Martin Klizan won his second ATP 500 title of the 2016 season on Sunday, beating Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the German Tennis Championships.
The 27-year-old maintained his perfect record in ATP finals with clean, powerful tennis, taking full advantage of the struggles from the third-seeded Cuevas.
As shared by tennis writer Jake Davies, it's been quite the year for Klizan:
Cuevas had been arguably the most in-form player of the week at the German Championships, putting together several impressive performances to advance to the final, but on Sunday, his good form abandoned him.
From the start of the match, he found himself on the losing end in the rallies against the southpaw, who moved well around the court and used a nice variety of drop shots and power strokes.
Cuevas didn't play bad, but he made too many unforced errors and struggled to find the right distance with his groundstrokes, which allowed Klizan to send him all over the court. Davies noted Cuevas had nowhere to go in the rallies:
Fans who were hoping for a competitive or exciting final should not have travelled to Hamburg, as Klizan dominated his opponent in the opening set. It didn't last long, via Live Tennis:
Klizan, who is still ranked 24th in the world despite his injury-stricken season and would rank far lower if not for his unexpected win in Rotterdam, continued his fine form in the second set, but Cuevas turned the match into more of a contest.
The Uruguayan, who won the Brazil Open earlier this year and even has a doubles Grand Slam title on his resume, cleaned up his play and started relying more on his serve, firing in five aces.
But once again, he found himself on the back foot in the rallies, and his lack of efficiency continued. Cuevas gave away only four break chances during the match, but that was more than enough for Klizan, who converted every one of his chances and cruised to the win.
The key games came late in the set, as Klizan pulled away in the seventh game and pushed his advantage to his second ATP 500 title of the year and fifth career ATP title. Tennis writer Ricky Dimon noticed this odd trend:
The 2016 season has been a rough one for Klizan, but the Slovak has showed fantastic resolve to come back from injury and bag the German Tennis Championships, one of the biggest titles of his career.
It's a great omen for the final few months of his season, even if Klizan tends to play his best tennis on clay. He did beat Gael Monfils on the hard court in the Netherlands and will like his chances on some of the faster courts in the U.S.