NOTTINGHAM, June 23, 2016
Six of the top eight seeds featured the matches in the stage of the final eight at the Aegon Open Nottingham on Thursday. Gilles Muller, who appeared in his third grass court quarterfinal in as many weeks, edged past fourth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, winning 6-3, 6-4. The tournament’s number eight from Luxembourg fired 14 aces, winning 91% of his first service points to advance in one hour and 10 minutes.
“This has been my best performance of the week so far. I got broken at the start of the second set when I played a really bad game. But the rest of the match I was pretty solid,” Muller was pleased afterwards, although he didn’t have the best night before the match.
“Yesterday, I got back to the hotel pretty late and I also had a doping control last night. I couldn’t pee right away, so I had to drink a lot of water and then I had to wake up all night going to the bathroom,” he told with a smile. “So I didn’t have the best night and I am just happy to be through. I am looking forward to the afternoon, where I can relax a little bit.”
Muller captured an ATP Challenger title in Nottingham five years ago and now advanced to the semi-finals.
“It’s a nice place and a great city with a lot of good restaurants. I am enjoying my time here. I played two good matches at the beginning but also thought that there is room for improvement. I always try to play the perfect match, which is tough to do. Even today I think that there are some things, which I can do better. Nonetheless, the most important thing is to get the wins and that’s what I did,” Muller said, having a good chance to eventually secure his first title on the ATP World Tour.
“First of all, the focus is on tomorrow’s semi-final against another great player. Pablo maybe doesn’t like the grass too much, but still, he is doing very well, coming back from a big injury. It’s going to be a tough match and it would be a huge mistake to think ahead of it,” Muller told.
He will next take on second seed Pablo Cuevas. The 30-year-old from Uruguay, who is the only player left in the draw to win a title this season but had only earned two match wins on grass in his entire career before this week. He battled past Marcos Baghdatis, saving one match point to seal victory in two hours and 28 minutes. Cuevas won 6-4, 4-6, 6-7, trailing 4-0 in the tie-break of the third set but swept six straight points to clinch the win on his fifth match point.
“I am so happy to win this amazing match. I hope to continue playing this level of tennis in tomorrow’s match,” Cuevas told after reaching the stage of the final four for the first time at an grass court event.
Andreas Seppi beat Dudi Sela 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Seppi lost his service only once and broke his opponent two times to gain his third victory over the Israeli in the pair’s fourth tour meeting. The encounter lasted two hours and two minutes.
Seppi still awaits his opponent for the semi-final, as the last match of the day between top-seed Kevin Anderson and Steve Johnson was suspended due to bad light at 8:45 pm local time with the South African leading 6-7, 7-5, 4-3. The US-American was not happy with the organizers’s scheduling, as matches do not start before midday and complained about it to ATP supervisor Tom Barnes before leaving the court. Play between the two will resume on Friday at noon.