PORTOROZ, August 9, 2017
Italy’s #NextGenATP player Matteo Berrettini continued his good form by reaching the quarterfinals of the €43,000 Zavarovalnica Sava Slovenia Open in Portoroz on another sunny Wednesday afternoon. The 21-year-old from Rome defeated seventh seeded Spaniard Adrián Menéndez-Maceiras 7-6, 6-1.
Berrettini, who advanced to the semi-finals at the ATP Challenger in Segovia last week, saved all of the three break points he faced, converting three of his own to seal victory in one hour and 47 minutes.
“Conditions were pretty tough today, as it was really hot,” Berrettini said afterwards. “I had to save two set points in the tie-break of the opening set but I managed to come through, fought for every single point. It was very tight.”
The Italian youngsters also had to adapt to the conditions at sea level in Portoroz, coming from the altitude in Spain. “The court is very slow here and in Segovia it was extremely fast. It was tough but when you play tennis, you have to be able to get used to all the different conditions and I am very happy to enter the quarterfinals here. It almost feels like competing in a home tournament, as it is very close to Italy and a lot of Italian people are watching the matches. It’s very nice for us to play here.”
Berrettini clinched his maiden title on the ATP Challenger Tour home soil in San Benedetto last month.
“I was so happy because I came back from an injury at my ankle. It was a really good feeling to be back on the court and to win a tournament like this without dropping a set was awesome. It is the starting point, as I want to improve my game more and more and I hope to win some more tournaments this year.”
Next up in Portoroz will be Ilya Ivashka from Belarus, who eased past Spanish wild card entry Jaime Fermosell Delgado 6-3, 6-2 in just under one hour of play.
Top Seed Falls, Zemlja Retires
Later in the evening, the local favourites were back in action with top-seed Blaz Kavcic losing to Aldin Setkic 6-3, 7-6. The 29-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina fired 10 aces, winning 74 per cent of his first service points to finish the encounter after one hour and 50 minutes.
Setkic will next face Pedro Martínez-Portero, who showed impressive resilience in reaching the stage of the final eight, with a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over fellow Spaniard Roberto Ortega-Olmedo after two hours and 16 minutes.
Grega Zemlja played his last match as professional tennis player on Wednesday evening. The former World No. 43 has been Slovenia’s best tennis player in history, becoming the first one to win an ATP Challenger event in 2007 in Cancun and reaching a final on the ATP World Tour in Vienna in 2013. Zemlja lost to Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-3 in 62 minutes.
“I feel pretty relaxed right now. I had a tough last match but I did not expect too much, as I did not practice that much over the last couple of days,” Zemlja told Tennis TourTalk afterwards.
“Tennis was always part of my life and it always will be. However, the feeling on the court is not the same anymore. When you do not have that much of energy left in your tank, you struggle in tournaments and practices. When you do not enjoy and can not be satisfied with what you are doing, then it is tough to continue this way,” the 30-year-old explained his decision to stop, but he will stay involved with the sport.
“I will probably be involved in some projects helping young Slovenian tennis players to improve. I think the young generation is not that promising as it should be. The transition from junior’s level to the senior’s tour is actually a big problem and I think that I could be a big help in this area.”
Zemlja will compete in an exhibition match in Portoroz on Friday evening taking on Aljaz Bedene. Krajinovic advanced to quarterfinals, facing third seed Sergiy Stakhovsky from the Ukraine next.