10:36 AM GMT July 24, 2017
#NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday as he defeated fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag.
“It’s amazing. I have no words to explain it, especially after this tough week,” said Rublev. “Now I’m here and it’s amazing.”
It caps a dream week for the 19-year-old Rublev, who had beaten third seed and defending champion Fabio Fognini in the quarter-finals and home hope Ivan Dodig in the last four to reach his first ATP World Tour final. The Moscow native had fallen in the final round of qualifying, but earned a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser when Borna Coric was forced to withdraw.
Rublev is the seventh lucky loser to win an ATP World Tour title and the first to do so since Rajeev Ram triumphed in Newport in 2009. The right-hander earns 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points, which will take him to a new career-high on Monday.
World No. 74 Rublev has been rapidly on the rise in recent weeks, reaching his first ATP World Tour quarter-final on grass in Halle (l. to Khachanov) and making the second round as a qualifier at Wimbledon (l. to Ramos-Vinolas). Just four months ago, Rublev was placed at No. 130 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
The Russian is set to break into the Top 3 in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, which determines who will qualify for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan from 7-11 November. Alexander Zverev currently leads the race, followed by Karen Khachanov.
Facing Lorenzi, 16 years his senior, for the first time, Rublev controlled the match from the start, breaking twice as he raced to a 4-1 lead. Lorenzi recouped one of the breaks, but Rublev went on to seal the opener. From 1-2 in the second set, the Russian reeled off the last five games to prevail in 76 minutes.
The No. 34-ranked Lorenzi was bidding to win his second ATP World Tour crown, following victory in Kitzbuhel last year. The Italian also missed out in the Quito final earlier this year, finishing runner-up to Victor Estrella Burgos. He has a 1-3 finals record.
“[Andrey] played remarkable throughout the week and again today,” said Lorenzi. “I wasn’t able to vary my game as much as I wanted [to] because I played slower. The match yesterday took away a lot of energy as it was very hot and humid.”