Lukas Rosol, Carlos Berlocq and Reilly Opelka reach semis


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Lukas Rosol, Carlos Berlocq and Reilly Opelka reach semis

* Bratislava, Slovakia, €106,000+H (Indoor Hard) : A former Top 30 player Lukas Rosol is giving his best to improve his ranking after injuries that almost pushed him out from the Top 300, entering the fourth Challenger semi-final of the season after a 6-7 6-3 6-4 win over Egor Gerasimov in an hour and 42 minutes. We saw almost 40 aces between two great indoor players and Lukas saved all three break points he faced to keep the pressure on his rival, especially after losing the opening set.

Gerasimov had to play against six break points and he saved four of those, getting broken once in sets two and three to end his run in the quarter-final. Egor saved three break points in the opener and he raced into a 5-1 lead in the tie break before claiming it 7-5.

Rosol took charge in set number two, losing four points in five service games and breaking his rival in game eight despite three game points that Gerasimov failed to convert. The Czech moved 5-3 up in the deciding set with a break in game seven and he had a match point on the return in the ninth game that Egor fends off to prolong the match and his chances.

It could have been even more interesting if the Belarusian found the way to convert any of two break points he had, allowing Lukas to bring the game home and move into the semi-final. Talented youngster Alexander Bublik has lost the ground completely in the last 13 months or so, dropping out from the Top 100 and having to qualify for the main draw here in Bratislava.

He did that and we will watch him in the semi-final after a 6-3 7-6 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky in an hour and 18 minutes for his third semi-final of the season. It was a very tight match with just two break points, one on each side, and Bulbik prevailed in the most important points after breaking in game four of the opening set and winning the second set tie break 7-5 to secure his place in the last four.

* Mouilleron le Captif, France, €85,000+H (Indoor Hard) : Yannick Maden has scored five ATP wins in 2018 and he will try to finish the year on a high note after a 6-3 6-3 win over the fellow German Mats Moraing in an hour and 12 minutes for his first good results after three straight first round losses. Maden defended the second serve in a more efficient way, saving four out of five break points and keeping the pressure on his rival who struggled more in his games to face seven break points and get broken four times.

Moraing broke in the very first game of the match to open a 3-1 lead before Maden won the next five games to close the set 6-3 after breaks in games six and eight. Both players had their chances in the closing stages of the second set and it was Yannick who saved all four break points to wait for a chance in Mats' games, breaking him in games seven and nine to wrap up the triumph and advance into the last four.

* Montevideo, Uruguay, $75,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : The Spaniard Mario Vilella Martinez will play in only his second Challenger semi-final of the season after a commanding 6-3 6-4 triumph over Martin Cuevas in an hour and 12 minutes. Serving at 70%, Vilella Martinez suffered two breaks but he easily erased that deficit in the return games where he won almost 50% of the points to earn four breaks from seven opportunities.

Mario scored an early break to open a 4-1 lead in the first set but Cuevas broke back to reduce the deficit to 4-3 before suffering another break in game eight to fall 5-3 behind. The Spaniard fends off break points in the ninth game while serving for the set to take it 6-3, winning the first four games of the second set as well to forge a big lead.

Cuevas pulled one break back but that wasn't enough for a complete comeback, with Vilella Martinez holding at love in game 10 to advance into the last four. Quarter-final results:

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