Matusevich reveals secret to success after storming to stunning UK Pro League title

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Matusevich, 20, toppled Henry Patten in straight sets to clinch the coveted UK Pro League golden pineapple
Matusevich, 20, toppled Henry Patten in straight sets to clinch the coveted UK Pro League golden pineapple

Anton Matusevich admits practice made perfect after waltzing to the UK Pro League title without dropping a set, writes Will Jennings.

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 – in the Shrewsbury Club showpiece.

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 today – and that was very nice on a Sunday.”

Nine individual qualifying weeks culminated in the eagerly-anticipated UK Pro League Finals Week, where the highest-ranked stars descended on Shropshire to duel it out for the men's and women's trophies.

And as the Premier League of British tennis - and the only domestic competition for the country's top professionals - with over half a million pounds of prize money up for grabs across the season, all the action was broadcast live on BT Sport, The Tennis Channel and UKproleague.tv, with Finals Week also broadcast live on free to air channel FreeSports (Freeview Channel 64 / Sky Channel 422 / Virgin Channel 553 / BT TV Channel 64 / TalkTalk Channel 64).

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 swatting aside Patten in rapid time to take the first set.

And despite a valiant Patten rally, the Suffolk ace 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 says the format can lay the foundations for a successful stint on the international tour.

The 25-year-old, who toppled former Wimbledon star Dan Cox in his semi-final, said: “It’s been a successful week.

“I’ve really enjoyed every second of it and every week I’ve played – I want to say a massive thank you to the whole team who put these events on.

“All the players love them – it’s an amazing opportunity for us and helps us fund our careers, so it’s amazing.

“Anton is pretty good. I knew that going into it and 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.

“I’ll go home for a few days then get back to training, before travelling to Greece in a couple of weeks – which I’m looking forward to.”

With a prize fund of around £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, 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.

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