Japan’s Taro Daniel beat fellow first-time ATP finalist Malek Jaziri 7-6(4), 6-4 to win the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open on Sunday.
Daniel’s five wins during the week were one more than he had in all of 2017 at the ATP level.
“Obviously really happy,” said Daniel, who upset Novak Djokovic earlier this year at Indian Wells, and had never reached an ATP semifinal. “I think today was a great match, a lot of long rallies from the beginning until the end. Very happy. I’m obviously pretty surprised that I suddenly won an ATP title. But I guess things like this happen.”
Coming into Istanbul, Daniel had lost in the first round in his previous tournament at the Sarasota Challenger in Florida. His best result this year had been reaching the round of 32 at Indian Wells. None of his results provided a preview to competing in his first ATP final on Sunday.
“I was feeling pretty nervous before the match,” Daniel said. “I was nervous, but I told myself, ‘I’m sure he’s more nervous than me.’ So that helped. When I started not badly…I started to calm down a bit more.”
The 25-year-old is a product of the world — born in New York, growing up in Japan, and training as a teenager in Spain. In the final set he needed four match points to close out Jaziri.
“Still a good result,” said the 34-year-old Jaziri. “I wanted to win. I gave everything today on the court. Today was not my day, so congratulations to Daniel and tomorrow I’ll go back to practice.”
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