Photo: Rowland Charles GoodmanPedja Krstin (SRB)
Former Serbian Junior Davis Cup player Pedja Krstin is our featured player for this month.
The 19-year-old saw action on the ITF Pro Circuit in Algeria over the opening two weeks with tournaments in the cities of Oran and Algiers before seeing out the month with an appearance in the qualifying event of the ATP Tour event in Oeiras, Portugal.
The two Algerian tournaments were held on clay and for the opening tournament in Oran he found himself among the tournament favourites and was named as the second seed.
For the initial rounds of the draw, the Serbian teenager dropped very few games, in fact, in six sets played he only conceded more than one game in a set once, and then it was only two games dropped!
Krstin began his title quest with a first round encounter against a lucky loser from the qualifying event; Croatia’s Stefan Merunka. A 61 62 win quickly saw Krstin move into round two.
Consecutive wins of 61 61 followed in the next two rounds which included a quarterfinal defeat of the number eight seed from Italy; Matteo Marrai.
Another seed awaited him in the semifinal where he took on Belgian Yannik Reuter who was seeded third.
As expected, a tougher test was faced by Krstin but having won a close first set 64 he then dropped just two games in the second set as he secured the win and claimed a place in his second ITF Pro Circuit singles final of the year.
In the title match Krstin was up against an unseeded player in Jordan Ubiergo with the French player pushing Krstin hard in the opening set which required a tiebreaker to separate the two. The tiebreak was as close as the games leading into it and a narrow 7-5 win gave Krstin the first set.
Now just one set from the title, Krstin upped his game and allowed his opponent only the one game as he raced through the set to wrap up a 76(5) 61 victory for his second title of 2014.
Following his title win, a trip to Algiers was next on the agenda for the 19-year-old and he once more found himself named as the second seed.
Krstin’s opening round opponent was a player already familiar to him having met in round two the previous week. On that occasion Teri Groll was comfortably seen off in straight sets 61 61 but he was able to put up more of a fight this time before succumbing to another loss in straight sets, 75 62.
Six games were then dropped over the course of another straight sets win in round two and the winning in two sets theme continued in the quarterfinal and semifinal where he posted wins of 61 63 and 64 62, the second coming against the fifth seeded Laurent Rochette.
Another final now beckoned for the young Serbian and after nine successive straight sets wins he lost out on a tiebreak 10-8 in the first round to find himself in the unfamiliar position of falling behind.
His opponent in this title match was Matteo Marrai, a player Krstin had seen off in the previous week’s quarterfinal with the loss of just two games. Marrai, seeded eighth just as he was in their previous match, was unable to build on this advantage and Krstin staged a triumphant comeback as he reeled off two set wins of 62 and earn himself back-to-back titles in Algeria.
Krstin took a break from competitive play following his time in Algeria and returned to action towards the end of the month at the Portuguese Open tournament on the ATP Tour where he reached the second round of qualifying.
A great month for the teenager despite it ending on that loss saw him maintain his 100% record when appearing in 2014 finals and, with the ATP rankings release on 21 April, reaching a new singles career high ranking of 255.
Title wise, his career wins record now stands at five from nine finals contested and an impressive three from three in 2014.