Popko Powers Into Lisboa Belém Open Final

Dmitry Popko (photo: Beatriz Ruivo/Del Monte Lisboa Belém Open)

LISBON/STARNBERG, October 2, 2021

Dmitry Popko from Kazakhstan is into the singles final of the Del Monte Lisboa Belém Open seeking his maiden title on the ATP Challenger Tour. The No. 8 seed of the €44,820 clay-court tournament in Lisbon, Portugal beat third-seeded Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday afternoon.

Popko won 83 per cent of his first-service points and converted four of his eight break-point chances to secure victory in one hour and 20 minutes.

“It’s like second life. In yesterday’s match I had to save match points. Now I am feeling better. I knew that I will face another difficult opponent, who plays well on clay. I knew that he likes drop shots but I was trying to stay closer to the baseline. It was a good match,” said Popko, who captured 18 singles trophies on the ITF Pro Circuit and will appear in his third championship match on the Challenger Tour.

In the second semi-final match, Andrea Pellegrino benefited from the retirement of No. 4 seed Andrej Martin of Slovakia. The 24-year-old Italian was leading 7-6(5), 1-0 when Martin was forced to stop playing with abdominal pain.

Pellegrino could lift his second Challenger career trophy following his maiden triumph on home soil at the Roma Garden Open in late April. The pair will meet for the first time.

Top seeds from India win doubles title

Later in the day, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja of India claimed the doubles title. The top seeds defeated local favourites Nuno Borges and Francisco Cabral 7-6(5), 6-3. The encounter lasted one hour and 39 minutes.

Nedunchezhiyan and Raja split €2,670 in prize money and pocketed 80 ATP Doubles Ranking points.