Soweto - The circumstances may not have been ideal, but Vasek Pospisil claimed his first ever Soweto Open title after his opponent Michal Przysiezny retired hurt in the deciding third set at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Canadian was thrilled with what he described as his most important title to date, but admitted ending the contest without a clear-cut result made it a bit less special.
"You never want to end a match on a retirement. We're all competitors, but we all like winning the right way and that's obviously not one of them," Pospisil said after the match.
"But having said that, from a personal standpoint it's been a great week and I played very well. I'm satisfied with my attitude and my tennis this whole week."
Przysiezny had claimed the tightly-contested first set after it went to a tie-break and looked to be in fine form, but pain in his back saw his movement increasingly restricted.
"I think I must have slept badly and my back is very stiff," Przysiezny said.
"In the warm-up before the match I felt okay but during the match I was not comfortable. Even in the first set I was struggling and couldn't find movement.
"At the start of the second set, when I got broken, I got a little bit (upset) and my back was hurting more and more and I was not able to play good tennis. It was disappointing but luckily it's not a serious injury, after two or three days off it will be okay."
Nothing seemed to go Przysiezny's way in the second, and the Pole looked like a different player on court and was struggling, eventually going down 6-0.
Pospisil had also clearly upped his game, increasing the level of speed and aggression in his shots.
One of the telling statistics from the second set was that Przysiezny only managed to win three of the 27 points played.
Przysiezny was broken again easily in the first game of the third set but did manage to get on the scoreboard, at 2-1.
But by 4-1, he simply couldn't continue and called time on the final.
Pospisil, who defeated local favourite Rik de Voest on his way to the final, had played some enterprising tennis in Soweto this week.
As a result of this victory, he stands on the verge of a top 100 spot in the world rankings.
"Obviously it's been a huge week for me and perfect timing right before Wimbledon,“ Pospisil said.
"I have a chance of getting into the main draw there, depending on how next week pans out and how the other players move.
"But just giving myself that opportunity, and even the fact that it's a possibility is great. This is the biggest title of my career so I couldn't be happier with this week."
Action continues at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex on Monday with the women's week of the Soweto Open.
Vasek Pospisil (CAN x3) bt Michal Przysiezny (POL x4) 6-7 (9/7), 6-0, 4-1 retired
Vasek Pospisil wins this year's Soweto Open (Gallo Images)