PÖRTSCHACH, August 29, 2015
The municipality of Pörtschach, a lakeside town on Wörthersee located in the district of Klagenfurt in Austria, is a well-known destination on the international tennis circuit.
The Werzer Arena was home of the annual Hypo Group Tennis International, which was part of the ATP Tour’s World Series from 2006 to 2008. Juan Mónaco claimed the title here as well as Nikolay Davydenko. The latter even two times. Back then, the tournament took place just ahead of the French Open and in this context, it was played with the same equipment like balls and nets as it was later provided at Roland Garros.
In 2015, the comparatively modest ITF Future Circuit has returned to the established summer resort for the tenth time, hosting a US-$ 20,000 combined event, named KELAG Power Future. “We need to provide about € 65,000 every year,” Robert Rossin, head of the organizing team, says. “Players from 26 countries entered the tournament this year,” he adds, which is also an important aspect in terms of tourism. “We calculate with about 1,200 overnight stays in the region.”
In the men’s draw, eighth favourite Lucas Miedler knocked off the tournament’s top-seed Dmitry Popko in their second tour meeting on semi-finals Saturday. The 19-year-old Austrian lost the only previous encounter between the two on hard court in Turkey last year. In Pörtschach, the world number 588 needed some time to find his rhythm but rallied back from a set down to gain a 3-6, 6-1, 5-1 lead before the 18-year-old Kazakh was forced to retire after one hour and 45 minutes due to injury. In the third set, Popko received a medical time-out as well as treatment at his back and eventually decided not to continue. Miedler reached his fourth final of the season and eyes on claiming his very first singles title.
“I am very pleased with my performance today. Even in the first set, I played well but Dmitry gained the break. In the second, I was more behind the baseline during my returns, which changed the game in my favour,” Miedler analysed afterwards and is looking forward to the final on Sunday. On Friday, the Austrian teenager already captured the doubles titles along with Kirill Dmitriev, his ninth of the season.
“I need to show a similar performance like today and then I simply have to close the match out,” Miedler told in order to lift his first trophy in the singles competition. “In one of the three finals I had the opportunity to win, in the other two I was without any chance. I need to be well prepared, try to dictate the match, staying relaxed and even it doesn’t work out again, I will be satisfied with the week.”
Miedler also has a facebook account, in which he provides some insights about his life on the tour and tells about his matches. Dominic Thiem runs his page in a similar way. “Of course you have to have a look at the good things Dominic does. He hasn’t become a top 20 player without a reason, but I didn’t copy the page from him,” Miedler told with a smile. “My sponsor gave me the advice to have a facebook account and I wanted to allow the visitors to take part,” he explained and added that he will enjoy a jump into the lake for regeneration next.
Miedler will face fellow countryman and fourth seed Bastian Trinker in the final. The 25-year-old local hero defeated with Pascal Brunner another Austrian player and the tournament’s number six, winning 6-1, 6-4. Trinker saved the only break point he faced and capitalized on two of his own in the decisive moments to seal victory in one hour and 27 minutes, reaching his second final of the season.
“I played a good opening set, produced a couple of unforced errors in the second but eventually closed the match out,” Trinker told and enjoyed the support from about 150 spectators, who attended his match. “It’s nice to play here. I actually wanted to play the ATP Challenger in Manerbio but felt some pain in my back during my match in Meerbusch last week and so I decided to take part in my home tournament this week,” the world number 390 explained. Trinker also gained his first experiences on the ATP World Tour, playing his first main draw matches in Munich and Umag.
“Of course it’s difficult to compare these different tour levels. Nonetheless, it is really nice to play here in Pörtschach. For me the venue is one of the nicest on the tour and I live in this area, having a lot of friends here, so you can also enjoy the life off the courts.”
In the women’s draw top-seed Marie Bouzkova also made it into the final. The 17-year-old Czech, who claimed last year’s US-Open junior’s title, defeated her countrywoman Karolina Muchova, winning 6-0, 7-6.
On Sunday, Bouzkova will take on the tournament’s number five Julia Grabher from Austria. The 19-year-old dismissed sixth seed Pia Cuk from Slovenia, winning 7-6, 6-3.