After the semis had been completed on Sunday morning, Banja Luka Challenger eventually ceased with the singles final when second-seed Albert Ramos faced Viktor Troicki for the title.
Earlier the day, the Spaniard took out the tournament’s third favourite and Brasov Challenger Champion from last week, Andreas Haider-Maurer, winning 6-2, 7-6 in 90 minutes. Troicki needed 25 minutes less than the Barcelona native beating top-seed Blaz Rola in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.
When Ramos and Trocki met each other for the first time on the ATP Tour, the sun returned to Banja Luka and centre court was fully packed. About 780 spectators created a great atmosphere and backed their local favourite, as Banja Luka is part of Republika Srpska entity, which population is overwhelmingly made up of Serbs. Ramos overcooked a couple of baseline shots and Troicki capitalized on his fifth break point taking the opening set after 55 minutes in the twelfth game.
The world number 75, who took the ATP Challenger title in Genova last week, had a better start into the second frame when he earned his first break in the opening game. Ramos defended the advantage and served the set out in the tenth game after 95 minutes.
In an even third frame, it was Troicki who gained the decisive break in the twelfth game to seal victory winning 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours and 49 minutes. The 28-year-old Serb claimed his second Challenger title after winning in Como in his only sixth tournament of the season.
“It was a very very exciting match today. I think it was a pretty good final as we both played well and gave pretty much everything. It was the second match for both of us, which made it even tougher,” Troicki said afterwards. “I served well and I think that I was luckier in the third set, as Albert had a lot of break points but I didn’t let him gain the break. It was not my best tennis but I think it was ok. The conditions here were very slow, which suited him (Ramos) more than me but I moved well and physically I feel very good. Overall I’m very happy that it worked out for me, in particular in front of all this crowd. People were cheering in an unbelievable way. It was really special and they gave me extra motivation. I felt like in Davis Cup,” the former world number 12 from Belgrade described the atmosphere on centre court today.
“I will now go on to Asia. Playing on hard courts will definitely suit my game better. I enjoy playing on this surface and it’s going to be ATP World Tour events with all of the best players attending. I’m looking forward to it. I missed playing against the top players and just want to enjoy it,” Troicki told Tennis TourTalk about his further schedule.