A first ATP title was on the line at the upset-riddled ATP 500 stop in Rio on Sunday. In the end, the crown went to Serbian Laslo Djere who stopped the run of 18-year-old Canadian phenom Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 7-5.
Neither player had ever been to an ATP final before Sunday, but after a week filled with upsets the two players who knocked out both top two seeds (Dominic Thiem and Fabio Fognini) were left standing.
The 19th-ranked Djere is projected to rise to No. 37 in the new rankings.
“It’s been the week of my dreams,” he said. “So many things have been achieved here. I’m really happy, excited and emotional now. I’m happy I could push through this match because it was very tough mentally and physically.”
Auger-Aliassime was trying to become the youngster ATP champion since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won 2008 Delray Beach. He still is the youngest to make a ATP 500 final since the level was established in 2009.
The young Montreal native was broken six times in the match including three straight to open the match.
Djere dedicated the win to his parents who have both passed away.
“I lost my mom seven years ago and I want to dedicate this one to her. And also to my dad, I lost him two months ago.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 24, 2019
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