Marco Cecchinato beat Argentine Guido Pella 6-2, 7-6(4) to take the title Sunday at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag.
It was the Italian’s second career title after winning in Budapest earlier this year.
He will climb to just outside the Top 20 on Monday after beginning the year outside the Top 100, aided by his French Open semifinal appearance.
“I think it’s the best moment of my life,” Cecchinato said. “This year I’ve won two titles, I made the semifinals at Roland Garros. I feel good, because tomorrow I’ll be No. 22 in the ATP Rankings. I’m very happy, because I’m playing very, very well…I’m working very hard because I think, especially my backhand and also the drop shot, is good for me. Every time I played a good forehand, I won the point with a drop shot, so it’s good for me.”
The Italian has few points to defend the rest of the season.
“I need to work every day and focus. I think this is the motivation for me,” Cecchinato said. “That’s good for me.”
Pella dropped to 0-3 in career finals.
“It was a good week, but here I am,” Pella said. “In tennis, if you don’t win, it’s tough to get good feelings even if you make it to the final. You always have the pressure to win, so this is not an exception. I don’t feel happy at all.”
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