PORTOROZ, August 16, 2019
Blaz Rola and Aljaz Bedene set an all-Slovenian semi-final at the Zavaraovalnica Sava Slovenia Open. Rola defeated No. 8 seed Roman Safiullin of Russia 6-2, 6-1 on a warm but also a bit windy Friday evening in Portoroz. The home favourite, third seed of the €46,600 ATP Challenger hard-court event, won 62 per cent of the total points played to advance after one hour and 11 minutes.
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“I am pleased with all the matches I have played here so far,” Rola told Tennis TourTalk. “The first one was actually the toughest one. I feel great with all the support from my family and friends as well as the tennis fans from all over the country. It’s amazing to play here.”
Last year, Rola was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness. “Before the start of the tournament I was just happy being able to play. I had this incident last year when I suddenly had to go to the hospital with bad results from the blood analysis. I was scared following the tournament from the hospital. I am happy how things worked out throughout the season being able to play at such high level.”
Earlier in the year, Rola captured his fourth ATP Challenger Tour career title at Leon, Mexico. “I was trying to do my best during practice and in the matches but somehow it didn’t work out in the past. I don’t know but I have a great team around me and so far I can’t complain about the season. Things are going great.”
Bedene overcomes Klein
Later in the evening, top seed Bedene had to fight hard against 21-year-old Slovakian Lukas Klein. The World No. 90 from Slovenia capitalized on six of his 25 break point chances to seal a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) victory in two hours and 45 minutes. Bedene won the only previous meeting with Rola at an ITF-Futures event in Bosnia and Herzegovina back in 2010.
“I can’t even remember that match. I lost, maybe that was is the reason I can’t remember,” Rola laughed. “Aljaz has been playing well. He has been ranked inside the top 100 for most of his career but everything will stay the same: Regroup, recover and get ready for the match tomorrow as against anyone else.”
Durasovic to challenge Lestienne
Elsewhere, Viktor Durasovic upset No. 13 seed Zdenek Kolar from the Czech Republic, winning 6-4, 7-6(6). The 22-year-old from Norway converted two of his six break point chances to reach his first semi-final at ATP Challenger level after one hour and 50 minutes.
“It’s definitely great to see that the hard work is paying off a bit,” Durasovic told Tennis TourTalk. “At this point it doesn’t mean too much for me, as I don’t jump that much on the Rankings. You need to be near to the Top 300 to get some main draw spots at Challenger level. Winning tomorrow’s match or even the tournament could be something extra special.”
The current World No. 429 has a pretty international background, as he was born in Norway, his parents are from Bosnia and Herzegovina and he moved to Spain when he was 12 years old.
Durasovic will next take on defending champion Constant Lestienne of France, who benefited from the retirement of Artem Dubrivnyy from Russia, leading 6-4, 3-0.
“I know it’s going to be tough,” Durasovic said. “He doesn’t miss many balls but it will be a fun fight.”
In Saturday’s doubles final, Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia and Spaniard Carlos Gomez Herrera will play the all-Austrian duo of Lucas Miedler and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn. Matches start at 5 pm local time.