© ATP Umag 2019

Russian Andrey Rublev, who won the Umag title in 2017, takes part in a video game race during the Players Party.

Rublev In Driver’s Seat In Umag Opener

2017 champion to face Lajovic next

Andrey Rublev opened his bid to reclaim the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag title on Tuesday, cruising into the second round with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Robin Haase. The 21-year-old Russian improved to 4-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, with his lone loss to the Dutchman coming in last year’s Umag quarter-finals.

Rublev, a two-time Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier, won his maiden ATP Tour title here in 2017 as a lucky loser. He will look to reach his first quarter-final since February in Marseille when he next meets No. 4 seed Dusan Lajovic, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist (l. to Fognini).

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Italian Paolo Lorenzi, the 2017 finalist, battled for a place in the second round. The 37-year-old Italian came back to defeat German qualifier Peter Torebko 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(3) in three hours and 10 minutes. Lorenzi next faces No. 3 seed Laslo Djere.

In an all-Italian opener, Stefano Travaglia dismissed Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 6-2 to set a meeting with Fabio Fognini, the top seed. Fognini, currently at a career-high No. 9 in the ATP Rankings, won the Umag title in 2016.

A pair of Argentines also advanced Tuesday. Facundo Bagnis knocked out No. 7 seed Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, and eighth seed Leonardo Mayer defeated Pablo Andujar 6-1, 7-5. Meanwhile, sixth-seeded Serbian Filip Krajinovic saved a set point at 5-4 in the opening set as he came back to defeat Japan's Taro Daniel 7-5, 7-6(4).

In doubles action, top-seeded Austrians Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer opened their Umag campaign with a 6-2, 7-6(2) win over Pedro Sousa and Stefano Travaglia.

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