Friday, September 17, 2021

Muller grabs first title with Sydney win

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Gilles Muller

Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller broke through for his first career ATP World Tour title with a straight sets win over Britain’s Daniel Evans in the Sydney International final on Saturday.

Left-hander Muller, 33, one of the Tour’s biggest servers, finished too strongly for the 67th-ranked Evans, winning 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 in 88 minutes.

Muller finally claimed a title after 16 years on the circuit with his victory continuing his impressive record of consistency in Sydney after reaching the semi-finals in the past two years.

Muller at 34 was the highest-ranked player in the top 50 without a tournament title after losing in five finals, including two last season, both on grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Newport.

Muller, who was handed his winner’s trophy by Australian Grand Slam great Rod Laver, became emotional and broke down in tears during his victory speech at the presentation ceremony.

“What a night! I’ve waited a long time for this,” he said.

“It just means so much to me to win this tournament in front of my wife and boys.”

Evans saved two set points before the opening set went to a tiebreaker.

Muller took the set with a forehand winner and a smash and then got a double-break to control the second set and cruise to victory.

Evans, who knocked out the top seed Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals, was bidding to become the first British singles champion in Sydney since Tim Henman in 1997.

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