Bavarian joy for German fans – The BMW Open

By Vanessa Taylor and Russell Boxshall

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It was 13th time lucky for Jan-Lennard Struff at the BMW Open in Munich.

He finally won the trophy, after not dropping a set throughout the tournament.

Indeed, it was 33 year old Struff’s first ever title on the ATP tour.

He had, however, won four doubles titles in his career.

Stuff couldn’t quite pull off a bonus doubles championship in Munich when he returned to the court for the final along side compatriot Andreas Mies. They went down to the Indian/French team of Yuki Bhambri and Albano Olivetti in a close tussle, 7-6(6) 7-6(5) in 111 minutes.

German tennis fans are fond of Struff not merely for his resilience, but for his firm commitment to representing his country in Davis Cup. His record stands at 18 victories out of 27 rubbers in singles and doubles combined.

Jan-Lennard Struff playing Davis Cup in Brisbane. Photo: Vanessa Taylor

Struff was the 4th seed for the tournament, which is also known as the Bavarian International Tennis Championships.

Top seed Alexander Zverev lost in the quarter finals to Chilean Cristian Garín, who had a career high ranking of 17 in September 2021 and is currently ranked 106 in the world.

Always a talented player, his battles with injuries; shoulder and wrist and even a broken rib, contributed to his drop in the rankings.

When he was 16 years old, he defeated Zverev to claim the Roland Garros juniors championship, and had subsequently held his own in their head-to-head for 1-1. Importantly, one of those winning matches for Garín was at the BMW Open, when he went on to take the title in 2019.

Cristian Garín in Munich. Photo: Getty Images

Against Zverev this year in Munich, his speedy court coverage and well-judged drop shots won the day.

“Conditions were difficult today but I just tried to play my game and did this very well,” Garín said.

“The key was to stay focused in every game, not to get distracted by the wind or the rain. I was aggressive and fought for every point.”

He then lost to 3rd seed Taylor Fritz in straight sets in the semis.

Alexander Zverev leaves the court after losing to Cristian Garín. Photo: Getty Images

In the other semi, the champion of the past two years and second seed Holger Rune was demolished by Struff in straight sets, managing just two games in the 45 minute match.

Struff served brilliantly, with eight aces and winning 95% of first serve points.

The manner of Struff’s victory over Rune was even more remarkable as earlier in the day he’d played a rain-delayed semi to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7-5 6-4.

The next day, Struff was back to face Taylor Fritz in the final.

Taylor Fritz in the final. Photo: Getty Images

So far this year, Fritz made the quarter finals of the Australian Open and defended his title at the Delray Beach Open in February.

But he could not overcome Struff in Munich. The German coped better with the damp and a very chilly temperature of 3°C.

Despite starting well by limiting the free points Struff usually gains on serve, Fritz missed three set points in the 10th game. In the next game, Struff broke to steal the first set, 7-5.

He broke again early in the second set and kept the momentum going, stepping into his shots and hitting the ball deep in the court. He won with a powerful smash in 79 minutes.

Jan-Lennard Struff wearing his winner’s lederhosen. Photo: Getty Images

Wearing traditional Bavarian Lederhosen – one of his prizes – to accept the trophy, Struff said, “I have been on the tour for such a long time. It’s an unbelievable feeling to win my first title on home soil.

“I played good tennis this week. I am very happy, as I beat many great guys. It’s just amazing to do it here in Germany.”

Despite being dogged by inclement weather, the spectators were not deterred. The tournament sold out – 47,700 tickets – before it began.

This spectator support plus the remarkable 37 year sponsorship of locally based company BMW, which is continuing for many more years, has paved the way for the promotion of the tournament from a ATP 250 event to a 500 from next year.

Title photo by Getty Images

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