Dan Cox comes back from the brink to win his third professional title
After being on the verge of pulling out of last week's $15,000 tournament in Dublin due to exhaustion, Lincolnshire's Dan Cox battled back to win his third professional title.
Cox says a new-found self-belief and resolve paved the way to him winning the Irish open – his second tournament victory in as many weeks.
The win comes hot on the heels of a victory in a $10,000 event in Frinton, Essex, the week before and should see the former Hykeham student rocketing up the world tennis rankings.
In Dublin, four out of his five matches went to three sets and the 19-year-old talent also survived two match points in a thrilling semi-final against local favourite James McGee.
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"The whole week was full of little personal battles and turning points in my games," said Cox.
"There were so many times during the week when I was down and out of it. But after winning in Frinton, I was just able to believe in myself a bit more.
"In my second round match I lost the first set 6-1 and it seemed like I was finished. But I was able to dig in and stay in the points and I won the second set 6-2.
"The same thing happened in the quarter-finals against a Swedish player, Carl Bergman, and in the semi-final there were two match points against me and I was 4-0 down in the third set tie-break.
"I had been on court late the night before and I was very dehydrated. I was hardly able to stand and I was on the verge of pulling out of the match – and the tournament."
"At the start of the second set, McGee had a couple of break points on my service. I think if I had lost my serve I would have pulled out.
"But my physio got to work on me and put some ice on the back of my neck and I was able to just hang on and turn things around.
"In the past, if I have lost a set 6-0, I would probably have panicked, but now I seem to have the belief in myself to just remain calm and knuckle down.
"Whenever I was down and looked to be out of it, I always believed I could turn it around and that has been the difference over the past few weeks."
In the final, Cox beat number seven seed Andrea Falgheri, of Italy, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. After the first two sets were shared, Cox got the crucial break in the sixth game of the deciding set, taking the next two games to win a match that lasted just over two hours.
Cox had dropped down the world rankings to the 800s two weeks ago due to injuries and a dip in form. But he hopes his two recent wins should bring him into the top 500 once again when the rankings are updated next week.
"I should be up into the 500s by next week, which would be brilliant," he said.
"To get back up there so quickly is really good and there is no reason why I can't continue this good run."
Cox enjoyed a rest day on Sunday, but will be back in action today in the first round of another $15,000 event in Chiswick.