Of course, a lot of it is down to his well-deserved semifinal appearance at Roland Garros, but even after Paris, the Italian continued playing well. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him next or how things will go from here, but at least now he has a good reason to remember Umag.
He has shown that his success at Roland Garros was no fluke, as some believed he had been lucky and his stars had aligned. You can align stars all they long but that will not get you into Grand Slam semifinals, especially if you have to beat Novak Đoković to get there. Cecchinato is an excellent player, and no matter how far behind the baseline he is, he will chase those points. It is not like all he does is wait around for his opponent to make a mistake. His serve is no bomb but he puts it in there. He keeps the ball in the game, he hits his forehands, and that one-handed backhand of his… Simply put, an excellent player.
Guido Pella has also had a great run. He is a solid player, and his form does not oscillate much. He plays his game and takes whatever is on offer, and this time around, it was the final. Unfortunately, Cecchinato was too strong for Guido to do anything more.
We have thus arrived at the end of the tournament, which has once again offered so much. For instance, we had Nino Serdarušić, who played a great match against the no. 49 in the world, Maximilian Marterer, showing us he could play at this level and against the best of them. The only thing that he lacks now is the ranking. But I have no doubts he will soon join the Top 100 and then all doors will be open to him. He works hard and trains well, and I expect him in Umag next year as well, but without the invitation being necessary.
We have also seen a lot of good matches and scores of people in the stands. Compared to other ATP 250 tournaments, where people come only if the top tennis players, or even Federer and Nadal, show up, the stands in Umag are packed all week long. That is why we need to be content and cherish the thing that we have, as this is as good as it gets in Croatia.