PORTOROZ, August 7, 2017
Main draw action got underway at the €43,000 Zavarovalnica Sava Slovenia Open on a sunny and hot Monday afternoon in Portoroz when local wild card entry Sven Lah upset Spanish veteran Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-4, 6-4.
The only 18-year-old gained his first match win at ATP Challenger level, breaking the serve of his 21 years older opponent four times to advance after one hour and 28 minutes. Lah will next take on the winner of the encounter between the tournament’s number two Peter Gojowczyk from Germany and Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor.
On centre court, Ilya Ivashka defeated #NextGenATP player Dmitry Popko from Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-3. The 23-year-old from Belarus won 77 per cent of his first service points and 58 per cent of the total points played to secure victory in one hour and 26 minutes.
Next up for Ivashka will be either fourth seed Lukas Lacko of Slovakia or Spanish wild card Jaime Fermosell Delgado.
Earlier in the day, Evgeny Karlovskiy fought past Bernabé Zapata Miralles of Spain 6-7, 7-5, 6-2. The World No. 429 from Russia came back from a set and a break down to qualify for the main draw. Karlovskiy set a first round clash with top seed and local favourite Blaz Kavcic.
Zemlja Hangs Up His Racket
Former World No. 43 and 2013 Portoroz champion Grega Zemlja attended the tournament’s opening press conference at a pier located right next to the tennis complex. The 30-year-old Slovenian will play his last tournament as a professional tennis player this week.
“I have no goals at the tournament because I really do not know what my form is. I was preparing for the tournament, but I was not in that rhythm like the previous years,” told Zemlja, who competed in his last tournament at the Wimbledon qualifying last month. The Jesenice native will also play an exhibition match on Friday evening against Aljaz Bedene.