# Similar story to that Pedro Sousa will enjoy in Buenos Aires the following year: Balazs, a player who spent his 20s drifting between Futures and Challenger levels, all of a sudden, as a qualifier advances to an ATP final, at the age of 31. The Hungarian had an amazing run in Umag. In the first round he saved 7 match points (double MP twice, then a triple MP!) against Galovic, in the second round he survived against much better player (Krajinovic) being three points away from a defeat in the 3rd set tie-break, finally in the quarterfinal another marathon – against Travaglia, and a tie-break of the 2nd set helped to avoid a straight sets defeat. After three so demanding matches, Balazs could have been expected to lose easily to fellowe Hungarian speaker (but representing Serbia) – Djere, but it was Balazs who won that match without troubles. Lajovic, it was a bridge too far for the brave Hungarian. Nevertheless, Balazs played the final on equal terms having defeated Lajovic in 2 of their 3 previous meetings at lower levels. Balazs was two points away from clinching the opener as he served at 5:4. In the 2nd set he seemed very tired, losing a game for a *1:4 deficit, he didn’t try at all, but somehow found energy reserves, and the match was open until the last point. “It was a match that I’ll remember for the rest of my career,” said Lajovic. “I couldn’t be happier that I won. I had to work for every point, so I’m tired now, but also relieved to have to won my first title.”
Lajovic’s route to his maiden title (131st main-level event):
2 Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-3
Q Aljaz Bedene 5-7, 6-3, 6-3
S Salvatore Caruso 7-5 ret.
W Attila Balazs 7-5, 7-5
# Reaching the Umag final, 31-year-old Balazs [208, b. September ’88] was playing his just 6th main-level event
while 32-year-old P.Sousa [145, b. May ’88] his 15th in Buenos Aires ’20
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