Nur-Sultan: Jurij Rodionov after a botched start to the season before the fifth Challenger title
Jurij Rodionov is in the final of the Nur-Sultan's Challenger event. And that although the calendar year 2021 had not yet really gone according to plan for the Lower Austrian.
by Michael Rothschädl
last edit: Feb 27, 2021, 07:07 pm
"I have had a really good week so far, I have been able to adjust to the opponents very well and, above all, I was mentally on top," said Jurij Rodionov after his contested three-set win over Indian Prajnesh Gunneswaran. The expected "tough" match was against an opponent who, above all, could cause a lot of damage with his powerful game, as the Nuremberg native had explained in the run-up to the duel with the Indian.
It was the first really big test for the Austrian, who had previously "walked" almost into the semifinals. The duel with Gunneswaran, on the other hand, was a really close one, as Rodionov emphasizes: "I started very well today, scored the decisive points from the back. Especially in the third set it was a very competitive match at eye level, I think it was crucial that I wanted victory more. "
Lean start to the season for Rodionov
For the Austrian, the current successful run in Nur-Sultan is synonymous with the end of a negative series that has bothered the four-time Challenger winner in the course of the season so far. After qualifying for the Australian Open had ended surprisingly early, Rodionov did not really convince when he returned to the Challenger Tour - the 21-year-old had only one victory in his three appearances in France.
The results of the previous year are much more positive for the Lower Austrian, who not only celebrated two titles on the Challenger Tour, but was also able to set his first fragrance brand on the very large Grand Slam stage. And refined his tennis year 2020 with a "home win" in the Wiener Stadthalle against the top 20 player Denis Shapovalov.
New career high fixed
In Nur-Sultan's final, Jurij Rodionov will now face the American Mackenzie McDonald - it will be the first encounter with the world number 139. Even before this match, however, it is certain that the Lower Austrian will hit a new career high in the ATP charts on Monday. In the event of a win, Rodionov would even be ranked 130th.