HALLE WESTFALEN, Germany: Germany’s world No.192 Florian Mayer defeated teenage compatriot Alexander Zverev 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 to win the Halle grass court title on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
The 32-year-old is the lowest-ranked champion in the 24-year history of the Wimbledon warm-up event.
It is Mayer’s second career title after Bucharest in 2013 and was clinched on a fifth match point.
Zverev, 19 and ranked 38 in the world, had knocked out defending champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals on Saturday.
The key to the final proved to be Mayer breaking to love after reeling off 11 straight points for a 5-2 lead.
The German would save a break point when serving for the match before closing it out on his fifth championship point after one hour and 55 minutes.
“I would say it’s the biggest win in my career to win a 500 event here in Germany on grass,” said Mayer, who was a top-30 player before an adductor injury interrupted his career.
“I had a hard time with so many injuries and not playing tournaments. So, it’s a special moment now for me to come back and win a 500 tournament. It helps a lot to be back in the Top 100 also.”
Mayer, who stunned world number seven Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals, joins Tommy Haas (2009, 2012), Philipp Kohlschreiber (2011), David Prinosil (2000), Nicolas Kiefer (1999) and Michael Stich (1994) as German champions on the Halle grass.
Zverev was bidding for his maiden career title in just his second final, following defeat on the clay of Nice last month to Thiem.
“It was a positive week,” Zverev top atpworldtour.com.
“I played really good tennis in all my matches. Against Roger obviously it was a great highlight. Unfortunately, it had to end like this. But it happens. This is tennis. You can’t change it now.”