KITZBÜHEL, July 22, 2016
Paolo Lorenzi and Nikoloz Basilashvili will be in the hunt for their first ATP World Tour title at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel on Saturday.
The fourth seed from Italy spoiled the Austrian party, beating Gerald Melzer 7-6, 7-6. In an exciting encounter, which was held on centre court in Davis Cup atmosphere, Lorenzi won 82% of his first service points, converting his 13th match point after two hours and 52 minutes. The battle was interrupted for about two hours due to rain.
“To be honest, I am devastated at the moment,” a disappointed Melzer told afterwards. “I fought until the end but it just wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t able to kill the balls, in particular at the net. Things I still need to improve.”
Melzer was a break up in the opening set but couldn’t serve out. He also missed two set points in the tie-break of the second frame.
“If I was able to win the opening set, it could look differently in the end. Nonetheless, I just kept on fighting and tried to rally back. Overall it was a positive week for me here in Austria,” Melzer said, cracking the top 100 on Monday for the first time in his career. He will take some rest now and return to the courts for the qualifying of the US-Open.
Lorenzi was obviously happy with his win.
“We played a very good match. I had a couple of chances in the tie-break but I didn’t capitalize, as Gerald also played very well.” Lorenzi has advanced to his first final on tour-level since Sao Paulo 2014 and eyes on lifting his first trophy at the age of 34.
“Tomorrow I just have to play like today, maybe even better to win my first title. I am not thinking about my age, it’s only about the ranking.”
Basilashvili first player from Georgia to reach an ATP World Tour final
Lorenzi will take on Nikoloz Basilashvili. The 24-year-old Georgia native cruised past sixth seed Dusan Lajovic, winning 6-3, 6-1. Basilashvili saved both break points he faced, converting four of his own to advance in only 64 minutes.
The world number 123 will be the first player representing Georgia in a title match on the ATP World Tour. “I am very happy and proud of myself. I have worked very hard for this. I was a bit nervous in this very important match but I gave one hundred per cent and I think I just played great tennis today,” Basilashvili was pleased with his performance. He didn’t appear on the big stage that often before but he captured two ATP Challenger titles this season, lifting the trophies in Guangzho and Heilbronn.
“I haven’t played so many times on centre court so far. I played in Doha, Montpellier as well as at the Australian Open, so I had some experience but the atmosphere was unbelievable. I am happy that I played some club matches in Austria before. It’s really nice here.
Last year, I managed to reach the third round in Wimbledon. From the moment on, when I beat Feliciano López I got a lot of fans in Georgia, who are supporting me and I am very pleased about this.”
Irakli Labadze was one of Georgia’s best known tennis player, competing in all main draws of the majors. He reached a career high 42nd position in 2004.
“His achievements helped me a lot. I started playing tennis at the age of six and he was my idol. He was a very talented guy but I think he had some problems with a wrist injury and so he couldn’t maybe achieve as much as he wanted. I am a bit more the kind of hard working guy,” Basilashvili said. The man from Tbilisi also had to cope with an injury.
“I struggled with a hip injury at the beginning of the year. I had to take some time off but I practiced very hard and this is paying off right now. The more matches I win, the more confidence I gain. At the moment I feel great. My shots from the baseline putting me in a good position on court a lot of times. I do not have a special goal in terms of ranking positions. I just go out on court and enjoy.
He also seem to cope well with the pretty hot conditions in Kitzbühel today.
“I actually prefer playing in more chilly weather. But sometimes I do not understand myself,” he laughed.