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Leonardo Mayer vs Florian Mayer German Tennis Championships tennis live: Florian Mayer aims to become first German Hamburg champion since 1993

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 29 Jul 2017
  • Leonardo Mayer faces Florian Mayer in the final of the German Tennis Championships on Sunday
  • Mayer vs Mayer German Tennis Championships tennis is live from Hamburg at 3pm local/2pm BST
Leonardo Mayer

It’s not quite the ATP World Tour’s answer to Venus vs Serena, but it could be a decent Hamburg final as Leonardo Mayer faces Florian Mayer for the title at the German Tennis Championships.

Pity the umpire as Germany’s Florian Mayer takes on Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer in the final of the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg on Sunday.

Intriguingly, this isn’t the first time that two players named Mayer have made a final; in Stockholm in 1981, Gene Mayer faced Sandy Mayer. 

Ultimately, it’s a fun but meaningless coincidence that won’t distract either player from what’s on the line in this final: A 500-level title at the prestigious German Tennis Championships, and with the relative weakness of the field in terms of top players in the draw, that’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around that often.

Leonardo Mayer is going for his second title in Hamburg, having claimed the title back in 2014 when he beat clay-court stalwart David Ferrer in three sets. Leonardo rose to world no. 26 in the rankings as a result and went on to make a career-high ranking of world no. 21 in June of 2015 after finishing runner-up to Dominic Thiem in Nice, but he dropped like a stone in 2016 as he was beset by a shoulder injury and by the time he lost in the first round of Hamburg 12 months ago, he was out of the world’s top 100. 

Leonardo dropped down to the Challenger Tour, winning a title in Manerbio and finishing runner-up in Buenos Aires, and after making a belated start to the 2017 season in February – he became a father in January – he hasn’t really been able to stabilize his downwards momentum despite a Challenger final in Le Tigre (the only event he’s played off clay courts this year). Despite sticking grimly to clay, Mayer has had little success until recent weeks, when he reached the final of the Bastad Challenger (losing to Dusan Lajovic) and went on to qualify for the ATP World Tour Bastad event the following week, losing to Alexandr Dolgopolov in just the third main draw match at an ATP event he had played that year.

Leonardo Mayer needed something to turn his season around, and it happened this week when Martin Klizan withdrew due to a calf injury, allowing the world no. 152 into the main draw in Hamburg despite having lost to world no. 920 Rudolf Molleker, a German wildcard, in qualifying. Leonardo made the most of his opportunities by ousting top seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas in three sets in the first round, going on to beat Jiri Vesely and Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets before polishing off Federico Delbonis in an all-Argentine semifinal, 6-3, 7-5 in just 84 minutes on Saturday.

‘Today, I played very well,’ Leonardo said. ‘It's never easy to play a friend. Federico is one of the best players on a clay court. It wasn't easy for me, but I'm very happy for this win. I hope I can keep it going tomorrow.’

Leonardo is looking to follow in the footsteps of Andrey Rublev, who just last week won a title as a lucky loser at the Croatia Open in Umag – Florian, his opponent, wants to follow in the footsteps of Michael Stich, the last German man to win in Hamburg all the way back in 1993.

The world no. 101 is already the first German man to make the final since Tommy Haas in 2012, and it will also be the first ATP World Tour final since Bogota in 2013 to feature two players ranked outside the top 100. 

Ranked as high as world no. 18 in 2011, when he won the first title of his career in Bucharest and also made the final in Munich, injuries have really decimated Florian Mayer’s career. He was unable to play from March 2014 until April 2015, when he returned to competition and played 19 matches over the next few months before a groin injury forced him off court again until April 2016. Down at world no. 268 when he came back, Florian Mayer was top 50 again by the end of the season after winning Challenger titles in Portoroz and Meerbusch and, stunningly, a 500-level title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle where he beat Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev.

Astonishingly, Florian Mayer lost 11 of his first 13 matches in 2017 and unsurprisingly dropped out of the top 100 like a stone after failing to defend his Halle title (he lost in the quarterfinals to Roger Federer). 

Now, however, he has an opportunity to get back into the top 50 by winning the Hamburg title. Earning direct entry to the 500-level event despite being ranked world no. 114, Florian beat Marco Cecchinato, Andrey Kuznetsov and sixth seed Diego Schwartzman to set up an all-German semifinal against Philipp Kohlschreiber. Despite leading by a break in the first set, Mayer lost four straight games to go down 4-6 but was up 3-2 on serve in the second set when Kohlschreiber abruptly retired due to a hip injury to put his compatriot in the final.

The two Mayers have played three times before, with Leonardo winning their first battle in Delray Beach in 2010 and Florian winning on hard courts in 2010 and on grass in Halle in 2013, their most recent encounter. Florian’s funky, unconventional, tricky game is very effective when he is on song, but if not he can find himself trading from behind the baseline. Leonardo has won this title before, but he doesn’t have Florian’s variety or finesse. Based on how well each man played in the semifinals, one would suspect Leonardo will win this battle for Mayer dominance and claim a second Hamburg crown. 

Mayer vs Mayer is scheduled on Centre Court in Hamburg on Sunday at 3pm local/2pm BST

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Leonardo Mayer vs Florian Mayer German Tennis Championships tennis live: Florian Mayer aims to become first German Hamburg champion since 1993

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