THE LAST SAMURAI STANDING

Japan’s Taro Daniel stunned Malek Jaziri 7-6, 6-4 to clinch his maiden ATP title at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open.

Unseeded Taro Daniel’s fairytale week at the TEP BNP Paribas Istanbul Open came to a thrilling conclusion as the world no. 114 defeated another first-time finalist Malek Jaziri in two tight sets 7-6, 6-4 to claim his maiden ATP World Tour title.

In front of approximately 4000 spectators at the Garanti Koza Park, it was all-square until the ninth game before Jaziri drew the first blood breaking for 5-4. But the 34-year-old Tunisian wasn’t able to close out the set, giving back the break to Daniel.

Saving a set point at 4-5, it was Daniel who reached the set point two games later, but he was also unable to grab it as Jaziri extended the set to a tie-break. Daniel got the better off Jaziri in the crucial game to finish the 86-minute set 7/4 on a tie-break.

Daniel, who knocked out Berrettini, Bedene, Dutra Silva and Chardy respectively on the road to the final, made a strong start into the second set racing to a 2-0 lead. He lost the break advantage on the fourth game, but took it again on the next one.

He then had very solid serves not allowing Jaziri to get back into the match. Despite having not converted two match points on Jaziri’s service game at 5-4, Daniel sealed the deal on his own serve. Backhand winner down the line was all he needed on the fourth match point, marching to a stunning victory after 2 hours and 22 minutes.

Following his first tour-level semi-final and final, the Japanese takes home 76,020 euros in prize money and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points for his efforts while first time runner-up Jaziri earns 40,040 euros and 150 points from TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open.