Umag, 30 July 2022 – Sunday's final of the 32nd Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag (Sunday, 8 p.m.) will be a match between the first and second seeded players, both of whom are among the top 10 on the ATP list this week: Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz and Italy’s Jannik Sinner.
Saturday’s semifinal clash between Alcaraz and Zeppieri was without a doubt the most exciting match of this year’s tournament. So much happened, including purely fantastic tennis, laced with dramatic moments, such as Alcaraz’s ankle injury in the second set and Zeppieri suffering cramps in the third set. The match lasted 2 hours and 55 minutes, with both players giving their all, but it was this year's favourite to win the title who came on top(7:5, 4:6, 6:3). In the other semifinal match, a clash between two Italian players,
Sinner won 6:1, 6:3 against Franco Agamenone, putting an end to his string of victories which started back in the qualifiers.
This victory brings Alcaraz one step closer to defending his title, and takes him to the fourth place of the ATP list, regardless of the outcome of the final match on Sunday. The Sunday’s match, in which he will face Jannik Sinner, will be the 100th professional match in his career.
“My ankle is okay. I saw the recording of the moment it happened, it looked worse than it actually was,” said Alcaraz referring to the moment in the second set, at 2:2, when he twisted his ankle and needed assistance from his physical therapist. He played the rest of the match with a bandaged ankle.
Zeppieri had no ATP tournament victories before Umag, and he went into the semifinal match as the underdog. Alcaraz started with a 4:2 lead, but the Italian managed to return the break, and had three set points at his opponent’s serve with the result at 5:4.
“That’s what makes him the champion. I played well, but I had no chance in those games,” said the 168th ranked player, who managed to win the second set and almost staged an upset, but at 3:3 in the third set his legs started cramping up, after which he didn’t win a single game.
“We are both young players, doing our best every time we hit the court. I hope Sunday’s match also gives us some top quality tennis, and we will try and make it so,” said Sinner.
Sinner and Alcaraz are tied at one victory each in their clashes in big tournaments: the Spaniard won last year at a Masters 1000 match in Paris, while the Italian won this year in Wimbledon. However, Alcaraz has a slight overall lead as he won in the 2019 Challenger in Alicante.
The champions of the doubles tournament are Italians Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli, following an amazing comeback.
Great Britain’s Lloyd Glasspool and Finland’s Harri Heliövaara won the first set 7:5, and had a 6:0 lead in the tie-break of the second set. They failed to convert six consecutive match points, lost 12 consecutive points, and the Italian pair (champions of Umag 2011 and Australian Open 2015) won 5:7, 7:6 (6), 10:7.