The Winston-Salem Open made history this year, so did Ilya Ivashka claiming his first ATP Tour title.
In the shortest ATP Tour final of the year at 56 minutes, the Belarusian never let Mikael Ymer out of the gate in a comprehensive performance winning 6-0, 6-2. Ivashka played so cleanly he dropped only two points on his serve the entire match.
“This is an incredible feeling. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of,” says Ivashka. “My coach and I were talking a few months ago about what my goal was. For me, it was to win an ATP title this year.”
After dominating his semifinal opponent, Emil Ruusuvuori, 6-2, 6-1, the 27-year-old came out with even more fire for his first ATP tour final. He sailed through Saturday’s first set in just more than 20 minutes, ripping baseline winners and serving bombs routinely in the 130-mph range.
Ivaska is also the first Belarusian to win an ATP Tour title since Max Mirnyi in 2003.
“I grew up watching Max play. He was like an idol for all of us. I’ve wanted this since I was a kid. I just can’t say how happy I am. We don’t have too many people in Belarus who have won an ATP title, so it’s a great feeling.”
Not only is Winston-Salem Ivashka’s first tour-level title, but it also raises his overall singles ranking ten spots to around No. 53, which is a career high.
“I think I’ve had a really great preparation for the U.S. Open. I’m feeling really good physically, and I’m ready to play again on Tuesday,” said Ivashka.
The Winston-Salem Open earns a tournament high as well with record-breaking crowds and showcasing, for the first time, two unseeded finalists, both seeking maiden titles and both outside the top 50.
The tournament, though, has a history of helping to make champions. Of the 10 tournament winners, nine have risen to the top 20 in the world. The event’s most recent champions, Daniil Medvedev (2018) and Hubert Hurkacz (2019) currently sit at No. 2 and No. 13, respectively.
“We have always known this is a world-class event. These are just more great stories coming out of our community. The bigger story, though, is the support our fans gave all week long. We can’t say thank you enough. This is really a great experience for everyone, not just tennis fans, and we look forward to being back in 2022,” says Tournament Director Jeff Ryan.
Full attendance numbers will be available in the coming weeks.
The 2022 Winston-Salem Open is set for Aug. 20-27.