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Qualifier Jiri Vesely lived up to his “rising star” billing Saturday in Auckland, taking out fellow lefty Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour to capture his first ATP World Tour title at the Heineken Open. The World No. 63 is the first Czech to win in Auckland since Jiri Novak in 1996.

Vesely Captures First Career Title In Auckland

Qualifier Jiri Vesely lived up to his “rising star” billing Saturday in Auckland, taking out fellow lefty Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour to capture his first ATP World Tour title at the Heineken Open. The World No. 63 is the first Czech to win in Auckland since Jiri Novak in 1996.
Qualifier Jiri Vesely lived up to his “rising star” billing Saturday in Auckland, taking out fellow lefty Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour to capture his first ATP World Tour title at the Heineken Open. The World No. 63 is the first Czech to win in Auckland since Jiri Novak in 1996.

“It feels amazing to be part of the ATP champions,” said Vesely. “It’s not something that everyone is [able] to achieve, so I’m very grateful for that.

“It’s a great start for me… I can really see that it’s possible to play with the best guys and I think that’s something very important for me for the future.” 

The 21 year old, named the ATP Star of Tomorrow presented by Emirates in 2013, upset World No. 13 Ernests Gulbis and World No. 16 Kevin Anderson en route to the championship. With the win, Vesely added his name to the list of ATP World Tour title winners born in the 1990s, joining Milos Raonic (6), Grigor Dimitrov (4), David Goffin (2), Bernard Tomic (2) and Federico Delbonis (1). 
 
In the first final appearance for both players, it was Vesely who grabbed the momentum, firing 11 aces and converting on four of seven break point opportunities.

“I was really believing in myself, that my game could be better than his, and I was just trying to be more patient and to put more balls back and just not let him play the game he’d like to play,” said Vesely.

The Czech led the tournament in aces, first and second serve points won, as well as service games won.

“When you get broken by someone who’s serving like this, you feel like it’s slipping away,” said Mannarino. “I was trying to deal with my own game and it was really tough today. I didn’t have the same feeling that I had during the week. I didn’t feel the ball the same way. Unfortunately it happened in the final.”