UMAG, July 22, 2017
Teenager Andrey Rublev of Russia will challenge Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi in Sunday’s singles final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open. The World No. 74 from Moscow defeated local favourite Ivan Dodig 7-6, 6-1. Rublev won 75 per cent of his first service points and broke serve four times to secure victory in one hour and 41 minutes.
“It was important to be mentally strong today, as conditions were pretty tough. It’s the semi-finals, you feel pressure and the weather is really hot, which makes it hard to move and hard to focus on your game. I am happy that I made it into the final,” Rublev told after reaching his first title match on the ATP World Tour.
“Of course that is something special for me. I am really looking forward to tomorrow and I will try to do my best.”
Rublev’s Umag appearance had already come to an end in the qualifying when he lost to Attila Balazs last weekend. Yet, he gained a spot in the main draw after Croatia’s local hero Borna Coric was forced to pull out of the tournament due to pain in his neck.
“I was in a very bad mood after the qualifying. I felt that I was playing terrible on clay and that I didn’t work enough to compete with the best players. Life can change in one second. I learnt only the same day that I eventually advanced to the main draw as lucky loser. So my tournament had actually been over one week ago. Now I will just enjoy the rest of it.
Rublev is part of the #NextGenATP stars and is currently the best ranked teenager in the Race to Milan.
“I would like to be part of the final eight in Milan but in the moment it is more important for me to climb up the rankings,” the 19-year-old told and added that he does not set himself any goals in terms of ranking positions. “I just try to do my best. That’s it.”
Rublev practices at the 4Slam Academy in Barcelona but his full-time coach, Fernando Vicente, did not make the trip to the Croatian beach resort.
“He is staying in Barcelona for the next two weeks while I am competing in Umag and Hamburg but he will join me for the American hard court swing again.” Asked about his Spanish skills he said: “I am trying to learn but I am not good.”
Paolo Lorenzi emerged victorious from the all-Italian-battle with Alessandro Giannessi, winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. The 35-year-old from Rome won 54 per cent of the total points played to reach his first title on the ATP World Tour since lifting the trophy in Kitzbühel last year. The encounter lasted two hours and 36 minutes.
“I’m really happy to be in the final in Umag,” said Lorenzi. “It was a really tough match because I know Alessandro really well and we’re good friends. It was a battle, but I hope to recover and be ready for tomorrow.”
The fourth seed from Italy and Rublev will meet for the first time.
— Croatia Open Umag (@CroatiaOpenUmag) 22. Juli 2017
Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer)