Published: 05:00, 16 November 2021
Anton Matusevich admitted practice made perfect after waltzing to the UK Pro League title without dropping a set.
Sevenoaks star Matusevich, 20, breezed past Henry Patten 6-2, 6-4 in Sunday’s men’s final to solidify his reputation as one of British tennis’ hottest young prospects.
The world No.422 racked up a stunning first serve win percentage of 93 per cent to blow away Patten - ranked over 300 places below him - at the Shrewsbury Club.
Matusevich has been striving to improve his service games back home and reckons focussing on his all-important ‘third ball’ held the key to his dominance.
Matusevich, who did not drop a set in Finals Week and claimed a lucrative £15,000 prize pot for clinching the crown, said: “I’m very pleased with that, as that second set was getting heated.
“Me and my coaches back at home have worked a lot on my third ball - the shot after the serve.
"My serve is not like Nick Kyrgios and I don’t really hit too many aces, but it’s the shot behind it that’s very important.
“We’ve worked a lot on that in the past and it’s proven to be very key here.
“I didn’t want to be on the court (in the second set) and he was hitting some really good shots. I’m just happy to get through it as I got quite lucky at 4-4.
“I just wanted to get some matches in this week and really improve my game - you’re guaranteed five matches win or lose, and I’m very happy to come out on top.
“Tennis is a very expensive sport with the travelling so I’d like to say a very big thanks to everyone here. The crowd were really good, and that was very nice on a Sunday.”
Nine individual qualifying weeks culminated in the eagerly-anticipated UK Pro League Finals Week, where the country's top professionals descended on Shropshire to duel it out for the men's and women's trophies.
Week 2 and 3 winner Matusevich did not lose a match in the format since the Week 1 semi-finals and outlined his superiority in style on Sunday.
After beating Giles Hussey in straight sets in Saturday’s semi-final, he carried on where he left off by defeating Patten in rapid time to take the first set.
And despite a valiant Patten rally, the Suffolk player was unable to turn the tables as Matusevich held his nerve to cruise over the line.
Patten was crowned Week 4 winner of the UK Pro League and admits he was blown away by Matusevich’s superior firepower.
The 25-year-old, who toppled former Wimbledon star Dan Cox in his semi-final, said: “I knew that I’d have to play at my best to have a chance. I didn’t quite do that, but he played a fantastic match and it’s been a successful week."
With a prize fund of around £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, FreeSports, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv, the UK Pro League is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year.