PORTOROZ, August 13, 2015
Two winning streaks on the ATP Challenger Tour ended on quarterfinals Thursday at the € 42,500 Tilia Slovenia Open in Portoroz.
Evgeny Donskoy, who lifted the trophy in El Espinar last Sunday, suffered his first defeat after winning seven matches in a row. Fifth seed Norbert Gombos rallied back from a set down to overcome the world number 125 from Moscow, winning 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Gombos broke serve in the sixth game of the second set, which meant to be the turning point of the encounter. The 25-year-old Slovakian won 79% of his first service points to reach his fourth semi-final of the season after one hour and 42 minutes.
“I knew that Evgeny was in good shape, as he claimed the title in Segovia last week. It was also pretty tough today, as it was my first match in the sun. The matches before I had played in the evening and today it was very hot,” Gombos told afterwards. “I improved my game in the second set, my service was very solid and I returned better. In the third set, I even played more aggressively, which has been my best game this week so far,” the world number 128 added and told about his time off the courts here. “It’s not really possible to enjoy the location here. I save my energy for the matches. Unfortunately, I do not have so much time to enjoy the sea and everything but it is a really nice place here,” Gombos said.
The fifth seed will take on Luca Vanni next. The tournament’s number six ended the dream run of 20-year-old Slovenian Aljaz Radinski, winning 6-2, 6-0. The 30-year-old Italian saved all four break points he faced and converted five of his own to prevail after only 53 minutes.
Luca Vanni spoke about today’s match and his season so far:
Radinski enjoyed his experience here, celebrating his first two match wins on the ATP Challenger Tour but was without any chance against the Italian. “I was pretty relaxed ahead of the match but I have to admit that Luca was better than me today. I tried to give my best but it didn’t work out,” the local told afterwards.
“Being part of the Challenger Tour, gaining my first victories and my first points are the positives things I can take from this week. It was my first time facing such good players and I am very satisfied with the results. This will be a great motivation for the future,” Radinski said after he beat Jonathan Eysseric and Hiroki Moriya in the rounds before.
“I will relax on the seaside a few days. After five or six days I will start the preparations for playing four ITF Future tournaments in Bol. It will be different again, playing lower ranked tournaments without ball kids and stuff like that but I will stay positive. I will keep working hard and would like to be within the top 850 this year to get directly into the main draw of the Future events,” the Slovenian youngster currently ranked on 1167th position told after he gained 15 ATP points here. Radinski was granted the wild card for Portoroz from the captain of the Davis Cup after he had played the first round play-off tie in Group 1 for Slovenia against Israel. “This experienced helped me a lot. It was great teaming up in the doubles with Grega Zemlja.”
Second Slovenian wild card Grega Zemlja was more successful, reaching his third Challenger semi-finals of the season through a 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 victory over eighth seed Mirza Basic. The 28-year-old local fired eight aces and won 75% of his first service points to prevail after two hours and 25 minutes.
Zemlja will take on Alexander Kudryavtsev next. The 29-year-old Russian defeated last week’s champion from Cortina and the tournament’s second favourite Paolo Lorenzi, winning 4-6, 6-1, 1-6. Kudryavtsev won 74% of his first service points and capitalized on four of his 11 break point chances to seal victory in one hour and 40 minutes, ending a seven match winning streak of the 33-year-old Italian.