February 12, 2018 / 5:49 AM / 12 days ago

Tennis: Tireless Bosnian qualifier Basic clinches maiden title in Sofia

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic needed all his skill and determination to beat big-serving Romanian Marius Copil 7-6(6) 6-7(4) 6-4 in a nerve-wracking final of the Sofia Open and win his first tour title on Sunday.

Basic showed no signs of fatigue, playing his seventh match in Armeets Arena, and became only the second Bosnian to win a title after Damir Dzumhur’s triumph in St Petersburg in September.

The 26-year-old, who outclassed top seed Stan Wawrinka and fourth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber on the way to the biggest victory of his career, wore down his opponent with a punishing ground-stroking game and strong service returns.

World number 93 Copil, who fired 19 aces during his first final, also enjoyed an amazing run in Sofia, recording four straight sets wins. The Romanian will match his career-high ranking, climbing up to number 74 on Monday.

Undaunted by his first final, Basic, ranked 129th in the world, was stronger on the key points and moved brilliantly around the court.

He wrapped up the thrilling encounter in two hours and 21 minutes before collapsing to his knees in front of the roaring fans.

More familiar at the Challenger level of play, Basic - whose victory earned him nearly $110,000 and 250 points for the world ranking, topped his career-best effort of a semi-final finish in St Petersburg last year.

”It’s a special day for me,“ Basic, who will climb up more than 50 places in the ranking to reach number 76 on Monday. ”I won a tournament and I moved up into the top 100.

“I’ve always dreamed of a place in the top 100 and I managed to fulfil my dream today.”

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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