JERUSALEM, May 27, 2019
Danilo Petrovic clinched his maiden title on the ATP Challenger Tour, lifting the trophy at the inaugural Jerusalem Volvo Open. The unseeded Serbian fought past the tournament’s No. 9 Filip Peliwo of Canada, winning 7-6(3), 6-7(8), 6-1 in Sunday’s singles final at the Israel Tennis Center.
Petrovic advanced to the title match with wins over of local favourites Ben Patael and Dudi Sela, as well as ITF-entry Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland, Viktor Durasovic from Norway and top seeded Canadian Brayden Schnur.
Petrovic fired 12 aces in the final and broke Peliwo’s serve four times. After letting three match points slip in the second set, the World No. 336 from Belgrade refused to surrender, securing victory in two hours and 24 minutes.
Welcome to the winners’ circle, Danilo Petrovic!
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) 26. Mai 2019
“I’m quite happy to be honest. I knew already for a few months that I could do this. As I was telling my coaches, I was playing well but losing so many tight matches. We were discussing that it’s going to come, but just a matter of time,” Petrovic told the ATP Challeger Tour website.
“I played really good this week. After beating Sela in the second round, that was a big moment early in the week. I like big matches and I like playing the top players. I think I don’t have much pressure. And Brayden, he has had a great season and almost won on the ATP Tour in New York. His game is big and I know that was the best match I played all tournament. In my head, I didn’t have a lot to lose and everything came together. That was for sure one of the best matches I played this year.”
The 27-year-old takes away from the hard-court event $7,200 in prize money as well as 80 ATP-Ranking points.
“I recently dropped more than 100 spots in the ATP Rankings in just a few weeks, so it means a lot to get back to the Top 300 again. I’ve been getting a lot of support from my coach in Serbia, my coach in Italy and my family, and that’s what has kept me going.”
Petrovic finished runner-up to Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras at the 2017 Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico.
“In the past, I’ve reached many semis and last year I was a set and a break up in the Puerto Vallarta final, but I lost it. It almost happened again today. I had match points in the second set tie-break and I tried to play it safe and he was playing smart. After that, I got quite pissed and that’s what woke me up in the third set. In Puerto Vallarta, I got pissed and blew it, so it played out in a different way. Today, I was pissed in a way that I was ready to fight like hell to do anything to win,” Petrovic said and added that he also had to cope with injuries in the recent times.
“The end of the 2018 season for me was quite harsh, because I had a contract to play in the Italian league and I was trying to mix it up playing Challengers and league matches. I should have gotten into the Australian Open qualifying so easily, because I had five months to make 20 [ATP Rankings] points. But I twisted my ankle in Vicenza and didn’t play for a month. I tried to play Wimbledon qualies and I wasn’t ready. I kept playing just to get some points and then my knee got messed up with Jumper’s Knee (chronic patellar tendonitis). I couldn’t play for six more weeks. Some days it would be fine, then others I could barely walk. Honestly, I’m so happy that it hasn’t come back because I was so scared. Blaz Kavcic has the same problem and he can’t really play. When everyone was doing preseason, I didn’t play. I started it later, towards the end of December.
“It was a rough end to the season. I was feeling good on the court, but these injuries were really hard on me. It happened every tournament and even into this year, where I was playing good but something happened that would give me an average result. My coaches kept saying that if I won a few matches in a row, this moment would come for sure. That’s what happened here. After I won three matches, I was in a completely different mental state. I was pumped again.”
Petrovic seemed to enjoy his stay in Jerusalem, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea.
“In new tournaments, the people are trying so much to help the players. They were asking me every day what they could do better. And of course I went around Jerusalem, going to the Old City. I think every player in the draw went there. I was there two days in a row. And the Western Wall too,” he said.