Rola Returns To Winners’ Circle At Split Open

Blaz Rola and Blaz Kavcic (photo: Tennis Slovenia)

SPLIT, April 11, 2021

After a one-week hiatus, the ATP Challenger Tour returned to Croatia with the second edition of the €44,820 Split Open. Split is the second-largest city of the country and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Eastern Europe, nestled on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea.

Last year, the tournament welcomed fans at the Tennis Club Firule for the first Challenger in Croatia since 2011. Due to the ongoing pandemic this year’s clay-court event, however, took place without spectators.

On a windy and chilly Sunday morning in Split, Blaz Rola won the just second all-Slovenian final in the ATP Challenger history against qualifier Blaz Kavcic 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The No. 6 seed battled through the bottom half of the draw, beating Dmitry Popko from Kazakhstan, Croatian wild card entry Duje Ajdukovic, Miza Basic from Bosnia and Herzegovina and defending champion Andrea Collarini of Argentina en-route to the championship match.

Rola broke Kavcic’s serve four times and won 52 per cent of the total points played to secure victory in two hours and 13 minutes.


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“I don’t even know how I managed to win. Conditions were not easy: Wind, rain and it was pretty cold. The court was slower than the previous days,” said Rola. “Blaz played a flawless for set, so I still don’t know how I won. I’m happy. Too bad this victory happens in these difficult times, as otherwise a lot of fans would have come to watch the match. But this must be accepted.”

By lifting his fifth Challenger trophy, his first since Leon in Mexico 2019, the 30-year-old Ptuj native pocketed €6,190 in prize money as well as 80 ATP Ranking points.

“There are also some mixed feelings, as I played against a good friend and a practice partner. But someone had to win. Nonetheless, we were both in the final and played good tennis. I hope that the season will continue like this,” Rola added.

Top seeds prevail in doubles

On Saturday, Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov captured the doubles title. The top seed from Kazakhstan fought past Szymon Walkow and Jan Zielinski of Poland 7-5, 6-7(5), 10-5. The final lasted one hour and 45 minutes.

By picking up their fifth team title and first of the season, Golubev and Nedovyesov split €2,670 in prize money and earned 80 ATP Doubles Ranking points.


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