De Minaur, Hurkacz, Munar and Djere lead the youngsters charge

Tennis - Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Cid Subervi will play for the title in Shymkent

by Jovica Ilic
De Minaur, Hurkacz, Munar and Djere lead the youngsters charge

* Prostejov, Czech Republic, €127,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : The 23-year-old Serb Laslo Djere has advanced to his 10th Challenger final of the season and the second of the season after a hard-fought 7-6 3-6 7-6 triumph over the top seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The Spaniard won three points more than the youngster but it wasn't enough in the end, losing both tie breaks to finish his run in the semis despite the fact he scored two breaks of serve more than Djere.

Laslo defended his second serve in a more efficient way but he just emerged as a winner in the closing stages of the deciding tie break, even though he had a chance to close the match on serve in the previous game when he had a 6-5 lead.

The opening set lasted more than an hour and there were 10 break points in total, with players trading breaks in games one and two and again at 5-5 to reach the tie break (Laslo served for it at 6-5 but he got broken). Nothing could separate them and it was Djere who fought off two set points at 6-7 and 7-8, winning the last three points for a 10-8.

Garcia-Lopez bounced back in set number two, scoring three breaks of serve for a 6-3, closing the set with a break at love in game nine to set up a decider. There, both players served well until 5-5, with no break points and only one deuce, and Laso earned a break in game 11 to get a chance of serving for the match.

Facing an exit door, Guillermo broke back at love to send the match to the distance but he couldn't climb back from 5-2 down, as Laslo converted his first match point for the place in the final. The 21-year-old Jaume Munar who had a great run at Roland Garros last week will compete in his third Challenger final and the first since Rio de Janeiro last November following a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win over Gerald Melzer in an hour and 39 minutes. Munar served at 74% and despite losing serve four times he compensated that with a rock solid display on the return, creating 15 break chances and scoring six breaks to overpower the Austrian in sets two and three.

Gerald opened the match with three straight breaks for a 5-1 lead after saving four break points in game six and he closed the set with a hold at 5-4 after Jaume managed to pull one break back. From 2-1 down in the second set, Munar raised his level to score two breaks and close the set 6-3, building the momentum before the final set.

He was rock solid on serve in set number three and Melzer couldn't follow that pace, getting broken in the opening two service games and the Spaniard sailed through the rest of the match to book the place in the final. * Surbiton, Great Britain, €127,000 (Outdoor Grass) : The top seed Jeremy Chardy is through to his 10th Challenger final and the first since Aix en Provence more than a year ago thanks to a 6-4 7-6 triumph over Daniel Evans in an hour and 26 minutes. The Frenchman served at 77% and he fired 11 aces to save all three break points he faced, keeping the pressure on Evans and doing enough to seal the deal in straight sets.

It was a solid performance from Daniel as well, having to play against two break points and suffering only one break of serve. The first set was decided in the middle games, Chardy broke in game five and saved all three break points in the game that followed to gain the crucial lead and clinch the set with a hold at 15 in game 10.

It was a super fast second set with no more than two points for any of the returners before the tie break. There, Chardy got three mini-breaks and he grabbed the breaker 7-3 to advance into the title match. The 6th seed Alex de Minaur will break into the Top 100 after this tournament and he will play for the first Challenger crown in his fourth final following a 6-4 6-4 victory against the fellow Aussie Matthew Ebden in an hour and 29 minutes. A teenager served at 74% and he defended his second serve nicely, saving all five break points he faced to keep the pressure on Ebden.

Matthew struggled more in his service games, especially in the opening set, and Alex found the way to break him once in each set to cross the finish line first. De Minaur saved a break point in game two and he scored a break a few minutes later, opening a 3-1 lead after fending off another break point in game four.

Matthew had to dig deep to stay in touch, saving no less than five break points in game five to get the momentum, creating three break points in the rest of the set. Unfortunately for him, Alex saved them all to take the opener 6-4 that gave him the advantage before the rest of the match.

He served well in the rest of the set and Matthew got broken at 2-2 after wasting four game points, a mistake that eventually cost him the match as de Minaur sealed the deal with a hold at love in game 10 that punched the final ticket for him.

* Poznan, Poland, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : The top seed Taro Daniel has earned the place in the 14th Challenger final and the first since Canberra in November, ousting the 6th seed Quentin Halys 7-6 6-3 in an hour and 39 minutes. The Japanese played better on his second serve and he saved three out of five break points, stealing Quentin's serve thrice on the other hand to book the place in the final.

After five good holds on both sides Halys grabbed the first break for a 4-2 but his advantage was a short-lived one, losing serve at love in game seven. Taro had to fend off two break points in the following game and also a set point on serve at 4-5 to stay in the set before the tie break.

Halys was in a good position to bring the set home, earning two more set points at 6-4 but Daniel was not to be denied, taking the last four points to steal the breaker 8-6. The Frenchman moved in front at the start of the second set but he faded from the court after that, losing the next five games to find himself 5-2 down.

Quentin saved a match point on serve in game eight but Daniel secured the win on his fifth match point in game nine to advance into the final. A home star Hubert Hurkacz arrived in Poznan after a very good performance at Roland Garros and he will have a chance to play for his maiden Challenger title in his third final, beating Alessandro Giannessi 6-4 3-6 6-3 in an hour and 56 minutes. It was a close battle right from start and Hubert won just three points more than Alessandro, with eight break chances on each side.

There were only three breaks in total and Hubert scored two to emerge as a winner, defending his serve nicely in the final set for the final spot. A tall Pole drew first blood in game three and that was enough for a 6-4, facing no break points in the entire set.

Giannessi broke in the second game of set number two and he could close the set with another break in game eight, as Hubert faced two break points. He saved them both and had a chance to pull the break back, creating four break chances before the Italian finally completed the set after repelling them all.

The youngster had to dig deep in the third game of the final set, saving three break points to avoid the setback, and he made a crucial move in game six when he scored the desired break that sent him 4-2 ahead. Alessandro had one more chance to prolong the match but he wasted a break point in game seven, finishing on the losing side when Hubert held in game nine for an important win. Semi-final results:


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Minaur Yannick Hanfmann Roberto Cid Subervi