ATP Hamburg: Leonardo Mayer seeks title defense against Basilashvili


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ATP Hamburg: Leonardo Mayer seeks title defense against Basilashvili

The defending Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer will have a chance to defend his title following a tight 6-7 6-4 7-6 win over the qualifier Jozef Kovalik in two hours and 50 minutes, saving a match point at 5-6 in the third set tie break! Both players were on the top of their game, with just four break points in the entire match which is really nothing when we know they played for almost three hours.

In addition, the only break came in the second set and nothing could separate them from the start until the finish. This was the second ATP semi-final for Kovalik after Sofia in February and he missed a great opportunity to reach his maiden ATP final, currently occupying the 113th spot in the ranking.

Both players have found their rhythm right from the start, with only one deuce on Mayer's serve in game 11 and no break points what so ever. Kovalik fired a backhand down the line winner in game 12 to set up a decider and Mayer was the first who grabbed a mini-break in the third point after a poor forehand from the Slovak.

An ace in the ninth point moved the Argentinian 6-3 up and it seemed that the opener is firmly in his hands. Jozef won the next two points on serve and he leveled the score at 6-6 with a smash winner that gave him a huge boost.

Leonardo lost the next point on serve as well and Kovalik stole the set after another error fro his rival in the 14th point, rattling off the last five points of the set to move closer to the finish line after 59 minutes.

Jozef wasted a game point at the start of the second set and he got broken when his backhand landed long, suffering the only break of serve in the opening two sets. Mayer lost just five points in five service games and he clinched the set after a forehand error from the Slovak in game 10, setting up a decider where he was the favorite.

Jozef has recovered his game after that break in the second set and he was back on the level terms with Leonardo, serving well in the next eight games and creating two break points at 2-1 in the final set. Mayer fends them off with winners and he barely lost a point on serve in the remaining games before the tie break.

The Argentinian had his chance to close the match earlier but he wasted a break point in game nine and the match had to be decided in the tie break. They traded two-mini breaks to stay locked up at 5-5 when Kovalik earned a match point after a poor forehand from Mayer.

Leonardo won the next two points on the return to stay in contention and he converted his second match point at 8-7 with a volley winner to book his place in the fifth ATP final. Semi-final results:

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