Auger-Aliassime, Tsitsipas, Robredo and Zopp all reach the final

by   |  VIEW 1023
Auger-Aliassime, Tsitsipas, Robredo and Zopp all reach the final

* Genova, Italy, €127,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : 

19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to his third Challenger final (he played the first two last year in October), spending just 40 minutes on the court against the 8th seed Marton Fucsovics who had to retire after trailing 6-0 1-0. Fuscovics played a long match against his compatriot Attila Balazs in the previous round and he had nothing left in the tank for this one, winning just 3 points on serve and failing to capture at least a game. Interestingly, Stefanos faced 4 break points but he saved them all to keep his serve intact, and he booked his place in the final much easier than he was hoping for. 

Experienced Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will compete in his 9th Challenger final and the third of the season after a 6-2 6-7 6-3 triumph over Stefano Napolitano in just under 3 hours. Garcia-Lopez kept his second serve better but he had to play against 14 break points, fending off 11 of those to limit the damage in his games. On the other hand, Italian dropped serve 6 times from 9 opportunities he gave to his rival to end on the losing side. Spaniard was rock solid in the opening set, serving well and breaking his rival in games 3 and 5 for a 6-2. 

Napolitano raised his level in the second set, creating 6 break points in game 4 and finally breaking his rival next time around to open up a 4-2 advantage. Garcia-Lopez pulled it back immediately and they both kept their games safe until the tie break, which Stefano won by 7-5 to send the match into a decider. There, he missed 4 break points in the opening game before they traded breaks in games 3 and 4. Same happened in games 6 and 7 before Guillermo broke at love in game 8 to create a 5-3 gap. He brought the win home with a good hold in the 9th game to join Tsitsipas in the title match. 

* Seville, Spain, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : 

Super talented Felix Auger-Aliassime will fight for his second Challenger crown in Seville, ousting the 5th seed Filip Krajinovic 3-6 7-6 6-3 in just 2 hours and 8 minutes. It was a quick and fluid match, with deuces in only 4 games, and almost nothing could separate the rivals on the courts, with Felix winning 3 points more than Serb overall. Young Canadian served at 72% and he fired 14 aces, while Krajinovic defended his second serve better to remain in contention, saving 4 out of 5 break points. Auger-Aliassime got broken twice from 6 chances he gave to Krajinovic but he scored the crucial break in the final return game to bring the match home. It was a strong start from the older and better-ranked player, who lost just 4 points on serve in the first set, breaking Felix in games 1 and 9 for a 6-3. 

Canadian figured how to be more effective on his second serve in the second set, facing no break points, and he had 4 break chances in the closing stages of the set to grab it before the tie break. Filip saved them all to reach the breaker, and he was 3-1 up, with good chances to clinch the match in straight sets. Instead of that, Auger-Aliassime won 6 out of the next 7 games to take the tie break by 7-4 and prolong the match. The final set lasted just over 30 minutes and there were 8 easy holds on both sides, with just one break of serve that determined the winner. Felix was more powerful in the crucial moments, winning 12 out of the last 15 points to seal the deal and reach the final. 

Inigo Cervantes was a regular Top 100 player in the last season but he lost his form completely in 2017, struggling to win matches and leaving the Top 200. Now, he earned the place in a much-needed final, his first since Braunschweig in July 2016, following a solid 6-2 6-2 triumph against young Frenchman Corentin Moutet in an hour and 17 minutes. It was a great performance from Cervantes, who dropped just 10 points on serve, facing no break points, and he was equally good on the return, winning 48% of the points on Moutet's serve and breaking him 4 times from 8 chances. The first break came in the opening game of the match and Spaniard cemented his lead with another one in game 5, jumping 4-1 in front and closing the set on own serve in game 8. An 18-year-old stayed in touch in the first part of the second set but he lost the last 5 games of the match to end on the losing side. 

Semi-final results: 


ALSO READ: Cecchinato and Sousa reach final in Como. Jarry beats Estrella Burgos