Popyrin defeats idol to claim Umag title

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin won his second tour level title at the expense of Stan Wawrinka.

The final score was 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4.

“All tournament I’ve been fighting battles that I don’t know how I won. This one tops it all,” said Popyrin in his on-court interview. “My quad was done at 2-1. I felt it cramp, I felt it strain. I think it’s pulled, but I managed to dig deep. I don’t know how I won it, honestly. I honestly don’t know.”

The Australian fought hard and adjusted his style of play after cramping.

“I even told the physio when he came out,” said Popyrin. “He said, ‘If you go any more then it will be tough’. I said, ‘There’s no point in quitting now, I’m here in the final. If I lose, I lose. If I retire, I lose anyway. So I have a better chance of winning if I stay in’, so that’s what I decided to do.”

“It’s an unbelievable honour to play somebody like Stan in a final,” said Popyrin. “I grew up watching him, Roger, Rafa, Novak play. To play him in a final and beat him in a final, words can’t describe how happy I am. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Wawrinka was aiming to win his first title since he won on home soil back in 2017.

Popyrin leaps to a career-hogh of no. 57 in the ATP rankings.

Australia almost had two titles across the weekend with Aleksandar Vukic losing to Taylor Fritz in the Atlanta tournament.

The score was 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4. After his runners-up effort, Vukic also moves to a career-high ranking of no. 62.

Canberra: 2 January 2023 –Aleksander Vukic in the men’s singles round 1, at the Canberra International tournament. Photo by Rob Keating, http://robiciatennisphotography.com

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