Tennis: Lucky loser Andrey Rublev wins first career crown

Winner Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev kisses his trophy during the prize ceremony after competing in the ATP Croatia Open tennis tournament final match on July 23, 2017 in the Croatian coastal city of Umag.
Winner Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev kisses his trophy during the prize ceremony after competing in the ATP Croatia Open tennis tournament final match on July 23, 2017 in the Croatian coastal city of Umag.PHOTO: AFP

Umag, Croatia (AFP) - Russian lucky loser Andrey Rublev claimed his first career title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over 35-year-old Italian veteran and fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi in the Umag clay-court final.

Rublev, 19, had lost in the final round of qualifying last weekend, but earned a spot in the main draw when Borna Coric was forced to withdraw with injury.

The world No. 74, who will break the top 50 next week, made the most of his reprieve by seeing off third seed and defending champion Fabio Fognini in the quarter-finals and home hopeful Ivan Dodig in the semi-finals.

"It's amazing. I have no words to explain it, especially after this tough week," Rublev told atpworldtour.com. "Now I'm here and it's amazing."

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Moscow-based Rublev is the seventh lucky loser to win an ATP World Tour title and the first to do so since American Rajeev Ram in Newport in 2009.

Rublev has been in a rich vein of form in recent weeks, reaching his first quarter-final on grass in Halle and making the second round as a qualifier at Wimbledon.

Four months ago, he was ranked at 130.