Umag, 28 July 2022 – Carlos Alcaraz’s streak at the Stella Maris resort continues! Having won the first title of his career at last year’s Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, he continued right where he left off last year, defeating Slovak Norbert Gombos 6:2, 6:3 in the second round. He did what he was expected to do, closing the match after his sixth match point.
This is the Spaniard’s 40th victory in singles tournaments this year (the only player with more victories, 42 of them, is Greek's Stefanos Tsitsipas), and what is truly impressive is his win/loss ratio on clay courts, where he has as many as 25 victories in 28 matches. He has already won four titles this season, helping him to his best ranking yet (5th place), which he will surpass if he places in the finals in Umag, since this is what he needs to climb to the 4th place.
“Of course, this makes me extra motivated. If someone had told me at the start of the year that I would have 40 victories by July, I would have called them crazy,” he commented.
The favourites in other matches came up short. Argentinian Sebastian Baez, fourth seeded player, was leading 5:3 in the third set against Italian Franco Agamenone, but after that didn’t win a single additional game during the match. Although he came to Umag with his career best ATP ranking (32nd place), he couldn’t find a way past his strong opponent.
Baez was defeated by his fellow Argentinian who now plays for Italy, and the story about the 29-year-old Franco Agamenone's career is truly unusual. Although he won his first ATP points in 2009, this is the first time he’s playing in an ATP tournament, including qualifications! He wanted to retire from tennis in 2018, and he lost all of the points on the ranking the following August, but then he moved to Italy, and his situation started to improve.
Italy's Marco Cecchinato, champion of Umag 2018, defeated his fellow Italian Lorenzo Musetti (eight seeded) 6:4, 6:3, breaking his streak of victories (6). Musetti arrived to Umag after winning the title in Hamburg, but he couldn’t continue his hot streak once he faced Cecchinato.
There will be no Croatian representatives in the last days of the tournament. Both of our pairs were defeated in their respective second round matches: Franko Škugor and Antonio Šančić lost 7:6 (1), 6:7 (6), 10:7 to the top seeded Italian pair Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini, while Nino Serdarušić and Mili Poljičak were defeated 6:3, 6:3 by Great Britain's Lloyd Glasspool and Finland’s Harri Heliövaara.
Still, Škugor and Šančić came close to winning, as they had a 7:5 lead in the third set. However, they failed to score a single point in the rest of the match, so the semifinals will be played by champions of Umag 2011 and those of Australian Open 2015.
Poljičak and Serdarušić faced the third seeded pair, realistically one of the world's best pairs this season. Glasspool and Heliövaara, the seventh ranked pair in 2022, came to Umag after winning Hamburg, and played a brilliant match against the Croatian duo.