PORTOROZ, August 14, 2015
The party in Portoroz continues with local hero Grega Zemlja reaching the final at the € 42,500 ATP Challenger Tilia Slovenia Open.
In front of an almost fully packed centre court, the 28-year-old wild card defeated Alexander Kudryavtsev on Friday evening, winning 6-4, 6-2. The Russian didn’t seem to be physically at his best and received medical treatment at his right knee after the first set but Zemlja was wide awake in the decisive moments, converted five of his eight break point chances to advance after one hour and 11 minutes.
The encounter ended with “a kind of a match point”:
“I didn’t know what to expect from my opponent today. I was one step ahead of him and in the end I was patient enough to seal the victory,” the former world number 43 explained.
“It’s always nice winning at home. I am still unbeaten on this court. This means a world to me and tomorrow I am going for another victory,” Zemlja, who reached his first Challenger final since lifting the trophy in Portoroz in 2013, told afterwards.
Earlier the day, Luca Vanni defeated Norbert Gombos for the first time in their second tour meeting, winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. The fifth-seeded Slovakian won 80% of his first service points but also produced 12 double faults. Vanni fired 15 aces and was more solid with his second serve, winning 55% of the points to prevail in two hours and nine minutes. The world number 141 reached his second final of the season, after he had made it to the climax at the ATP 250 event in Sao Paulo in February.
A very happy Luca Vanni spoke to Tennis TourTalk after his victory:
On an outside court, Fabrice Martin and Purav Raja claimed their second team title of the season, winning the doubles final 7-6, 4-6, 18-16 after one hour and 57 minutes. The second seeded French-Indian combination had already captured one Future title in France earlier this season.
“We have been playing together for a long period and we understand each other very good. These matches can go up and down, but it’s the team that stays together longer, which comes out on top. That’s what we proofed today,” Raja, who captured his sixth ATP Challenger title, told afterwards. “We started the season in order to stay together for the entire year. We started well and we improved during the year. So our aim will be to play the Australian Open next year,” Martin, who lifted his third Challenger trophy, said and added that they are going to leave for Cordenons only half an hour after they took the title.