Sabanov Brothers Complete ‘Dream’ Week With Belgrade Crown
Coming into the event, the 28-year-old twin brothers had only won one tour-level doubles match, reaching the quarter-finals in Montpellier last year. But they made good on their wild card opportunity to complete a dream week in Belgrade.
“It’s definitely been a dream-come-true week for us, it’s been amazing,” Ivan said in their post-match press conference. “Since the first match, we beat the third seeds and we realised we have a really good level. We kept playing good, and then everything was like a dream for us. I still don’t even think we realise that we won the tournament. We could not predict something like this.”
Coached by older brother Aleksandar Sabanov, the Sabanovs began their Belgrade campaign with an upset over third seeds Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan. The pair live in Belgrade and have previously trained at the Novak Tennis Centre, and that familiarity showed as they powered their way to the final, notching a victory over Matteo Berrettini and Andrea Vavassori along the way.
Up against the Marbella champions Behar and Escobar in the final, the brothers had to fight through a tough second set after taking the lead. The Ecuadorian-Uruguayan duo saved match point at 6-5 to reach a tie-break, where they opened up a 5/2 lead. But the Sabanovs bounced back, reeling off the next five points to seal the victory in one hour and 31 minutes.
Neither brother has any sort of tennis sponsorship. Matej plays with Laslo Djere’s old racquet, while Ivan uses Filip Krajinovic’s. Both men wore gifted Fila gear throughout the week – so the victory and 250 FedEx ATP Rankings points will be a financial boon as much as a boost in confidence.
“It’s difficult to get the [sponsorships] in countries like Serbia and Croatia, but this won’t stop us from doing our thing and becoming good players,” Ivan said. “And this tournament won’t change us, we’ll still be the same people and work hard for our dream. This is just a small step for our dream.”
Krawietz/Tecau Save M.P. To Reach Barcelona Final
Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau saved a match point to make it through to their second final of the season on Saturday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.
The Rotterdam finalists recovered from a slow start and claimed three straight points from match point down at 9/8 in the Match Tie-break to defeat third seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 1-6, 6-3, 11-9. Krawietz and Tecau won 75 per cent of their first-serve points (30/40) to overcome the Australian Open finalists in 77 minutes.