UMAG, July 21, 2018
Marco Cecchinato of Italy and Argentine Guido Pella will compete in Sunday’s singles final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag.
Pella fought past Robin Haase from the Netherlands 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. The 28-year-old Buenos Aires resident broke his opponent’s serve twice in the final set to prevail after one hour and 45 minutes.
“I played a good match,” Pella was pleased with his performance. “I just felt a bit uncomfortable in the second set but I started to be more aggressive again, which made the difference in the end.”
Cecchinato ended the great run of Argentine qualifier Marco Trungelliti, who appeared in his first ever semi-final on the ATP World Tour. The No. 3 seed from Sicily won 62 per cent of the total points played to secure a 6-2, 6-1 victory in 66 minutes.
Cecchinato is seeking his second ATP crown following his triumph in Budapest earlier this year. Pella will play his third career final, trying to lift his maiden trophy.
“Preparation is key for (good) results,” Cecchinato said aftewards. “I was very focused every day, worked a lot in the gym with my fitness coach.”
The pair’s head-to-head record is tied at 1-1. The only win for the Italian, however, came after a retirement of the Argentine at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals in 2015.
“I have to play very well tomorrow. Guido is a very good player. Last year I lost 6-2, 6-2 to him, so I need to do better this time,” Cecchinato commented.
Third doubles title of the season for Haase/Middelkoop
Later in the evening, Haase returned to the courts teaming up with compatriot Matwe Middelkoop. The all-Dutch combination defeated Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the doubles crown. The final lasted 62 minutes. It was their third team title of the season following their victories in Pune and Sofia.
“It has been my first time in Umag and it feels like vacation but very professional at the same time,” Middelkoop enjoyed the atmosphere in Istria.
“It’s been a great week for me,” Haase added. “However, I am still a bit disappointed from singles, as it was a good chance to get into the final. I still struggled a bit at the beginnig of the doubles but Matwe had the right energy and I think it was a deserved win in the end.”
The team will stick together for the next couple of weeks, being the top seeds at the Swiss Open in Gstaad. “We will also play together in Kitzbühel. Those courts and conditions will suit our style. We will also team up at the US Open,” Middelkoop said.