PORTOROZ, August 15, 2019
Home favourite Aljaz Bedene opened his title bid with a hard-fought win on Wednesday evening. The top seed of the €46,600 ATP Challenger Tour event came back from a set and break down to outlast Illya Marchenko from the Ukraine reaching the third round of the Zavarovalnica Sava Slovenia Open.
Bedene, who is making his first appearance in Portoroz since 2013, outpointed his rival 112-110 to secure a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 victory in two hours and 36 minutes.
“I played a really bad match. Perhaps one of the worst of this season,” Bedene said afterwards. “I was well prepared, but I didn’t feel good on the court. With the beginning of the second set things went much easier. Illya is not a bad player, he was in the top 50 and probably the toughest to face in the second round.” The World No. 90 from Slovenia will next be challenged by 16th seed Sasikumar Mukund of India.
Later in the evening, Blaz Rola followed his countryman into the third round. The No. 3 seed defeated Russian veteran Teymuraz Gabashvili 7-5, 6-2. Rola struck seven aces, saved all five break points he faced and capitalized on three of his own four break point opportunities to prevail after one hour and 20 minutes.
“I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the match,” Rola said. “I tried to stay aggressive, making it tougher for my opponent. I am pleased that I played well and hope to keep the level up in the next round.”
Next up for the World No. 141 will be Aldin Setkic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who benefited from the retirement of Frenchman Kenny de Schepper in the first set due to a lower back injury.
For more information, please visit the tournament’s official website.