Struff Wins Hard-Fought Halle Opener

Jan-Lennard Struff (photo: Terra Wortmann Open/Mathias Schulz)


What a thriller, what a nerve-wracking match and what a relief for Jan-Lennard Struff when, after 154 gripping Centre Court minutes on Wednesday afternoon, the German booked his spot in the second round of the 31st Terra Wortmann Open.

“It feels so good to have achieved this victory here at my home tournament,” said the 34-year-old from Warstein. And by “this victory,” Struff meant anything but an ordinary win. It was the 10th match point, which secured a 6-7(2), 7-5, 7-6(10) triumph over Luciano Darderi of Italy.

“It was really exhausting. But I always believed in my chance. First, when I was trailing. Then, when my own match points passed by, and I had to fend off a match point myself,” explained Struff, who now faces Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas. “In the end, my courage was rewarded. Because you can’t be afraid when things get really tough.”

In the tennis roller coaster ride with many ups and downs, Struff was also carried through difficult match moments by the fans, who repeatedly cheered on World No. 41. “Halle is just a very special tournament for me. Also because so many from my home region come here and push me,” said Struff, thanking the “fantastic support.”

Bublik, Medvedev fall, Zverev advances

In second-round action, Christopher Eubanks knocked out defending champion Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3. The 28-year-old US-American will take on Zhizhen Zhang of China in the quarterfinals. The World No. 42 upset No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev from Russia 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5) in two hours and five minutes.

Alexander Zverev defeated Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-4, 7-6(5). The No. 2 seed of Germany struck seven aces and won 79 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in one hour and 43 minutes. Up next for Zverev will be Frenchman Arthur Fils.