ATP Chengdu: Istomin edges Donaldson. Pella and Sugita reach SF as well

Tennis - Marcos Baghdatis was just 3 points away from beating Yen-Hsun Lu but they will have to complete the match tomorrow

by Jovica Ilic
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ATP Chengdu: Istomin edges Donaldson. Pella and Sugita reach SF as well

Pumped after his 2 Davis Cup wins last weekend, Yuichi Sugita advanced to his second ATP semi-final following a one-sided 6-2 6-4 win over Dusan Lajovic in 63 minutes. Japanese lost 15 points in 9 service games, dropping his serve once, and he won 40% of the return points to steal Lajovic's serve 4 times from 6 chances, saving the energy for the semi-final round.

Sugita started strong in his service games and Dusan failed to follow that tempo, getting broken already in the second game of the match after a good charge from Sugita. Yuichi sailed through his service games, making a lot of damage with wide serves from both deuce and ad court, and he clinched the set with another break in game 8 when Lajovic sent the forehand long.

Serb raised his level in the second set, he scored a much-needed break in game 3 thanks to a poor forehand from his opponent, and he saved a break point in game 6 with a forehand down the line winner to gain a 4-2 lead.

Sugita recovered in time and he broke back in game 8 after a questionable call, leveling the score at 4-4, but his job was still not done. He saved 2 break points in game 9 with a serve and backhand winners, and he made a crucial move in game 10 when he broke Dusan for the place in the last 4.

Denis Istomin and Jared Donaldson battled for 2 and a half hours and Uzbek came from behind to score a 2-6 7-5 7-6 triumph, reaching his first ATP semi-final since Nottingham 2015! Jared won the opening set in style but nothing could separate the rivals in the following 2 sets, staying neck and neck until the very last point. Young American won 2 points more than his opponent, he had to play against 7 break points and lost serve only once, but that wasn't enough to bring the match home.

Istomin digs deep despite problems on his second serve, fending off 12 out of 14 break points to keep himself in contention, and he notched a very important win in the end. Uzbek was in all kind of troubles in the first set, powerless on the return and with 9 break points he gave to his rival who broke him twice for a 6-2.

Donaldson earned his first break in game 5 after a poor drop shot from Istomin and another one in the 7th game for a 5-2 advantage. American grabbed the set with a good hold in game 8 and he looked good to deliver a comprehensive win.

Instead of that, Denis saved all 5 break points in the second set, waiting for a chance on the return patiently and seizing it in the final game of the set for a 7-5. Jared fends off 2 break points in the second game and he had 4 opportunities on the return in game 5, that could send him closer to the finish line.

Istomin saved all with brave attacks and he was rewarded in game 12 when he scored his first break of the match after a very good return. The last part of the match was the most fluid, and Istomin never faced a break point again, which must have been a big relief for him after a rough couple of sets he just played.

Jared saved 2 break points in the 8th game with an ace and a backhand winner, leveling the score at 4-4, and he had to play against a match point in game 10. He did that with another unreturnable serve, prolonging the match and sending it into a deciding tie break.

Trailing 5-4, Donaldson hit a double fault, in the worst possible moment, and Denis sealed the deal in the 12th point, starting a huge celebration of what has been his best results on the Tour in more than 2 years. Quarter-final results:

↓ SHOW RESULTS ↓

 

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Atp Chengdu Marcos Baghdatis Yen-hsun Lu
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