STUTTGART: Austrian Dominic Thiem won the ATP event in Stuttgart on Monday after rain caused the grasscourt final against German Philipp Kohlschreiber to be held over.
Kohlschreiber had been leading Thiem 3-2 in a first-set tiebreaker on Sunday when play was halted for the day.
But the Austrian world number seven upped his game Monday, eventually running out a 6-7 (2/7), 6-4, 6-4 winner with the contest played on a side court in front of a small crowd of 1,000 due to water damage on the Centre Court grass.
“I’ve never been so relieved,”: said Thiem after claiming his fourth title of a breakthrough season. “This is by far my most special trophy.
“Every title is wonderful, the only thing comparable would be winning Kitzbuehel at home,” said the seventh-ranked Austrian.
“I came here almost expecting to lose in the first round. Then I reached the semi-finals, the final and now the title.
“I couldn’t have expected this in my wildest dreams.”
Thiem, who moved into the ATP top 10 last week after a French Open semi-final performance, had already claimed titles in 2016 at Buenos Aires, Acapulco and Nice.
The 22-year-old, who saved two match points as he knocked out Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, was successful in his bid to become the first man this season to claim trophies on three different surfaces — clay, hardcourt and now grass.
“It’s sad to lose the final, but I think it was a very good final,” said Kohlschreiber, winner of five of his seven titles at German home events.
“It was a tough situation, because of the rain, but overall it was a great finish for the tournament and for Dominic.
“Everyone hates to wait, it’s the worst thing that can happen to you. But it didn’t seem to bother Dominic.
“We had an intense mental battle; the difference was that he played better on the big points.
“I’m happy with the performance, the loss is a little bit annoying, but I’m happy with the week. I’m now looking forward to playing another tournament in Germany (Halle).”