Ajdukovic Advances To Braga Open Final

Duje Ajdukovic (photo: Sebastião Guimarães)

BRAGA/STARNBERG, September 30, 2023

Duje Ajdukovic and Oriol Roca Batalla will compete in Sunday’s singles final of the €73,000 Braga Open. Ajdukovic rallied past Mate Valkusz of Hungary 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 in the stage of the final four on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Croatian converted five of his 11 break-point opportunities and won 53 per cent of the total points played to succeed after two hours and 10 minutes.

It’s been a good week, and reaching the final feels great,” Ajdukovic said. “He played the first set at a very high level. But in the second, I saw he was struggling, and then the momentum shifted to my side. I had a bit of bad luck at the start of the third, and it affected me more than it should have. But even after losing three of the first four games, I felt like I had control over the points, so I didn’t get too worried.”

Later in the afternoon, Roca Batalla continued his fine run of form at the ATP Challenger Tour 75 clay-court tournament in Northern Portugal with a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory over Benjamin Hassan of Lebanon. The 30-year-old Spanish qualifier won 83 per cent of his second-service points and broke his rival one time to advance in one hour and 50 minutes.

“It was very challenging because he’s a skillful and highly unpredictable player who never lets you know what he’s going to do. But I managed to hold on, and I was very good with my service, which made things a bit easier,” said Roca Batalla.

Ajdukovic is bidding for his second ATP Challenger crown following his triumph in Lüdenscheid, Germany in early August. After 21 title wins on the ITF Pro Circuit, Roca Batalla could lift his maiden Challenger trophy. The pair will meet for the first time.