CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, August 6, 2016
The singles semi-finals concluded on a busy Saturday at the €42,500 ATP Challenger in Cortina. The final four had to compete in two matches, as they still had to play their quarterfinals encounters in the morning.
Later the day, Laslo Djere was the first player to advance to the title match, winning 7-6, 6-3 against Roberto Carballés-Baena. In the pair’s second meeting, the 21-year-old Serbian gained his first victory over the Spaniard, as he sent down eight aces and capitalized on four of his 10 break point chances to prevail in one hour and 38 minutes.
“I felt a bit sick in the morning, having problems with my throat, so I knew that I would need some time to find my rhythm today,” Djere told Tennis TourTalk. He had to fight past Andrey Rublev in his quarterfinals encounter.
“The first set just passed by. I couldn’t do anything but then I decided to fight in the second set and I played well. I also made the first break in the third set but he came back and the tie-break was very tough. I had to save one match point, winning 8-6 but this also gave me a lot of confidence,” the 21-year-old explained and continued his journey into the final with a win over Carballés.
“I relaxed a bit and had a massage between the matches and was ready again. Again, I needed some time in the beginning and just tried to hold my serve in the first couple of games. The longer the match lasted, the better I felt and I played aggressively, putting a lot of pressure on him. It worked out and it was a successful day for me.”
Djere has reached his third final on Challenger level, his second of the season. He finished runner-up to Marco Cecchinato in Milan in June.
“I played a lot of tournaments in Italy and also reached the final in Milan earlier this season. I like playing here and I feel good. Here in Cortina, our hotel is in the centre and we walked a bit around and attended the player’s party in the mountains, where we used the cable car. It’s really beautiful here,” the world number 212 said. Djere also appeared in his first Grand Slam main draw match at Roland Garros this year.
“I played a lot of Grand Slam qualification matches but I have never managed to win one. This year I qualified in Paris, which was a good experience. However, my match in the main draw was a bit disappointing. I actually had a good chance but I missed it. I keep going and hope to be back soon in the main draw of a major again, hopefully then without going through the qualifying.”
Djere will take on Joao Souza. The 28-year-old Brazilian had fought past Matteo Donati in the quarterfinals before he defeated eighth seed Guido Andreozzi 6-3, 6-4. Souza saved all 11 break points he faced, converting two of his own to secure victory in one hour and 26 minutes.
“I knew that it would become a long day. It was important to stay focused. That was the key today,” Souza told after reaching his first final since the ATP Challenger in León in April.
“I didn’t really feel the ball in my first match today but I fought a lot and it went better in the second match, which was also very tough. Now I just try to rest and to recover for tomorrow.”
Souza and Djere met once before at the 2015 Prostejov Challenger with the Serbian winning in three sets.
“He is a very talented player. He beat me the last time, so I think he will be the favourite in the final.”
In the doubles final, second seeds and Marburg as well as Braunschweig champions James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald will take on Roberto Carballés-Baena and Christian Garin.