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Lajovic caps off dream week in Banja Luka, Alcaraz and Rune also take titles

An improbable week for Dusan Lajovic at the Srpska Open ended it fitting fashion on Sunday afternoon, with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 upset of Andrey Rublev. The 32-year-old Serb upset Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals and needed three hours to outlast Miomir Kecmanovic in the semis, but he had enough left in the tank to stun Rublev.

“Honestly, it was probably the toughest match I have had in the past six months,” Lajovic explained. “I felt drained. From 5-1 in the third I could not feel my legs and felt a bit dizzy. I knew he was going to fight but somehow I managed to pull it out in the last game. I wasn’t even thinking in the last game; I was just playing automatically and I tried to take the ball early on the forehand. I am thrilled and overwhelmed that I did it this week, that I won an ATP title.

“The last time I was in a final was four years ago and I have been through a lot since then–lots of ups and downs. This was probably the most unexpected thing for me for this week. But on the other side I still believed in myself, even though I did not have the best last year. This victory means a lot.”

An even more dramatic final came at the BMW Open, where Botic van de Zandschulp came painfully close to winning his first ATP title. In a rematch of last year’s Munich final, the Dutchman led Holger Rune by a double-break at 5-2 in the third set. Van de Zandschulp served for the match a total of three times–at 5-2, 5-4, and 6-5 in the third–but could not get across the finish line. All in all he squandered four championship points before Rune prevailed 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(3).

“I was feeling really exhausted, but I was fighting until the end and I tried everything I could to come back into the match,” Rune reflected. “I think for the crowd it was the perfect final. We really pushed each other to the limit and I am super happy I defended the title today.”

A much more straightforward result was expected at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and that is exactly what happened. Carlos Alcaraz completed a dominant run to defend his Barcelona title. He did not drop a single set throughout the week and needed only one hour and 19 minutes to dispose of Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4.

“It is incredible,” Alcaraz commented. “To feel this energy and lift the trophy in Barcelona in front of my family and friends, and most members of my team are here, as well. Playing this level and to lift the trophy in front of them is a good feeling for me.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.