Kovalik edges Bellucci in a marathon. Hurkacz, Bolt and Robredo reach SF

Tennis - Malek Jaziri and Jason Kubler suffered tough losses in less than an hour

by Jovica Ilic
Kovalik edges Bellucci in a marathon. Hurkacz, Bolt and Robredo reach SF

* Zhuhai, China, $75,000 (Outdoor Hard) : 28-year-old Jason Jung has been in a fine form in 2018 and he is closing on his career-best ranking after reaching the third Challenger semi-final of the season following a 6-2 3-6 6-3 win over Mats Moraing in an hour and 46 minutes. Jung saved four out of five break points and he played well on the return (Moraing had 10 double faults), scoring three breaks from 12 chances he created.

He won the opener with two breaks of serve in the first and seventh games and saved all three break points in game four to keep his serve intact. The German played better in the important points in set number two, saving all three break points he faced and stealing rival's serve in game six for a 4-2 lead.

Mats closed the set with a hold at 15 in game nine but he couldn't keep this drive in the decider, facing six break points and losing serve in game eight to send Jung 5-3 in front. Jason sealed the deal with a hold in game nine to book the place in the semis, adding more points to his tally and moving closer to the place in the Top 150.

Hubert Hurkacz, a tall Pole ranked just outside the Top 200 also advanced to the last four with a dominant 6-3 6-0 triumph over Soon Woo Kwon in just 51 minutes. Hurkacz was untouchable on serve throughout the match, dropping just five points in eight service games and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.

Kwon was unable to deal with it, losing 53% of the points in his games and suffering four breaks of serve from nine break points he had to play against. The first set was fast and fluid and Hubert grabbed it with a break in game four, serving well in the rest of the set and clinching it with a hold at love in game nine.

Kwon lost his ground completely in the second set and he was incapable of holding his serve, allowing Hurkacz to break him three times and finish the match in style on own serve in game six. * Santiago, Chile, $50,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Jozef Kovalik and Thomaz Bellucci were involved in one of the longest matches on the Challenger Tour so far in 2018 and the Slovak prevailed 6-7 7-6 6-3 in 3 hours and 21 minutes. Aas was expected in such a long match on clay, there were 25 break points up for grabs and Jozef fends off 10 out of 13 to reduce the damage in his games.

Thomaz had to surrender his serve five times and he lost the last four games of the match to end on the losing side. Nothing could separate the rivals in the opening two sets and they needed two and a half hours to split the opening two sets in the tie breaks, and Kovalik had more strength in the closing stages of the match to move into the semis.

They traded breaks in the third and fourth games of the match and Thomaz saved two more break points to reach the tie break which he won 8-6 to gain the lead. No one could achieve a bigger lead in set number two, with back-to-back breaks in games three and four and again in seventh and eight to stay neck and neck.

Bellucci fends off three set points on serve in game 10 but this time he didn't have the edge in the breaker, losing it 7-4 to move the match into a decider. Jozef was the better player in the final set, dropping just eight points in four service games and breaking Thomaz in games seven and nine to cross the finish line and survive this grueling test. Quarter-final results:


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Malek Jaziri Jason Kubler