UMAG, July 18, 2016
After an spectacular weekend in Umag with former Grand Slam champions Andre Agassi, Goran Ivanisevic and Juan Carlos Ferrero in action, the main draw of the 27th edition of the Konzum Croatia Open kicked off with two matches on Monday.
Serbian qualifier Nikola Cacic, who appeared in his first main draw on ATP Tour level, upset British number three Aljaz Bedene on his 27th birthday, rallying from a set down 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. The 25-year-old from Belgrade withstood 11 aces, hitting one of his own and converted four of his seven break point chances to prevail in two hours and 27 minutes. Cacic will next face third seed Jeremy Chardy.
In the evening hours, Leonardo Mayer defeated Croatian wild card Nikola Mektic 7-5, 6-2. The 29-year-old Argentine won 79% of his first service points and 55% of the total points played to secure victory in one hour and 27 minutes. Mayer will take on second favourite Joao Sousa in the next round.
The tournament features eight players in the top 50, led by world number 20 and Hamburg runner-up Pablo Cuevas, who captured the title here two years ago. He is the only former winner in the draw. Second seed Sousa reached the final here last year, losing to Dominic Thiem. Another former finalist is Fabio Fognini. The Italian finished runner-up in Umag in 2013 and is the tournament’s number four.
Saturday’s exhibiton night with three Grand Slam champions
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic experienced a very emotional weekend in Istria.
“Saturday was a day, which is really difficult to describe. It was a day in which, I can freely say, I definetely concluded my sports career,” he wrote in Monday’s edition of the tournament’s Daily News and added:
“The arrival of Andre Agassi, then the renamed stadium that now bears my name…everything is very emotional!”
The arena was sold out on Saturday when the spectators enjoyed great entertainment, good music and also some excellent tennis, although Agassi could not show everything he wanted due to his back injury. At least he warmed up Ivanisevic for this match against 2010 Umag champion Ferrero. In the end the Spaniard won, which did not really matter, as everyone was a winner that special night.