BRATISLAVA, November 12, 2016
With Norbert Gombos and Marius Copil two unseeded players will compete in Sunday’s single final of the 17th Peugeot Slovak Open in Bratislava.
In front of about 1,800 spectators inside the Aegon Arena, the home favourite defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine 6-4, 7-6 on Saturday afternoon. Gombos fired 11 aces and saved all five break points he faced, converting one of his own to prevail in one hour and 27 minutes.
“I am in good shape, so I played another good match this week,” Gombos was pleased with his performance at the €85,000 ATP Challenger event.
“It was really important to hold serve today. Sergiy had a few break points but I always tried to put pressure on him. I was a bit lucky in the tie-break but I was fighting for every point, which was the key to success.”
The Bratislava resident advanced to his only second Challenger final on Slovakian soil after finishing runner-up to Frank Dancevic in Kosice 2014.
“Of course it is always a pleasure to play in front of my home crowd. I am really excited and happy to play the final at home. I will try to do my best tomorrow. It means a lot to me.”
Copil Beats Medvedev
In the opening match on Centre Court, Marius Copil edged past sixth seed Daniil Medvedev from Russia, winning 7-6, 7-6. In an even match, both players lost the their serve once but it was the 26-year-old Romanian being more solid in the tie-breaks to seal victory in one hour and 53 minutes.
“I stayed focused all the match, although I put a lot of pressure on myself,” Copil told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. “I was serving for the match and he returned well. I made some easy mistakes but overall I am happy, how I handled the match and that I found a way to win another two tie-breaks. It was the fourth tie-break I won during this week, which gives me a lot of confidence. It will be my last tournament this year. To finish the season with another final is good.”
Both players have come to Bratislava in pretty good shape. Medvedev made it to the quarterfinals of the ATP Challenger in Eckental last week and reached the semis at the inaugural WHB Hungarian Open, where he lost to Copil, who eventually lifted his third Challenger trophy in Budapest. It was the only previous meeting between the two.
“Every time it is a different match, different city, different court, different surface, which is quicker here. The rallies are shorter. You do not have too many opportunities to break. Daniil is a great player and nice guy. He started the year around 300 and he cracked the Top 100 now. I am very happy that I played him twice and won both matches. It is a good experience.”
Copil was struggling with injuries this season and has the main gaol to stay healthy. “The injuries took me three, four months to recover. I lost my confidence and I had to fight to come back in order to reach the same level of play I had before the injury. Now, I am playing very well. It is too bad that the season is ending.”
Copil was also forced to retire in his second round encounter in Eckental last week with a wrist injury. “I still have some pain after the matches and still need to put some ice on it but it is getting better. I hope to a have a healthy full season next year.”
The current world No. 138 is still on track to close the season with a personal career high ranking. “I was 124 a couple of years ago but have been struggling a bit since then. To finish the year with a personal best ranking would be nice but I am very happy with the way I am feeling. I also work a lot on the mental part and I am happy to see that the results are coming and that I am playing in a consistent way.”
Copil emerged victorious from the only previous meeting with Gombos, winning in four sets at the Davis Cup in Romania last year. Sunday’s singles title match will start at 2pm. “Tomorrow will be a nice match. We will see who will wins,” Copil is looking forward.
You can listen to our full interview with Marius Copil here.
For the full interview with Norberto Gombos click here.