ATP Challenger Banja Luka 2014 – Day 6


After another thundery night with a lot of rainfall, Saturday morning started with some rays of sunlight and it stayed dry at least until the early afternoon but only the remaining two quarterfinals could be finished today.

Third-seed Albert Ramos had a lot of problems to overcome French qualifier Gleb Sakharov, who appeared in his very first ATP Challenger quarterfinal. The 26-year-old Spaniard saved five out of eleven break points he faced and capitalized on three he had on his own winning 7-6, 0-6, 6-4 in two hours and 20 minutes.

The encounter between defending champion Aljaz Bedene and Viktor Troicki had already almost come to an end before another rain shower interrupted the match at 6-4 and 4-2 with the Serb leading in the tie-break of the second set. After another break of about an hour, the quarterfinal was moved to the Teniski Klub Elit to finish the match indoors. The current world number 238 gained the missing three points to eventually advance into the semi-finals winning 6-4, 7-6 in one hour and 51 minutes.

“It was a very unusual match. We started yesterday with only a few points played and today we almost finished the match outside. Due to heavy rains last night, the courts were really wet but the tournament organizers managed to make them playable. Then we moved inside, which is probably an advantage for me as I like it indoors. So I was pretty confident to win the match in straight sets,” Troicki explained the extraordinary progress. “We will see where the semis are going to take place. If the rain continues, we will be forced to play indoors. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to playing the number one seed. I do not know him that well but I’m trying to play my game and hopefully I’ll be able to continue winning,” the 28-year-old added about his match against Blaz Rola tomorrow. “I am not yet at the level that I want. One year out of competition is a long period and I definitely need some more tournaments to get a better match rhythm. It’s not that I’m unhappy at the moment. It is ok, but I still can improve and I hope to reach it soon. In terms of ranking I would like to reach the top-100 this year, which I think is achievable. If I do well here, I’ll be already inside top-200 and then I will play bigger tournaments after this. I am really motivated and I will go to the ATP tournaments in China. If I do well there, I will be able to score big points. It’s all up to me to proof that I can do it,” the former world number twelve told Tennis TourTalk.

The doubles final was also finished indoors with Dino Marcan and Antonio Sancic claiming their first ATP Challenger doubles title as a team. The Croats defeated Jaroslav Pospisil and Adrian Sikora winning 7-5, 6-4 in 88 minutes.

“Friendship, courage and fighting were the key points for our victory today. We were getting used to switch from outdoor to indoors. Things like these often happen during this period of the year and the conditions here were actually pretty good. We also had a lot of rain during this week, so it wasn’t a problem for us,” the Croatian tandem was happy afterwards.