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By Tennis Now | Sunday, February 11, 2018


In a clash of first-time finalists, Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic edged Marius Copil, 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-4, to win his first ATP title at the Sofia Open.

Photo credit: Sofia Open Facebook

Mirza Basic took the scenic route realizing a double dream.

In a clash of first-time finalists, Bosnian qualifier Basic edged Marius Copil, 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-4, to win his first ATP title at the Sofia Open.

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The 129th-ranked Basic won seven matches in eight days, contesting a total of 17 sets in a milestone victory that will vault him into the Top 100 for the first time.

"It was a pleasure to play in front of the crowd," Basic said. "I was a little bit lucky today I think more than Marius.

"I made my dream because I made the top 100 so I’m very happy. Sofia will always be a special place because I make two dreams: I won my first tournament and I make the top 100."

It was a spirited final from former junior rivals who have known each other since childhood.

Copil cranked 19 aces and saved seven of 10 break points.

“Two years ago, I was ranked 220 or a little bit lower and now two years later I’m here in the final," Copil said. "We know each other since we are eight or nine and congratulations to you (Mirza). You had a great 10 days, not a week, because you played qualies and it was a really tough tournament and I hope you will remember this forever."

The 26-year-old Basic took out No. 4 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round, and then defeated top seed and World No. 15 Stan Wawrinka in yesterday's semifinals. That was Basic’s first win over a Top 20 opponent in his career.

Trailing 1-4 in the first-set tie break, Basic burst back winning seven of the next nine points to seize the first set.

Copil, whose first serve was a damaging weapon throughout the final, bolted a body serve for two set points at 6-4 in the second-set tie break. Snapping off a smash, Copil evened the match after 95 minutes.

Basic fended off a pair of break points holding serve in his opening game of the decider.

Facing break point pressure in the seventh game, Copil blistered a body serve to deny it. Slashing his 19th ace down the middle, Copil erased a second break point.

An eighth double fault brought up another break point for Copil. This time the Romanian tried the drop shot but netted a backhand surrendering serve for 5-4 after two hours, 15 minutes.

Showing no nerves, Basic opened with an ace. When Copil's return sailed long, Basic dropped to his knees wrapping up a two hour, 19 minute victory.


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