Auckland - Czech Jiri Vesely came out on top in a battle of left-handed qualifiers
to claim his maiden ATP tour title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over
Frenchman Adrian Mannarino at the Auckland Open on Saturday.
A day after stunning world No 16 Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals,
the big-serving 21-year-old sent down 11 aces in the 67 minute contest
to become the first qualifier in more than three decades to win New
Zealand's most prestigious title.
Mannarino had started the match in fine fashion by breaking his
opponent's serve in the first game but the powerful Vesely broke back
and grabbed a second when the Frenchman double faulted before serving
out the set with a searing ace.
The second set started with a Mannarino double fault and things rarely
looked up for the world number 44 afterwards with only the rain clouds
gathering over Auckland looking likely to stop Vesely.
A downpour came with the Czech 5-1 up but the players were able to
resume without too much delay and the world number 63 wrapped up victory
with another huge ace.
Vesely will now head to Melbourne for the Australian Open and a
first-round meeting with Serbian Viktor Troicki, who plays in the final
of the Sydney International later on Saturday.