It took 15 years playing on the pro tour, but 33-year-old Gilles Muller of Luxembourg finally broke the title duck on Saturday, in the championship match of the Apia International Sydney defeating Britain’s Daniel Evans 7-6(5), 6-2.
The unexpected final featuring the No. 6-seeded Muller, who was 0-5 career in ATP finals, against the unseeded Evans who was appearing in his first-ever final.
It was 13 years after Muller had appeared in his first ATP final.
“Everything that happened tonight was like in a movie,” said Muller, who will move into the Top 30 for the first time. “Rod Laver [presenting the trophy] there, standing on centre court with the trophy, my kids in the stands, can’t ask for more.”
Muller broke down in tears during the trophy presentation when addressing his wife Alessia and his two sons age 5 and under.
“Like you can see, I was pretty emotional out there on the court,” Muller said. “For the past two or three years, it was probably my biggest goal to win a title. I always dreamed of that, and I was so close last year… So I was very scared and worried that I was going to be one of those players who never win a title. Now I have it, and it just feels great.”
The 6-foot-4 ace machine delivered 12 during the final and 81 throughout the week.
“I couldn’t get anywhere near his serve,” Evans said. “I said yesterday he’s got a great serve. He showed it today.”
Last year at the ATP stop in Newport Muller squandered three match points in the final against Ivo Karlovic.
“The most important thing was not to let the frustration come up too much and just focus on what I had to do. I think I did pretty good,” he said.
Evans after the runner-up result is expected to rise just outside the Top 50.
“I hope it takes me six years if I get one,” said Evans, in his 11th year on tour at age 26. “I’d sign for it taking that many times if I got one. He got it in the end, and good for him. It was his day today.”
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