UMAG, July 23, 2017
19-year-old Andrey Rublev clinched his maiden ATP World Tour title, winning the Plava Laguna Croatia Open on Sunday evening against Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi, who is 16 years older than the Russian teenager.
In front of packed stands inside the Goran Ivanisevic Stadium, Rublev set the tone early, dictating most of the rallies from the baseline and broke serve in the third as well as fifth game to clinch the opening set with a powerful forehand winner down the line.
The World No. 74, who entered the main draw as lucky loser, also dominated the second set and gained the decisive break with a backhand passing shot in the fifth game. Rublev converted his first match point after one hour and 16 minutes to secure a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
“When I saw the entry list of the tournament for the first time, I did not expect to win it but I knew that I will have the chance to win a couple of matches when I play well,” Rublev told. “Then I lost in the qualifying and I was really disappointed. Everything has changed in only a few days and now I am here. It’s tough to explain, you just need to work hard all the time.”
The #NextGenATP star is the only eighth player in the Open Era to win a tournament as lucky loser. Rajeev Ram was the last to do so in Newport in 2009.
Rublev earns €89,945 in prize money as well as 250 ATP ranking points and is projected to crack the Top 50 on Monday, being the lone teenager in this elite club.
“The feeling is really amazing and I just need some time to realize it and to come down. It is a different feeling to win an ATP title compared to Challengers.”
Rublev will play his last clay court tournament of the season in Hamburg next week. Consequently, there is not much time to celebrate at the famous party destination in Istria.
“I will have a flight out tomorrow morning at 6 and Tuesday will be my first match. So I have to focus on the next tournament.” The youngster is not even having a little drink tonight. “No drink, as tomorrow I have to practice,” he explained.
On Saturday evening, Guillermo Duran and Andres Molteni claimed their first team ATP World Tour doubles title with a 6-3, 6-7, 10-6 win over Croatian wild card entries Marin and Tomislav Draganja. The encounter lasted one hour and 35 minutes.
The duo are the first all-Argentine team to win on the ATP World Tour since Molteni and Horacio Zeballos prevailed in Atlanta one year ago.
“We are so happy to win this week. Thanks to Andres for playing with me. We were a little nervous in the final, but it’s amazing to win this tournament,” told Duran, who improved to 3-0 in tour-level finals, while Molteni moved to 3-1 in title matches.
“It was a great week here with my partner. We had a great time in Umag. We are very happy to win the tournament. I hope next we can come back to defend it. It’s a really good tournament and the organisation is really good. It was really nice to be here,” Molteni added.
Photo Gallery Day 7 (by Florian Heer)