APTOS, August 11, 2019
Dominik Köpfer and Steve Johnson will go head-to-head in Sunday’s singles final of the Nordic Naturals Challenger presented by Santa Cruz County Bank in Aptos. Köpfer, No. 4 seed at the $81,240 ATP Challenger hard-court event won the first singles match on Saturday against US-American Ernesto Escobedo in two sets 6-4, 6-3.
The World No. 122 converted five of his 10 break point chances to secure victory in one hour and 25 minutes.
“I thought I started pretty good today. I played pretty solid. I saved a couple of break points in the first game. I found my rhythm, played decent, I thought, competed hard, and found a way today,” said Köpfer, who has never played the tournament in Aptos before. The 25-year-old came to get more matches in before the US Open. Born in Germany, he’s been training in Tampa for two and a half years after living four years in New Orleans where he received his degree in college.
Johnson remains untroubled
The second match of the day took two sets as well. No. 2 seed Steve Johnson put Egor Gerasimov of Belarus away 6-2, 6-1 in roughly 55 minutes.
“I think he was pressed a little bit, trying to do too much. I tried to get him into uncomfortable positions in the middle of the court and maybe exploit his lack of willingness to come forward,” Johnson said.
When asked about playing in a Challenger in Aptos, he stated, ”I’ve won here, I’ve been successful here; everyone here has treated me incredibly well over the years. I played this in 2010, 11, and 12 or 11, 12, and 13, something like that. It’s California so it’s kind of close to home. I’ve had a lot of luck here so I’d like to get one more here tomorrow. Anytime you enter a tournament, and you come out a winner, that’s the goal.”
Johnson and Köpfer will meet for the first time. The 29-year-old US-American is seeking his fifth ATP Challenger title, adding to his four ATP Tour level crowns. Köpfer could clinch his second Challenger trophy following his maiden triumph in Ilkley, Great Britain on grass. For tickets, please click here.
RESULTS – AUGUST 10, 2019
Singles – Semifinals
 S. Johnson (USA) d  E. Gerasimov (BLR) 62 61
 D. Koepfer (GER) d E. Escobedo (USA) 64 63
Doubles – Semifinals
 M. Arevalo (ESA) / M. Reyes-Varela (MEX) d N. Lammons (USA) / A. Lawson (USA) 57 63 10-8
[Alt] N. Pasha (USA) / M. Schnur (USA) d [ITF] E. Hoyt (GBR) / B. Saraiva (POR) 63 64