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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, October 2, 2022

 
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World No. 95 Marc-Andrea Huesler edged fifth-seeded Holger Rune 6-4, 7-6(8) in the Sofia final for his first career ATP title.

Photo credit: Getty

Dashing through the most inspired run of his career, Marc-Andrea Huesler conjured one final spellbinding surge.

Huesler rocketed a running forehand pass down the line that rattled Holger Rune's racquet for a second championship point.

Watch: Moutet and Andreev Nearly Come to Blows

Pumping a serve down the middle, the 95th-ranked Swiss fell to his knees in elation claiming his first ATP title with a 6-4, 7-6(8) triumph over Rune in a riveting Sofia final today.




The 26-year-old Huesler saved four set points, including a pair in the tiebreaker where he rallied from 3-5 down and saved set points at 6-7 and 7-8.

"I played a great match—that's for sure," Huesler said. "Honestly, I'm completely taken aback. Just tried to play tennis. I'm at a loss for words.

"It was a great match from my part as well. I just tried to stay focused, keep calm and I'm just very, very happy I'm able to make it through."

Forward thinking helped Huesler prevail in his maiden ATP final. The left-handed Swiss slashed seven aces against no double faults, fought off all four break points he faced and won 17 of 28 trips to net.

"I mean I'm a player who wants to go forward for sure," Huesler said. "To be honest, I was a bit scared to go for it at the end. That's part of my game that has to work for sure.

"I'm just trying to improve it for sure. I mean It's not always easy. The guys are returning really big so I have to serve big to support it. I'm just trying to compete."

A week after 41-year-old Swiss superstar Roger Federer retired at Laver Cup, Huesler brings bright hope to Swiss tennis becoming the first Swiss man to win at ATP title since 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer won 2019 Basel.




Huesler is the 12th man to win a maiden ATP title this season, joining the 19-year-old Rune, who won Munich.

First-Time Winners, ATP Tour, 2022

Thanasi Kokkinakis 25 Adelaide-2
Alexander Bublik 24 Montpellier
Felix Auger-Aliassime 21 Rotterdam
Pedro Martinez 24 Santiago
Holger Rune 19 Munich
Sebastian Baez 21 Estoril
Tim van Rijthoven 25 ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Francisco Cerundolo 23
Bastad Maxime Cressy 24 Newport
Lorenzo Musetti 20 Hamburg
Brandon Nakashima 21 San Diego
Marc-Andrea Huesler 26 Sofia

The victory vaults Huesler to a career-high rank of No. 64 in the live rankings, while Rune rises to No. 26.

"I never really expected to win an ATP event to be honest and I mean now I'm here playing great tennis all week," Huesler said. "I'm just really thrilled."

The fifth-seeded Rune ripped an ace holding at 15 for a 6-5 lead 40 minutes into the second set and putting pressure right back on the Swiss' shoulders.




Serving to force the tiebreaker, Huesler saved a pair of break points, including thumping a smash to deny the second break point. The Swiss serve-and-volleyed to seal a pressure-packed game.

In a topsy-turvy tiebreaker, Rune showed superb scrambling defense shoveling back a forehand from his rib cage to extend the point and drawing an error for the mini break and a 4-3 lead. Rune went up 5-3, but Huesler lifted his level crushing a forehand to earn his first career championship point at 6-5.

Playing it safe, Huesler paid the price and netted a running forehand pass. Rune threw down a smash for another set point at 7-6. Huesler stung a serve to level.

Facing another set point at 7-8, Huesler dug in and won the longest rally of the tiebreaker

 

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