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Dodig Beats Berrer To Win Maiden Title

Zagreb, Croatia

Ivan Dodig© Sime SokotaIvan Dodig won his first ATP World Tour title at the first attempt.

Ivan Dodig ensured the PBZ Zagreb Indoors trophy remained in Croatian hands for the third straight year as he won his first ATP World Tour title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over eighth seed Michael Berrer in Sunday’s final at the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament.

The 26-year-old Dodig had failed to reach the semi-finals of an ATP World Tour event prior to his giant-killing run in Zagreb, which saw him beat No. 2 seed and 2006 champion Ivan Ljubicic in the quarter-finals followed by No. 3 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the semi-finals. The Croatian received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €72,600.

“This is the best thing that can happen to a player - to play at home in front of your own crowd and win your first title," declared Dodig. "I’m really happy and enjoying the moment. It’s been amazing all week; it’s an unbelievable experience.

"I didn’t have any pressure, I just tried to concentrate on my tennis and play point by point until the last point. I think I was serving very well all week, especially on the important points. I’m really happy that my serve was working great in every match."

The unseeded Dodig made a fast start to the match, breaking serve in the second game as he clinched the opening set in 38 minutes. After saving four break points in a lengthy fourth game of the second set, Dodig then broke through in the seventh game before saving one more break point as he served out victory after one hour and 38 minutes. The Zagreb resident struck 16 aces and saved seven break points in total.

The No. 84-ranked Dodig compiled his first Top 100 (No. 88) finish on the ATP World Tour last season and was the only player to take a set off eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Australian Open this year. He improved to a 7-2 mark on the season.

Germany’s Berrer suffered disappointment in the Zagreb final for the second year in a row, having finished runner-up to Marin Cilic in his maiden ATP World Tour final last year. The 30 year old had advanced to the final without the loss of a set, including victory over fifth seed Florian Mayer in the semi-finals.

"My performance wasn’t as stable as earlier in the week and I gave him two easy breaks of serve," lamented Berrer. "I don’t think I played that good today – it was probably the worst match I played all week. But he played at a good level. He was serving like his mentor Goran [Ivanisevic]! It was difficult for me today. Whenever I had a break point he came out with some great serving.

“I’m looking forward to coming back – as they say, all good things come in three, so hopefully it will be third time lucky next year.”

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