Former Menlo School star and ex-Top 20 player Dmitry Tursunov won his first ATP World Tour title since June 2009 as he defeated Ivan Dodig, 6-3, 6-2, in the final of the UNICEF Open in 's-Hertogenbosch on Saturday as a final tuneup for Wimbledon, which got under way on Monday.
The Russian, who helped Menlo win the 1998 Central Coast Section title with a 24-1 record and captured the CCS singles title in only his freshman season, has been sidelined for much of the past two years after undergoing three ankle surgeries.
His previous ATP World Tour title also came on grass, at the AEGON International in Eastbourne, England, in 2009. He improved to a 7-2 record in ATP World Tour finals.
"I've had a lot of good results this year, but not on the ATP [level," said Tursunov. "The start of the year was horrendous for me, in Australia I didn't do very well and I definitely didn't expect myself to be doing the way I'm doing right now. After being in tennis a long time now, I understand one week can be terrible and one week can be great. I happened to do all the right things at the right moments this week and I won."
The 28-year-old Tursunov, who played only one year at Menlo before turning pro, began this season just inside the Top 200 of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, but had risen to No. 70 prior to his run in 's-Hertogenbosch on the back of strong ATP Challenger Tour results. As victor of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament, the Russian received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and more than $70,000 in prize money.
In his first meeting with Dodig, Tursunov showed his superior finals experience and made a fast start, breaking to lead 3-1 before going on to close out the opening set. The match was suspended due to rain at 2-2 in the second set, and when play resumed 75 minutes later, Tursunov romped through the final four games in just 16 minutes to claim victory.
"At 5-3, 30/30 (in the first set) he had an overhead that he basically hit to my racquet, that was definitely a very important point. Had he won that, I was a little nervous at that time..." said Tursunov. "I came out at 2-2 [after the rain delay and was playing pretty aggressive. I knew that I had to play aggressive, but also within my limitations. I think my experience to deal with situations like that might have helped me a little bit today."
World No. 42 Dodig was bidding for his second ATP World Tour title, both of the season and his career, after victory on home soil at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in February.
Tursunov was scheduled to play his opening-round match at Wimbledon on Monday against Ernests Gulbis of Latvia.