Tim Van Rijthoven completed a dream week at the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on Sunday, when the World No. 205 raced to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Daniil Medvedev to clinch a maiden ATP Tour title.
The Dutch wild card was playing in a maiden championship match on just his second appearance in a tour-level main draw. However, he showed no sign of nerves in front of an ecstatic home crowd on his way to a 65-minute victory over a player who will reclaim the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.
“This is new for me, it’s going to take some time getting used to,” said Van Rijthoven, who had not won a tour-level match prior to this week, in his on-court interview. “What a dream this week. I would like to thank my team for staying humble this week, doing the normal things, not making this thing any bigger than it was.
“I would like to thank all of you,” added Van Rijthoven when addressing his home crowd. “Your support was incredible this week.”
As well as Medvedev, Van Rijthoven beat Matthew Ebden, Taylor Fritz, Hugo Gaston and Felix Auger-Aliassime in ‘s-Hertogenbosch to become the first Dutchman to win the ATP 250 event since Sjeng Schalken in 2003.
Van Rijthoven enjoyed a bright start to his maiden tour-level meeting with Medvedev, breaking the World No. 2 in the second game to move ahead early. He was pegged back immediately by the top seed, however who restored parity at 2-2 with a break of his own.
The opening set seemed destined for a tie-break when Van Rijthoven struck again for a crucial break in the 10th game, converting his first break point on the Medvedev serve to clinch it 6-4. That proved a decisive moment in the match as the wild card’s momentum took him to an unassailable 5-0 lead with a double break in the second set. The 25-year-old served out for the title in style, holding to love to become the lowest-ranked tour-level titlist of 2022.
Van Rijthoven’s win was powered by his ability to pressure the Medvedev serve. The Dutchman carved out 10 break point opportunities in the match, converting four of them.
“Amazing weekend. [You] destroyed the No. 2 in the world in straight sets in the final, so I think it must be a good feeling!” said Medvedev to Van Rijthoven. “An amazing game today. Keep it going. I remember you from juniors, you have the talent so now you need to make more matches like this and more tournaments like this! Congratulations to you and your team.”
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The defeat means Medvedev remains trophy-less for 2022, but the 26-year-old will nonetheless be heartened by his run in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which culminated in his first tour-level championship match appearance since the Australian Open in January.
“I’d like to show huge respect to Daniil,” said Van Rijthoven of the soon-to-be World No.1. “You’re a great player, I’ve watched you on TV many times, and now to play you myself, that was already a dream. Playing against you was amazing and it was an honor to share the court with you, and you are for sure going to win many more titles. I’ll see you hopefully in the future many more times on the court.”
Van Rijthoven’s run in ‘s-Hertogenbosch is set to propel the Dutchman up 99 places to a career-high No. 106 in Monday’s update of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.