Teenage star Rublev wins maiden ATP title as "lucky loser"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-24 09:03:37|Editor: Yang Yi


Andrey Rublev of Russia kisses the trophy during the awarding ceremony for the men's singles final of the ATP Croatia Open 2017 in Umag, Croatia, on July 23, 2017. Andrey Rublev claimed the title by defeating Paolo Lorenzi of Italy with 2-0. (Xinhua/Slavko Midzor)

UMAG, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Playing in his first-ever ATP World Tour singles final, 19-year old Russian rising star Andrey Rublev beat the experienced 35-year-old Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-2 to win his maiden title at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open on a hot Sunday night in Umag, a coastal town in northeastern Croatia.

Even before the first ball of the final match was to be hit, the record books of the oldest Croatian ATP World Tour tournament seeemed meant to be rewritten. Being 19 years and 276 days old on the day of the final match, Andrey Rublev was the youngest finalist at Croatia Open since the tournament started in 1990.

He was also the first lucky loser to earn his place in the match for the title. On the other side, Rublev was facing 35-years-and-220-days-old Paolo Lorenzi, the oldest-ever finalist in Umag.

In the end, it was the energy and the force of the young tennis star in the making that prevailed. Breaking the Italian's serve twice in both sets, Rublev had little trouble winning his first title at the stadium bearing the name of the 2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic.

The Italian veteran Lorenzi, playing in his fourth final of his career and the second in 2017, had no answer for the powerful game that his young opponent presented in Umag.

After just 76 minutes of the final of the Croatia Open, Andrey Rublev was only the seventh lucky loser in history to win the ATP title and the first since Rajeev Ram won the 2009 title at the Hall Of Fame Open in Newport.

Just six days before he won the title, 19-year old Russian lost a qualifying match to Hungarian Attila Balazs and was ready to check-out from the hotel when Croatian rising star Borna Coric has announced that he has to pull out because of the neck injury.

"This tournament was over for me a week ago when I lost in the qualifying and now I am standing here as a champion. It changed my life in one week," Rublev said in his first-ever winner's speech after he became the second Russian to win this trophy atfer Nikolay Davidenko won it in 2009.

For his maiden ATP singles title, Rublev received a winners check of 89,945 euros and bagged 250 ATP points that will put him at the career-high No. 49 in the Emirates ATP Singles Rankings. Lorenzi had to settle for a check of merely 45,265 euros and 150 points as he became the fourth Italian player to lose the Croatian Open final.

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KEY WORDS: Croatia Open