Martin Klizan ATP 500 Rotterdam Title Run Five Things

Klizan

Photo courtesy of movietvtechgeeks.com

Martin Klizan’s run to the ATP 500 Rotterdam title was one that showcased the Slovak’s fighting spirit, match winning forehand and his hunger for success. The Tennis Review looks at five points that made Klizan’s week in Rotterdam one to enjoy.

Martin Klizan saved 8 match points on his run to the final

Klizan did not lift his Rotterdam trophy without a few bruises along the way. The Slovakian came back from five match points down versus Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarters and then fought off three match points versus Nicolas Mahut in the semis.

Klizan, though, seemed to be having great fun in the heat of battle. In his semi-final win, Klizan made a name for himself not just as a Houdini, but also as a joker. During the second set tiebreak, the 26 year old hit a racket out of his opponent’s hand despite the point being over, did a forward roll after breaking Mahut when the Frenchman served for the match, and celebrated his eventual win by pretending to row a boat on the court.

Check out Klizan’s acrobatic skills in the tweet below.

Klizan came back from a set down in his last three matches

In both those matches, Klizan dropped the first set 6-7 before going onto win. The same scenario would play out in the final against Gael Monfils, though he would not have to save match points this time.

Klizan simply took control of the match at 3-3 in the second set, dropping just one more game on his way to a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-1 victory. 

The title is the biggest one of his career

The Rotterdam 500 title is the biggest one of Klizan’s ten season pro career. The 2006 Junior French Open champion has won 250 titles in Casablanca (‘15), Munich (‘14), and St Petersburg (’12), but had never made it as far as an ATP 500 final before.

Klizan is 4-0 in ATP Finals

Klizan has never lost an ATP final. Compare his record to his opponent Monfils who is now 5-18. 

In 2014, Klizan won the Munich Open as a qualifier. That streakiness, a quality seen throughout is career, is what had us at The Tennis Review picking him as the winner in a pool of Gael Monfils, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Nicholas Mahut in the semis. Once Klizan grabs some momentum, he has the skills, the mental toughness and the heart to run with it. 

That forehand, fighting spirit and hunger is going to take Klizan even higher

Tennis players peak older now, and Klizan, 26, is at the right age to hit his prime. He certainly has three of the biggest weapons you need to have a trophy laden couple of years- a big match winning shot, a love of competing and fighting, and the hunger to succeed.

Klizan’s forehand has been a major weapon in some big ATP wins- over Tsonga at the ’12 US Open, against Nadal in Beijing ’14, and versus Nishikori at Roland Garros ’14- and in some impressive contests which he lost but really pushed his rivals such as his 2014 five set loss to Tomas Berdych at the US Open.

That forehand is not just heavy and precise when he hits it in the right position for a winner, it is also full of shape and touch when he is on the run (See video below)

Knowing he can hit such a shot when in control of the point and when on the defensive is what is going to make Klizan a player to watch when he makes the business ends of slams and plays the big points.

Klizan’s hunger and fight can also be seen in his social media. His facebook below best says how much he wants success (well, second best after what he shows us on the court).

ATP ROTTERDAM,,V hlave sa mi pri tom neodohrávalo nič zvláštne, bolo to ako počas normálneho zápasu. Rozdiel je asi v…

Posted by Martin Kližan on Monday, February 15, 2016

 

In his Rotterdam trophy presentation ceremony, Klizan said he would not forget the moment. You have to think he will want to remind himself pretty soon, anyway.

Watch this space around the clay season and at Roland Garros. Klizan likes clay, he likes big matches, and he likes a crowd. There he will find all three and if he finds his game, he could find himself in the tennis big time.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.
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