Unseeded Radu Albot, from the tiny Eastern European country and former Soviet republic of Moldova, won the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com tennis final on Sunday, defeating British qualifier Daniel Evans 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7) for his first ATP World Tour title.
It was the first ATP-level final for both players, and he became the first Moldovian player ever to win an ATP title.
“It feels unbelievable,” said the 29-year-old Albot. “You work so much. You work your whole life, your whole career, and at the end you win a tournament. This is just a great feeling. I think it’s difficult to put into words.”
Albot’s road to the final saw wins over Ivo Karlovic, Nick Kyrgios, No. 4-seeded American Steve Johnson, and a 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 victory over American Mackenzie McDonald to reach the final. Evans upset No. 3-seeded and defending champion Frances Tiafoe in his opener, then beat wildcard Lloyd Harris, No. 6 seed Andreas Seppi, and top-seeded John Isner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals.
Evans in the championship match took a 6-4 lead in the final-set tiebreak, but the Brit made errors on all three of his match-clinching chances, including a backhand from just a couple feet inside the baseline at 7-6 that sailed long.
“It was not in the plan, I have to say, losing the first set and then coming back. But it worked out pretty good this week. When you lose a set, it’s just half a match,” Albot said. “If you want to win the match you need to win two sets. I still had chances, I got chances and I used them.”
In the doubles final the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, won the battle of the siblings, defeating the British pair of Ken and Neal Skupski 7-6(5), 6-4.
It was the 117th tour title for the Bryans who due to injuries hadn’t won together since April of last year.
“Our expectations…have been a little bit lower than they have in the past,” Bob said. “We’ve just been trying to have fun and enjoy our time together, and it’s actually resulted in some really good play. We didn’t lose a set this week. We’re taking care of our serve and just weathering the tough times during matches.”
The Bryans improved to 5-2 career in Delray Beach finals. It was the first all-brothers ATP doubles final since June 1977 when Vijay and Anand Amritraj beat John and David Lloyd 6-1, 6-2 at The Queen’s Club in London.
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