UMAG, July 22, 2018
Marco Cecchinato delighted the Italian visitors in Umag by claiming the title of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open. The No. 3 seed defeated Guido Pella from Argentina 6-2, 7-6(4) in Sunday’s singles final.
In front of about 3,500 spectators inside the Goran Ivanisevic Stadium, Cecchinato broke serve in the fourth game of the opening set, remained aggressive in the following to clinch the frame in the eighth game after 38 minutes. Despite the score it was actually a very competitive match and Pella found his rhythm in the second set.
The 28-year-old from Buenos Aires, who appeared in his third final with yet to win a trophy on the ATP World Tour, gained his first break of the match but couldn’t confirm and Cecchinato secured victory in the tie-break after one hour and 38 minutes.
“He played better than me today and I don’t feel happy at all,” Pella was visibly upset during his post-match press conference. “I made it to my third final and I haven’t won one tournament … so why I should be happy. I came here to win … but I like the tournament, the city, the beaches. For sure I will come back.”
New career high for Cecchinato
Cecchinato adds the Umag trophy to the Budapest title he won earlier in the season. The 25-year-old from Sicily takes away €89,435 in prize money as well as 250 ATP Ranking points. He will climb to a career-best No. 22 on Monday.
“I think this is the best moment of my tennis career,” Cecchinato was happy. “Now I have won two titles and made it to the semis at Roland Garros. I feel good.
“It was an amazing final. My backhand improved a lot and my drop shots also worked well today.”
Two Italian champions
Cecchinato joins Bastad winner Fabio Fognini as the second Italian champion this weekend. “Congrats to Fabio,” Cecchinato said. “It is an amazing Sunday for the Italians. It is a great moment. Now I want to continue playing like this, but I still have to work hard to break into the top 20. This is the motivation for me.”
Cecchinato will next play at the German Open in Hamburg, his last tournament in Europe before going to America, where he will compete in the ATP Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati as well as in Winston-Salem.
Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer):