Czech tennis star Jiří Lehečka claims first ATP title at Adelaide International

After making the quarterfinals at the Australian Open last year, the 22-year-old Czech has claimed his very first ATP title at the Adelaide International. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.01.2024 12:20:00 (updated on 13.01.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Rising Czech tennis star Jiří Lehečka has clinched his first-ever ATP title in a gripping showdown at the Adelaide International. The 22-year-old, seeded seventh in the tournament, orchestrated a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 come-from-behind victory against unseeded British contender Jack Draper over the two-hour and nine-minute match.

In the intense final, Lehečka showcased his prowess with 34 winners, ten more than his opponent, along with eight aces and 17 unforced errors. This victory not only elevates his status in the tennis world but also sees him climb to a career-best 23rd position in the ATP rankings, moving up from his current rank of 32.

“It’s hard for me to say something, because it is so emotional for me to win my first title here in Adelaide,” the Czech star told reporters during the trophy ceremony. "We've been waiting for this moment for a long time, and now it's here," he added, thanking coach Michal Navrátil as well as his family and fan base.

“I’m super excited. I would like to congratulate Jack and his team, because it is such a joy to watch you… I wish you all the best for the rest of the season. Just stay healthy and keep playing.”

Lehečka journey to his first title included a big splash at last year's Australian Open, where he reached the quarterfinals for the first time in his ATP career. In August 2023, he made the finals at the Winston-Salem Open in the United States, but ultimately lost to Argentina's Sebastian Báez.

Lehečka's victory at the Adelaide International is not only the first in his career, but also breaks a four-year Czech ATP title drought. The last Czech to win an ATP tournament was Jiří Veselý at the Maharashtra Open in Pune in 2020.

“I’d like to congratulate Jiří and his coach,” Draper said after today's title match. ”You guys have been doing some amazing work. A career-high ranking, playing some amazing tennis, and your first title. I was trying to do the same today, but you deserve it and you were the better player today.”

The Czech tennis star's path to the Adelaide International title included notable victories against opponents like American Sebastian Korda and Chile's Nicolás Jarry. With an Australian Open campaign on the horizon, Lehečka's will carry the momentum of his first ATP title.

The 2024 Australian Open kicks off in Melbourne on Sunday. Lehečka will face off against Spain's Bernabé Zapata Miralles in his opening match on Tuesday.

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