PORTOROZ, August 17, 2019
Aljaz Bedene will be the first home favourite to appear in the championship match of the Zavaraovalnica Sava Slovenia Open since 2015 when Grega Zemlja lost to Italian Luca Vanni. In front of about 1,500 spectators and under the lights at the Tenis Center Lucija Portoroz on Saturday evening, the top seed of the €46,600 ATP Challenger event defeated fellow Slovenian Blaz Rola 6-3, 6-2.
— TennisTourTalk (@TennisTourTalk) August 17, 2019
Bedene, who had to go the distance in his opening match against Illya Marchenko as well as in the quarterfinals against Lukas Klein, showed his best performance of the week. The World No. 90 was leading with a set and a break, when he slipped in the fourth game of the second frame and fell on his knee but was back in play after a medical time-out. Bedene broke Rola’s serve again and prevailed after one hour and 27 minutes.
“I was very solid on court today,” Bedene told Tennis TourTalk. “Playing against a good friend is never easy but I probably played my best match of the tournament. I honestly didn’t expect it after three matches, which didn’t go too well. I knew I had to give my best today and I delivered.”
Asked about the incident in the second set, Bedene explained: “I was worried to be honest, as I had some problems with my patella. As soon as I fell, I thought that the injury could have returned from the impact but it didn’t. I am happy that I reacted well on the court.”
Durasovic continues good run of form
Bedene will next take on Viktor Durasovic of Norway. The World No. 429 came back from a set down to outlast No. 6 seed and defending champion Constant Lestienne of France 3-6, 6-1, 6-1. Durasovic won 58 per cent of the total points played to seal victory in one hour and 51 minutes.
“It feels good to go out and play some decent level. I feel that I belong to this kind of level and hope that I eventually reach a higher ranking to play Challengers all the time and grow more as a player. Now I am trying to stay sharp for tomorrow,” Durasovic told Tennis TourTalk.
Bedene and Durasovic will meet for the first time. The Ljubljana native could lift his 16th ATP Challenger career trophy, his first of the season.
“I don’t know him,” Bedene commented on his upcoming opponent. “I have to check online but it will be up to me to deliver.”
Gabashvili/Gomez-Herrera win doubles title
Earlier in the day, Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia and Carlos Gomez-Herrera from Spain clinched the doubles title. The two veterans defeated the all-Austrian duo of Lucas Miedler and Tristan-Samuel Weissborn 6-3, 6-2 in 63 minutes.
“It was a tough week for me, as I had some physical problems but it worked well in the end,” said Gomez-Herrera, who lifted his first trophy on the ATP Challenger Tour.
“I am happy to win the title. It has been a while and I hope it will help me for the upcoming tournaments,” Gabashvili added. The 34-year-old Tbilisi native took his last doubles title at Challenger level 2017 in Gimcheon.
“They were the better team today,” Miedler admitted defeat. The 23-year-old also finished runner-up in doubles last year.
“In particular Gabashvili played a really good match but I will come back next year to hopefully win the trophy.”