Marcel Granollers and Michael Mmoh to play for the title in Tiburon


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Marcel Granollers and Michael Mmoh to play for the title in Tiburon

* Orleans, France, €127,000+H (Indoor Hard) : After reaching the semi-final three weeks ago in Istanbul, the 22-year-old Antoine Hoang is through to his first Challenger final thanks to a 6-2 7-6 win over Luca Vanni in an hour and 25 minutes. Hoang served at 76% and he lost 19 points in 10 service games to save two out of three break points and keep the pressure on his rival.

Vanni lost 44% of the points in his games and he got broken three times from six chances he gave to the opponent, standing two points from winning the second set but falling short in the decisive moments. Antoine found his range early on and he lost just four points on serve in the opening set, waiting patiently for a chance on the return.

He broke the Italian in games one and five for a 6-2 and Luca had to find much better tennis in the rest of the match if he wanted to stay in contention for the place in the final. Hoang had to work harder in set number two to stay on the positive side of the scoreboard, saving two break points in the sixth game and breaking Vanni at 15 in game 11 to move 6-5 ahead and serve for the win in the following game.

Out of sudden, Luca broke back to set up a tie break and they traded four mini-breaks to stay locked up at 5-5. Hoang won the next point on serve for a match point and he converted it with the third mini-break for his biggest success in a career so far.

Following his third round run at Rome Masters, Aljaz Bedene has won just three ATP matches in the following eight tournaments, deciding to step down to Challenger Tour in order to gain form and points. The Slovenian will compete in his 17th final at this level after a 6-1 7-6 win over Kenny De Schepper in an hour and 25 minutes. Aljaz served at only 53% but no one could notice that on the court as he lost just 14 points in 10 service games, fending off all three break points he faced to keep the pressure on De Schepper all the time.

Kenny fought well after the opening set but he wasted a set point in the last game of set number two and fell in a close tie break to end his journey in the semis. Aljaz made the best possible start, breaking in games two and six and saving two break points while serving for the set in the next game to grab the opener 6-1.

The second set was more competitive and De Schepper saved a break point in game three to play on the same level with his rival in the rest of the set, creating a set point on the return at 6-5. Bedene saved it and he opened a 5-2 gap in the tie break, winning it 8-6 in the end for the place in the title match.

* Tiburon, USA, $100,000 (Outdoor Hard) : The 32-year-old Spaniard Marcel Granollers is through to his 16th Challenger final in a career and the third of the season, defeating the 6th seed Noah Rubin 6-2 6-2 in an hour and 13 minutes. Marcel saved four out of five break points and he had the advantage from the baseline to leave Rubin far behind, winning 55% of the return points and scoring five breaks of serve from seven chances.

The American struggled to find his shots at the beginning of the match, losing serve three times in a row to drop the opener 6-2 and wasting three break points at the start of the second set to miss a chance for a better result.

Granollers broke him in games three and five and he sealed the deal with two commanding holds to advance into the title match. The 20-year-old Michael Mmoh is on a verge of entering the Top 100 after reaching the second Challenger final in a row and the fifth overall thanks to a 6-3 3-6 6-3 win over James Duckworth in two hours and two minutes. The American landed 70% of the first serve in and he drew the most from that, saving two out of five break points and creating a lot of chances on the return.

Duckworth struggled to find the first serve in the entire match and he couldn't do much with only 38% of the first serve in, hitting just three aces and facing no less than 16 break points. He managed to save 11 of those and even win one set but it wasn't enough to reach the final, getting broken three times in the deciding set to send Michael into the title match.

The opening set was fast and fluid and Mmoh wrapped it up in less than 30 minutes, breaking James in games five and nine to secure the opener 6-3. James bounced back in set number two, earning breaks in games five and nine and surviving a marathon sixth game that saw seven break points and 12 deuces! They traded breaks at the start of the final set but that was all we saw from the Aussie, allowing the American to win five of the last six games to sail through and enter the final. Semi-final results:

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