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Tennis - Erste Bank Open title as a milestone for Midler

Tennis – Erste Bank Open title as a milestone for Midler

On the last Sunday of the ATP 500 final in Vienna, Tulln’s Lucas Miedler and partner Alex Erler were thrillingly victorious in front of a sold-out Stadthalle crowd, thus celebrating their biggest success yet.

Traumlove started on a small scale

But the dream run of Midler and Erler initially began on a small scale. Because until the final on the main court, the two players played their matches continuously on the side court of the championship at the Heumarkt in Vienna. Equipped with a wild card by Tournament Director Herwig Straka, the home duo made their second start in the main competition for the ATP 500 Championship.

In the first round, the Austrians were able to confidently assert themselves against Andrei Rublev and Karen Khachanov. In the subsequent quarter-finals, two-time Grand Slam winner and former world number one Marcelo Melo (Brazil) and top 10 singles player Hubert Hurkacz (Poland) were waiting for the Austrians. The local champions also masterfully mastered this hurdle with 7:6 and 6:4, which secured entry to the semi-finals.

There, the winged duo followed up with another two-set victory, thus dramatically reaching the final of the biggest tournament in Austria. “Maybe we won the Heumarkt 2022,” Midler joked after his semi-final success.

In the final, Midler and Erler were finally allowed to enter the big stage. At the district court in Wiener Stadthalle, favorites of the local audience met the Latin American duo Gonzalez (MEX) / Molteni (ARG). The Austrians got off to a great start from the start and were already 3-0 ahead after 10 minutes. The two of them couldn’t take that break anymore. When the score was 5:3, Erler sent the first set with a powerful blow.

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Midler shines on the net

In particular, Tulln’s strong network game shaped the character of this finale. In the second round, all the champions managed to keep their serve, after which the tiebreaker had to make the decision.

After losing a point to 0: 1, the Austrians started an incredible run and did not give up a single point. With a score of 6:1 in the tiebreak, it was Miedler who dried up the match in the 81st minute with a winning forehand.

Under thunderous applause from 9,500 spectators, the duly thrilling winners were celebrated for their first ATP 500 title. It was Midler and Earler’s second ATP-level championship victory, following Kitzbühel’s surprise win last year. In front of a local crowd, they played their way from wild card to nearly winning the championship with deja vu.

Home inspired feature

“We really like the onlookers to take us with them. The house feature inspires even more,” Midler said.

With this victory, Miedler and Erler also wrote part of the history of red, white and red tennis. Because there has never been a purely Austrian winning duo at Stadthalle. Also, Miedler and Erler are now the first Austrian players who can claim the doubles title in each of their Austrian ATP (Vienna and Kitzbühel) tournaments.

“We said to ourselves, ‘If no one has written this story yet, let’s write it now,'” Midler said with a wink.

The top pair can now serve together at the Australian Open.

Apa / Eva Manhart

With their victory, the doubles specialists received not only 72,150 euros in prize money for the individual, but also a whopping 500 ATP points. The Austrians are now taking a big step in the world rankings.

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Alexander Erler entered the world’s top 50 for the first time at number 50 (+25), behind him was Lucas Midler at number 55 (+26). With this arrangement, the two players will not only be the top doubles players in Austria going forward, but also participation in the Australian Open 2023 in January is certain for the first time.

Despite the successes in doubles, Tullner does not want to write off his singles career yet. “I will continue to serve in the singles,” said Midler, who wants to return to the top 300 there as soon as possible. “However, it is now difficult to combine the two.”