Zagreb, July 27 (IANS) Austrian Dominic Thiem, with an ATP ranking of 26, beat Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-1 to win the 26th edition of the Konzum Croatia Open here.
Playing in front of the packed stadium in the Stella Maris Tennis Center and world’s number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday, the 21-year old Austrian needed just one hour to beat 26-year old Sousa and to win his second career ATP title, Xinhua reported.
The Portuguese player was able to withstand Thiem’s pace only until the 7th game when the young Austrian broke him for the first time in the match.
From that moment, Thiem took control of the match and raced toward his second career title in 2015 after having won his first in May at Nice.
“It was a very special day for me as the best tennis player came to watch us. Usually, Novak is the one who entertains us,” Thiem said in his winner’s speech.
“Joao had a very tough three matches and I played very good. This is a special tournament for me. Many times I played here as a junior and dreamed of playing in front of the packed centre court,” said the first Austrian winner after legendary Thomas Muster who won this title three times (1992-93, 1995).
Thiem received his trophy from Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and earned 250 ATP points along with 80,000 euros.
Even though he played the tournament, Djokovic is not on the winners’ list, losing the 2006 final to Stan Wawrinka when he was forced to retire.
Djokovic, however, made a surprise visit and promised to come back here in a quest to win the title that he missed.
“I’ve always felt welcome in Umag. I promised myself to come back here before I end my career,” he said.