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Sao Paulo Preview: Aljaz Bedene

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Bedene© AFP/Getty ImagesBedene won four ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2012.

Aljaz Bedene began his 2012 season ranked No. 165 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, but in winning four ATP Challenger Tour titles and ascending as high as World No. 79, he will be one of the players to watch at the second ATP Challenger Tour Finals in Sao Paulo.

“One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to play the ATP Challenger Tour Finals. With good results all over the year, I managed to do it and I am really happy with it,” Bedene tells ATPWorldTour.com. “Of course, I am not going there only to play it, I will try to win it.

“My first goal for the season was to come in the Top 100. Since I had many injuries in the last years I am really happy that this season was almost injury free. I knew if I stay healthy, results like these would come sooner or later.”

Three of Bedene’s Challenger trophies came on clay, but the eight-man event in Brazil will be played on hard, a surface Bedene feels equally confident playing on. An aggressive baseliner who relies on his first serve and forehand, the 23 year old reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final at the indoor hard-court event in Vienna, just his second tournament following appendix surgery.

“I can say clay is still my best surface, but I prefer to play on hard,” says Bedene. “I know if we would have more hard courts in Slovenia, I would play better here. It suits my game more.”

With his rise this year, Bedene is one of three Slovenians to finish inside the Top 100 of the year-end South African Airways ATP Rankings, an accomplishment the World No. 98 is very proud of.

“I am lucky to be here with Grega Zemlja and Blaz Kavcic,” Bedene says. “They helped me a lot and showed me that everything is possible by beating better ranked players. Of course it is nice to be number one, so Grega now gave me a good challenge.”

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