For the majority of the match, the No. 7 seed Lukas Rosol was not the superior player in the Winston-Salem Open Championship. But Rosol kept grinding, and when it mattered most, the 29-year-old from the Czech Republic stayed strong to defeat Jerzy Janowicz 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
Janowicz won 52 percent of the points and coasted through his service games, while Rosol faced frequent pressure on his serve. After getting two breaks in the first set, the 6-8 Pole failed to convert on his six break point opportunities in the second set. In comparison, Rosol had zero break opportunities.
"I was just focusing on my serve because when he served I had no chances," Rosol stated.
At 5-5 in the set, Janowicz had triple break point, but Rosol methodically won point after point with his powerful serve and big forehand. Instead of serving for the match, Janowicz held to bring the match to a tiebreaker.
In the tiebreaker, however, Rosol looked at ease. He displayed great patience at the baseline, while Janowicz, who was battling for his first ATP title, played timid on key points.
Rosol added, "Jerzy was playing great, so I just wanted to play solid. If he made a big shot, he is the champion. But if he worries too much, which probably he was [on the big points], I just needed to play solid."
As the match wore on to a third set, fatigue became a huge factor in the physical, humid match. Rosol benefited from a fortuitous draw. Down a set to Ryan Harrison in the round of 32, Harrison aggravated his serving shoulder. Rosol also received a free pass to the semifinals after No. 1 seed John Isner withdrew from a foot injury. He also played the early match yesterday, while Janowicz didn't get off the court until 9:30 pm.
"He was a little physically down. By the end of the second set his body language showed he was tired and this gave me power. In the third set, I found the power," Rosol said.
While Janowicz stated, "The difference is my six matches and his three. It was double the amount of play. It happens. Lukas was quite lucky with the walkovers. It happens."
After a series of holds, Janowicz put himself in the drivers seat to capture his first trophy. With Rosol serving at 4-5, the 23-year-old had two championship points. On the first, Rosol hit a crushing forehand down-the-line for a winner. On the second, however, Janowicz hit a slice drop shot, and Rosol hit a lunged return. Janowicz proceeded to hit a lob that landed long by a racket-length. Rosol evened the score with a booming first serve.
At 5-5, Janowicz showed a combination of fatigue and inexperience as he tried to force winners instead of allowing the point to develop. He hit three forehand unforced errors and Rosol got his first service break of the match.
Serving at 6-5, Rosol could not be denied. With his first match point, Rosol hit an overpowering ace down the tee and dropped on his knees to clinch his second career title and first on hard courts.
With his sweat dripping down into his smile, Rosol who will reach a career-high No. 27, was optimistic about his physical wear going into the US Open, "It is different if you win or lose in the this match for your body mentally. if you lose this match, you are [twice as tired]."