Bosnian Damir Dzumhur has enjoyed the best tennis of his career in the last 2 months, reaching the semi-final in Los Cabos, the final at Winston-Salem, and winning his first ATP crown last week in St. Petersburg. Damir is just 2 matches away from adding another trophy to his tally, beating the top seed Alexander Zverev by 6-4 7-5 in an hour and 30 minutes for his 30th ATP win of the season, and 18 out of the last 21 matches he played! Zverev escaped the second round defeat yesterday against Steve Darcis, who really should have won that one, but he couldn't do the same today against an in-form rival, struggling with humidity and to overpower his rival from the baseline.
Damir served at only 51% but he kept his second serve well, saving 5 out of 7 break points. Sascha hit 6 double faults and he was under a constant pressure on his second serve, getting broken 4 times from 7 opportunities he gave to Bosnian.
German asked for a medical timeout in the second set due to left foot injury, and he will try to return to his best in Beijing and especially in Shanghai. Sascha saved a break point in the first game of the match and he broke at 15 to take a 2-0 lead, only to drop serve in the next 2 service games, trailing 3-2.
Dzumhur survived 3 deuces in game 6 and they both served well in the remaining games, and Bosnian closed the set by 6-4 with a commanding hold in game 10. Zverev was off to a great start in set number 2, losing 2 points on serve in the opening 3 service games and breaking in game 4 for a 4-1 advantage.
Out of sudden, he lost 12 out of the next 15 points, Dzumhur broke him at love to level the score at 4-4, and he saved 3 set points in the 10th game to avoid the deciding set. Those missed chances cost Zverev a lot, he got broken in game 11 and Damir didn't need the second invitation to seal the deal, bringing the match home with a hold at love in game 12 for the place in the semis.
David Goffin will play in his first semi-final since Monte Carlo after he eases past the 8th seed Donald Young by 6-2 6-3 in just 64 minutes. This was their first match in 5 and a half years and David was the dominant figure, keeping his serve nicely and making a lot of damage on the return.
He lost serve once, which kept Young in contention at least in the first part of the second set, but the American had to play against 10 break points since he lost more than 50% of the points in his games, and 5 breaks were more than enough for David to wrap up a win and reach the last 4 for the first time since April.
The first set was fast and fluid and it was all about Goffin, who dropped 5 points on serve and broke Young twice for a 6-2. Belgian earned an early lead when he broke in the opening game with an amazing backhand cross court winner, and he moved 5-2 in front following another break in game 7.
World number 12 needed just 22 minutes to seal the opener with another solid hold in game 8 and it was so far so good for him, serving well and keeping the points on his racquet thanks to some fine hitting from both wings.
The second set produced longer games and a little bit more drama, and it started with a long 3rd game when Young handed his service game again, sending the forehand far beyond the baseline. Donald broke back immediately, though, placing a forehand down the line winner to level the score at 2-2, in what has been the only loose service game from Goffin in the entire match.
Still, the Belgian was too strong in the late stages of the set, breaking in game 7 thanks to another deep return, and again in game 9 with a forehand cross court winner for one of his finest wins in the recent months. Playing against each other for the first time in 6 years, the 5th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov defeated Dudi Sela 6-3 4-6 1-0, as the Israeli decided to retire after the opening point of the second game in the final set. Namely, today is the Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism, and he asked to play earlier, which the organizers didn't allow, and he quit when the sun started to come down.
Dolgopolov was the better player on the court during this 74 minutes, firing 9 aces and keeping his first serve under control, losing serve only once. He broke Sela twice from 3 opportunities and it would have been interesting to see the rest of the match, as it was a solid one.
Alexandr was on a role on serve in the opening set and he waited for a chance on the return patiently, breaking Sela at 15 in game 8 when the Israeli hit a forehand long. Ukrainian sealed the deal with an ace, taking the opener 6-3 in 28 minutes.
The rivals stayed in touch in the opening 8 games of the second set, with some nice shotmaking on both sides and Sela saved a break point with a nice volley in game 9. That was a game changer, as he earned his lone break point in the following game and converted it with a deep return that Dolgopolov could only place into the net.
Dudi discussed with Layhani in the break before the final set but he continued to play, moving 40-0 in front in the opening game of the decider. Out of sudden, Dolgopolov won the next 5 points and break his opponent, who only stayed on the court for 1 more point in the second game before he called for a doctor and retired.