PORTOROZ, August 8, 2017
The local favourites delighted the home crowd on Tuesday evening at the €43,000 Zavarovalnica Sava Slovenia Open in Portoroz, highlighted by the first appearance of the tournament’s top-seed Blaz Kavcic. The World No. 87 defeated Russian qualifier Evgeny Karlovkskiy 6-4, 6-4.
Kavcic sent down five aces and broke serve three times to secure victory in one hour and 27 minutes.
“It is always nice to win at home, especially the first match. Everybody expect you to do magic stuff. So I just tried to stay focused, playing as simple as possible and to avoid many mistakes,” Kavcic was pleased with his performance.
“The court is very slow. It’s hard to make some special winners and the one who tries to hit harder is normally making the mistakes. I tried to stay calm and tried not to miss many balls. I am pretty happy about the match today.”
Kavcic is in really good form, as he captured two ATP Challenger titles in Winnipeg and Granby last month.
“It was amazing. I always love to play in Canada and in the States. I feel really good there. People are very excited about tennis. They like players like me, who are fighting a lot and go for some good shots. They always enjoy a bit of drama on the court. I always get many fans there and all the tournaments were organized very well. Many people came to watch, which gives you some extra motivation. When I captured the first title and made it back to the Top 100 as well as into the main draw of the US Open, that was something special. Pressure also went off and I am able to enjoy playing tennis even more right now.”
After his triumphs in Canada, Kavcic went on to compete in the ATP 250 event in Los Cabos, however, only in doubles, teaming up with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of India.
“After three weeks of playing, I felt pretty exhausted. I had to cope with injuries in previous years, so I have to listen to my body now. I simply felt too tired playing in singles and I didn’t want to risk any injuries. The venue over there in Mexico is a paradise, so I was able to relay in a mental way. I enjoyed it and I feel like I am full of energy right now.”
In his post-match press conference, however, Kavcic was cooling his right knee with ice.
“I had been playing in Canada for three weeks without any rest and I didn’t feel any pain anywhere. When I came to Los Cabos, after having two days off my knee started to feel bad during the first practice session. I am feeling pretty hard pain right now and I had to play with some pain-killers today. It’s not the best tournament to happen this but I hope it’s going to settle down and the pain is going to be less and less as long as the tournament progresses.”
The Ljubljana native captured the title here in Portoroz back in 2013.
“It is really nice here. The sea is here. It is actually hard to focus on tennis, as it is so beautiful. I really enjoy spending some time here and I obviously have some good memories of the tournament. I hope that I can stay as long as possible.”
Next up for Kavcic will be Aldin Setkic from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 29-year-old fought past Slovenian wild card entry Tom Kocevar-Desman 6-2, 6-7, 6-4 in two hours and 30 minutes.
Zemlja To Face Krajinovic
Kavcic will be joined in the second round by Grega Zemlja, Slovenia’s most successful player in history, who announced to retire from professional tennis after this week.
Zemlja eased past fellow countryman and only 19-year-old Grega Boh 6-1, 6-2 in only 51 minutes. The 30-year-old from Kranj will next face eighth seed Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, who ousted Lukas Rosol from the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-2.