Russian-Israeli Aslan Karatsev continues his remarkable season by winning his first ATP Tour title, beating Lloyd Harris in the Dubai final.
The 27-year-old, who became the first man to reach the semi-finals on their Grand Slam debut in the Open era at the Australian Open last month, cruises past South African Harris 6-3, 6-2.
“You never know when (success) is coming,” says Karatsev, who is the first wildcard to win the Dubai title since Thomas Muster in 1997.
“I did a good job with my team, with my coach and it has happened now.”
It is his first ATP singles final, having won an event for the first time on tour in last week’s doubles tournament in Doha, alongside Russian compatriot Andrey Rublev.
“I am super happy. It was a tight match. (I was) really nervous,” adds Karatsev. “I want to congratulate my opponent for the final (run). He did a great week… I am happy that I won.”
Karatsev plays for Russia but grew up and trained in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew. He left the country as a youth, and recent days have seen the leaders of the Israel Tennis Association shaking their heads at their failure to identify and nurture his talent.