By John Delong
Damir Dzhumur has been flying under the radar for much of this week’s Winston-Salem Open,
but he’s clearly flying high now.
Dzhumur rolled into the first ATP World Tour final of his career by beating Kyle Edmund 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Friday night, completely turning around a match that at one point was overwhelming against him.
The 25-year- old became the first player from Bosnia-Herzegovina to reach an ATP World Tour
final, and now has a chance to become the sixth first-time winner on the tour this year.
He will meet top-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Jan-Lennard Struff in the
night’s second semifinal, in Saturday’s championship match.
“It’s going to be a big thing for me and my country, being the only player in the top 100 and
getting great results,” Dzhumur said after the match. “I think everyone in my country is still awake and watching me, so I’m really proud for my country. It looks like a little strange for me to make the final, but for us it’s a big deal. In Bosnia, it’s a really big result. For all the country what we’ve went through in the last 20 years, I’m proud of my country and proud of myself, and it’s going to be a good day tomorrow.”
Dzhumur, currently ranked No. 67, came to Winston-Salem after reaching the finals at a
Challenger event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic last week. He didn’t arrive in town until 2 a.m. Monday morning, then proceeded to beat Denis Istomin that afternoon.
He followed that up by beating ninth-seeded Gilles Simon, Horacio Zeballos and Hyeon Chung to reach the semis, so he has now played 10 matches in the past 10 days.
He was overwhelmed in the first set and seemed headed for a quick exit, but he regrouped in
the second set, got the only break he needed in the final game of the set, and then he dominated the
third set with two breaks of serve.
“I didn’t expect that after the first set,” Dzhumur said. “I didn’t have any chances. Kyle was
playing too good and I was feeling a little bit slow on the court. I thought I was a little tired after all the matches. It seemed like I needed to warm up a little more because all my other matches I was starting well. But the second set I tried to hold my serve and I broke him at 6-5 and from that moment mentally I think I was up and I was playing better in the third set” Dzumhur said there was one point in the match where he thought Edmund might be too tough to beat.
“He was really hitting so hard,” Dzumhur said. “He’s a top 50 player and he was playing really
good. Good serve, good forehand, really good from the baseline, moving really good. I mean, it was hard to find anything bad in his game today. But I think physically he went down in the third set and I used it to my advantage.”
Edmund was playing his seventh match in seven days after coming to the WSO as a qualifier.
He’s ranked No. 45 in the world, but did not enter before the entry deadline and thus was forced to
He had beaten sixth-seeded Steve Johnson in the quarterfinals, after beating Thomas Fabbiano,
Daniil Medvedev and Marton Fucsovics in earlier rounds.
“Obviously I was not wanting to lose, but it happens,” Edmund said. “I won a lot of matches here so now I’m looking forward to New York. You try your best. Obviously I didn’t want to lose but it just wasn’t meant to be tonight.”
Bautista Agut admitted after his win over Struff that he has revenge on his mind this week. He
had lost to Pablo Carreno Busta in last year’s final and is now looking for his second ATP World Tour title of the year and the sixth of his career. He won at Chennai earlier in the year.
“Of course I came here to get revenge, and I will have the opportunity tomorrow,” Bautista Agut
said. “When I came here I know it was difficult to be in the final again and I have to be happy to make the final, but I will definitely try to get the win tomorrow.”
Struff was disappointed afterward, but happy to learn that his success here this week will move
him into the Top 50 when the new rankings come out on Monday.
“Roberto is a very tough opponent,” Struff said. “I had played him twice before and I knew this
would be a very tough match. I didn’t play so well today, but he deserved to win. I had problems with his game. He was much better.”
In the doubles final, the second-seeded team of Jean-Julien Roger and Horia Tecau claimed the
title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos.
It was the pair’s third ATP World Tour doubles crown of the year and it was particularly
meaningful to Roger, who celebrated his 36 th birthday on Friday.
“It’s a nice birthday gift,” Roger said. “But I was not going to let the result determine if I was
going to have a good day or not. I’m happy with the win. We had a good week and did a lot of good things in preparation for New York so we hope to carry the form on to New York.”
Roger and Tecau didn’t lose their serve a single time all week in four matches. They beat
Dominic Inglot-Daniel Nestor in the first round, Marcus Daniell-Nicholas Monroe in the quarterfinals, and Brian Baker-Nikola Mektic in the semis.
“Every tournament that you win is special,” Tecau said. “This was our first time coming here as a
team and we really had a good time. There were some hot days, tough conditions, but we managed to play some good tennis. It’s another great week for us that’s adding to our team and now we need to recover quick and continue the form.”