Russian Mikhail Youzhny won a tense battle between HEAD racquet rebels as he defeated Croatian top seed Marin Cilic to claim his first title of the season with victory in Munich 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. The title was a relief for Youzhny, who came up short in earlier back-to-back 2010 finals against fellow HEAD players Robin Soderling in Rotterdam and Novak Djokovic in Dubai. The loss was the first for Cilic this season in a title match after winning in Chennai and Zagreb, both of which he also won in 2009.
"It was a really great match, but there were some tough moments for me," said Youzhny, 20-6 on the season. "At the beginning of the third set, two or three of my games were going from deuce to advantage and back to deuce, so it was really difficult." The winner, playing with a YouTek Extreme Pro against the YouTek Radical MP of Cilic, was pleased to have won in Munich. "It's a good tournament, there is a nice atmosphere."
Cilic temporarily found his winning momentum in the big moments stopped by Youzhny, with the Russian now holding a 4-0 lead in their series dating to 2008 in India. The Croatian said he knew he had a battle on his hands in the final. "The momentum swung in different ways in the first, second and third sets. I missed my chances at the beginning of the third when I had a break point and after that he was trying to get back into it.”
Both men now look towards the French Open, where No. 11 Cilic achieved his career-best of the fourth round a year ago while Youzhny reached the last 16 in 2007.
Meanwhile another HEAD Racquet Rebels have been quite succesful this weekend. Stanislas Wawrinka from Switzerland missed the final in Belgrade after two tough sets in 5:7. 5:7 against John Isner from USA in the semifinals. At the same tournament defending champion Novak Djokovic bowed out of the tournament after retiring mid-match against fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic. The World No. 2 retired due to illness and allergies.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain reached the semifinals at Estoril where he takes on local favorite Frederico Gil.
China's Peng Shuai entered semifinals of the WTA tournament in Estoril, showing her best performance of the season.