OPATIJA, April 1, 2017
The two top seeds of the $15,000 ITF Futures in Opatija, which is the final stop of the Istarska Rivijera clay court swing in Croatia, will go head-to-head in Sunday’s singles final, as the tournament’s number one Laslo Djere will take on second favourite Zdenek Kolar.
The World No. 196 from Serbia battled past Austrian Michael Linzer, rallying 5-7, 6-2, 6-4. Djere was a break down in the final set but won two points more than his opponent and eventually sealed victory after three hours and 48 minutes.
“After the opening set, I lost a bit of my concentration but then I managed to play my best tennis, fought until the end and I won a very tough match. So I am very pleased at the moment,” Djere told Tennis TourTalk afterwards. The 21-year-old is playing his first tournament on clay in 2017.
“This is my favourite surface, so it was pretty easy to adapt to the conditions. I usually gain some good results, so I hope that it will continue like this.”
Djere had a bumpy start into the season, winning only one match out of his first nine encounters in 2017, when he beat Andrej Martin in the opening round of the qualifying to the Australian Open.
“The first part of the season was really bad. I lost a couple of first round matches at Challenger level and before coming to Opatija, I had only won one match. When you lose so many matches, you also lose a bit of your confidence. I also had some bad draws, playing some tough opponents in the opening round so I also needed a bit of luck to make the first round. Unfortunately, I didn’t happen and so I had come here with the goal to get the feeling back of winning matches. So far this has worked out pretty well.”
Djere eyes claiming his ninth title on the ITF Pro Circuit, taking on Zdenek Kolar. The 20-year-old Czech, who lifted his maiden Futures trophy here in Istria one year ago, was only two minutes on court on Saturday. His semi-final opponent Tomislav Brkic from Bosnia and Herzegovina had to retire after only one game, as he got injured the match before and wasn’t able to compete in the stage of the final four.
“We have never met before but I like the way he plays,” Djere said about his next opponent. “He is younger than me and is a nice guy. It will be very interesting. I hope for a good match.”
The singles final will start on 11 am local time.