Wroclaw, Poland, €85,000+H (Indoor Hard) : 15 years after they met for the first time in Palermo on clay, veterans Jurgen Melzer and Paul-Henri Mathieu faced each other in Wroclaw semi-final and the Austrian got through by 7-6 6-1, in 76 minutes.
Melzer, who struggled for a long time with injuries, still has a strong will to compete at the age of 35, and he is looking better and better in 2017, reaching his second Challenger final of the season and 10th overall. It was a solid match between two experienced indoor players and it was Jurgen who served better, finding the first serve in the most important moments and winning 84% of those points.
He fired 15 aces and saved all 4 break points to keep his games unharmed, and after winning the opening set in the tie break it was much easier for him to control the result. Mathieu faded from the court in set number 2, losing his serve twice in a row to fall 5-0 down, and Jurgen closed the match soon after that.
33-year-old Michal Przysiezny had been known as the player who likes to compete on fast courts with low bounce, he is currently ranked 402nd but he used his wild card in the best possible manner, advancing to his first Challenger finals since Kyoto two years ago, and 13th overall. In a very fast match, Michal defeated the 4th seed Quentin Halys by 7-6 7-5 in just 78 minutes.
There was a lot of free points from serve (39 aces combined) and we saw only 3 breaks of serve and deuces in 2 games. In the end, it was Michal who blasted 26 aces and got broken just once to find himself on the winning side, using his experience to prevail in the closing stages of both sets.
It seemed that return will have an impact, as they broke each other in games 3 and 4, but after that they held serve in 19 consecutive games, using the fast court in best possible way. Przysiezny grabbed the opening set tie break by 7-3, which gave him the breathing space in set number,2 while Halys was the one who couldn't afford any more error.
Nevertheless, he fell short just before the second set tie break, Michal broke him in game 12 to take the set by 7-5 and book his place in the final. Semi-final results: Jurgen Melzer (AUT) vs Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 7-6(4) 6-1 [1:16]
[WC]Michal Przysiezny (POL) vs Quentin Halys (FRA) 7-6(3) 7-5 [1:18]
Yokohama, Japan, $50,000+H (Outdoor Hard) : Soon Woo Kwon, born in 1997, is one of the leading young players from South Korea together with Hyeon Chung and Duck Hee Lee, and he made his biggest result in a career so far by reaching his first Challenger final.
Kwon needed 80 minutes to dismiss the home player Tatsuma Ito, keeping his second serve better and creating more break chances than Japanese. It was a shaky start for both players, as they failed to hold serve in the opening 5 games, with Kwon leading 3-2.
That one break advantage was enough for him to clinch the set by 6-4, and it was much easier for the teenager in the rest of the match. He lost just 7 points in 5 service games of the second set, never facing a break point, and he sealed Ito's faith with a break at love in game 7, moving 4-3 ahead and finishing the job with another two commanding holds.
Semi-final results: Yuichi Sugita (JPN) vs [Q]Blake Mott (AUS) 4-6 7-6(6) 6-2 [2:19]
[Q]Soon Woo Kwon (KOR) vs Tatsuma Ito (JPN) 6-4 6-4 [1:20] ALSO READ: ATP ANALYSIS: Murray saves 7 MP's in epic 20-18 tie break against Kohlschreiber in Dubai