Lajovic Prevails In Umag Marathon

Djere, Balazs reach semi-finals on Friday

Fourth-seeded Serbian Dusan Lajovic moved closer to his first ATP Tour title on Friday at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, advancing to the semi-finals over Slovenian Aljaz Bedene 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.

Lajovic squandered a 5-3 lead in the opening set, but regrouped to break Bedene four more times and prevailed in two hours and 33 minutes. The 29-year-old achieved his maiden ATP Tour final this April at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Fognini) and recorded his career-high ATP Ranking of No. 23 that same month.

Next up for the fourth seed is Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, who moved into his first ATP Tour semi-final with a 6-4, 6-0 over Argentine Facundo Bagnis. Caruso only had one ATP Tour victory to his name two months ago, but came through qualifying to reach the third round at Roland Garros before his latest run in Umag. The 26-year-old is projected to crack the Top 100 in the ATP Rankings if he can reach the final.

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Fellow Serbian and third seed Laslo Djere continued his excellent year on clay by battling past eighth-seeded Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3. A determined Djere saved six points in the second set before Mayer finally evened the score with a backhand winner on his seventh opportunity. But the Serbian remained calm and scored the lone break of the deciding set to advance in two hours and 40 minutes.

Djere improved to 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Mayer and is still on track for his second ATP Tour title of the season. He won his maiden crown this February in Rio de Janeiro (d. Auger-Aliassime).

He’ll now play Hungarian Attila Balazs for a place in the final. The 30-year-old qualifier continued his dream week by outlasting Italian Stefano Travaglia 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 for his first ATP Tour semi-final in seven years. Balazs, currently No. 207 in the ATP Rankings, reached two ATP Challenger Tour finals last month in Prostejov and Bratislava.

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Marach/Melzer March Into Doubles Final

Top seeds Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer advanced to the doubles final with a 7-6(5) 7-5 victory over fourth-seeded Argentines Mayer and Andres Molteni. The Austrian duo will face second seeds Robin Haase and Philipp Oswald, who defeated third seeds Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay 7-5, 1-6, 10-8.

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