Constant Lestienne poses with the Malaga Open trophy. / JULIO SALCEDO

Malaga's inaugural ATP Challenger tennis tournament declared a success

Constant Lestienne was the Open winner beating Emilio Gómez in Sunday's final (6-3, 5-7 and 6-2) in the Costa del Sol capital

MARINA RIVAS

Constant Lestienne defeated Emilio Gómez 6-3, 5-7 and 6-2 on Sunday to become the winner of the inaugural Malaga Open. It was the city's first time hosting an ATP Challenger event, in what was a successful trial run for future editions of this tennis tournament which is aiming to become a staple on the sport's international calendar.

Emilio Gómez (ranked world number 151) had to settle for another second-place finish, after being beaten in the doubles final in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Constant Lestienne (149th), who wasn't as powerful as his opponent, played an intelligent match, was more consistent in his play and recognised the Ecuadorian's weaknesses; though the Frenchman at times found himself under pressure and without the majority of the support from the fans.

Slow start

Gómez initially found himself 3-0 down in a very short space of time and it seemed like he had lost the opening set. He found his form and won his next three service games, but it wasn't enough and lost the set 6-3 as Lestienne found spaces that his opponent couldn't reach.

The Frenchman made too many mistakes in the following set and gifted his opponent a 3-1 lead. Gómez then had his serve broken for Lestienne to go 5-4 up, but the Ecuadorian held on and eventually won 7-5.

However, Gómez's overexertion in the second set and the tiring day of tennis on Saturday meant that he ran out of steam for the final games of the evening. Lestienne brough out the best in himself and quickly put an end to the match with a convincing 6-2 set, earning the first individual trophy at the Malaga Open.