The Dutch wild card came out on top in a thrilling semi-final encounter with Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Libema Open on Saturday, holding his nerve to clinch a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(5).
Van Rijthoven was excited to get a chance to play at an ATP event having rarely done so in the past but he never thought he would be contesting his maiden ATP final. Speaking after the match he made sure that the crowd understood how vital they were:
“I’d like to thank all the people that came out today, the support was incredible. I don’t know where to start. I got the wild card here which was already a surprise for me. I was just happy to play one or two matches at least. To be in the final is just incredible, I have no words.”
He further said:
“We both served very well. First set when I broke him, I just made him play a lot and made him make the mistakes. [In the] second set I was thinking a little bit of course, ‘If I win this set, I’ll be in the finals of an ATP event, which I’ve never even played before.’ So that was quite intense, and then in the third set it was just everything back to zero, and just go.”
Saturday’s win lifts Van Rijthoven 65 places to No. 140 in the ATP Live Rankings. Victory in Sunday’s championship match could push the 25-year-old as high as No. 106.