Tiafoe crowned champion in Nottingham
• 3 MINUTE READ
Frances Tiafoe is the new Viking Open Nottingham champion after beating fellow countryman Denis Kudla 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 10 minutes.
Tiafoe – who has known Kudla since he was four-years-old and trained at the same club in Maryland – demonstrated the form that saw him reach the top 30 in 2019, putting on masterclass in grass court tennis en route to lifting his sixth ATP Challenger singles title.
Coming into the match, Kudla held a 2-0 record advantage over his opponent, but Tiafoe looked energised from the off. He put his opponent under pressure from the first ball, breaking Kudla to 15 in the first game and then again in the third.
Kudla just managed to get on the scoreboard after saving three break points at 4-1, but the World No.74 was on a mission and bought his full arsenal of weapons to dominate the match.
The return game seemed the biggest difference between the two players – Tiafoe found great success stepping in on Kudla’s serve and won a whopping 50% of points against serve. Kudla on the other hand just couldn’t get hold of Tiafoe’s big serve and only managed to create one break point opportunity in the match.
In the second set Kudla found his feet but still couldn’t find a way to get ahead of his opponent. With the match at 4-3, Tiafoe hammered a forehand out wide to set up break point and as Kudla’s drop shot attempt rattled the net cord, the match was as good as finished.
After lifting the Ross Hutchins trophy, Tiafoe said: “I needed it bad this week and I’m really happy to be here.
I wouldn’t be the guy I am today without Denis, I’ve been trying to chase you since I was a kid. It feels good to beat you today but I’ve always looked up to you and I happy that we’re still able to keep a good friendship.”