more or less the basis of my career,” said Stich, who lifted the trophy here back in 1994.

The former World No. 2  said that he enjoys reminiscing about old matches but doesn’t live in the past. “That’s important. I am thankful for that time but I am also happy that life goes on,” Stich explained. He announced his retirement from professional tennis in 1997 and served as tournament director of the Hamburg ATP event from 2009 to 2018. Today, Stich is interested in art and exhibited his own works for the first time in 2023.

Martin de la Puente wins Allianz Para Trophy

Allianz Para Trophy, Martin de la Puente

Martin de la Puente champion of Allianz Para Trophy (photo: Getty Images)

Spaniard Martin de la Puente is the champion of the Allianz Para Trophy. The No. 3 seed of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour Grade 1 tournament defeated fourth favourite Gordon Reid from Great Britain 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) in the singles final.

“It was a tough week. Unfortunately, we had to deal with a lot of rain and it was very cold but it feels amazing to have won the title here in Munich. We are very happy to play along an ATP Tour tournament, which makes it a special week for us,” said de la Puenta, who beat Kamil Fabisiak of Poland, German wild card entry Steffen Sommerfeld and Frenchman Stephane Houdet en route to the title.

“It’s my first title of the season. I am very happy to be back on clay. The season has just begun and I will continue to work hard for the upcoming weeks,” the World No. 4 said.

Frenchmen Frederic Cattaneo and Stephane Houdet claimed the doubles title.