Clay fan Djere beats Cecchinato to win Sardegna Open

SANTA MARGHERITA DI PULA, Sardinia (AP) — Laslo Djere of Serbia beat Italian wild card Marco Cecchinato to win the Sardegna Open on Sunday.

Djere won 7-6 (3), 7-5, sealing the final with a deep backhand return.

It was the 74th-ranked Djere’s second title. Both have come on clay and 11 of Djere’s 13 tour-level victories this year have been on that surface.

“I grew up on clay. When I was a kid, I mostly practiced on clay. It is natural for me,” Djere said. “The surface complements my game style. I play with a lot of topspin, especially on the forehand so I can adapt really fast on clay.

“My main focus is to improve my game on hard courts. So far it is improving, but it could be better.”

Cecchinato fought back from 3-0 down in the second set and also saved a match point.

“When you lose a final it is a tough moment, but I leave here with so many positive things because now I am coming back to the Top 100,” Cecchinato said.

“I stayed very focused on my game during the match from the first to the last point. There are so many positive things from the past few weeks.”

The tournament was installed in the ATP calendar as a one-time only event amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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