CHENGDU, September 27, 2019 (Press Release)
Canadian rising star Denis Shapovalov ensured a seeded player made the last four at the Chengdu Open as he defeated Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes to make his third semifinal of the season.
The 20-year-old world No.34 only dropped one game during his match against last week’s St. Petersburg semifinalist Gerasimov to go 3-1 down in the second set, but did not face a single break point in the first and third sets.
The confident ATP NextGen contender ended the match with flair as he hit three aces on the trot in the final game and punctuated the winning point with a stylish jumping backhand smash.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) September 27, 2019
“I feel like I’m good form now. Egor is a very good up and coming player so it was difficult. It’s tough to read his serve and he’s pretty flashy also. I’m really happy to get the win and be in another semis. I feel like the courts are pretty fast which is ideal for me. I got a pretty big serve, I like to play quick so it suits me well. I’ve enjoyed my time here in Chengdu a lot so far,” said Shapovalov.
Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik put on a stellar showcase in big serving tennis as he overturned a one set deficit to notch a dramatic 5-7, 7-6(9), 7-6(3) victory in two hours and 31 minutes and deny Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov his 300th career win.
The six-foot-six 22-year-old racked up 35 aces during the match and saved two match points in an intense second set tiebreak that also saw him squander two set points before clinching the third against the singles fourth seed.
Set to appear in his second career semifinal tomorrow, the in-form Bublik is having his best season on tour this year, having reached his first career final at Newport in July and the third round of the US Open for the first time to reach a career high ranking of No.69 earlier this month.
“It’s great, it’s been a highlight year for me. Started here by beating Taylor Fritz and now going to the semifinal after beating Grigor. It’s a great achievement for me, so yeah, I’m happy. The tiebreaks were tough, especially the first one in the second match. But I just tried to play to my game and serve my best,” said Bublik.
South African lucky loser Lloyd Harris ended Joao Sousa’s hopes of making the Chengdu Open semifinal for the second year running as he battled from a set down to defeat the Portuguese 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and three minutes.
The world No.111, who lost to Bradley Klahn in the second round of qualifying but came back into the draw courtesy of Kamil Majchrzak’s withdrawal, appeared unfazed to be playing his first career quarterfinal as he racked up 27 aces and saved all three break points he faced against the No. 62 ranked Sousa.
“I feel unbelievable now (to be in my first semifinal). I had to come through a lot of tough matches – a tough loss too. But I think I’ve been playing extremely well since I’ve gotten back into the main draw. Three really tough opponents – three guys that’s been difficult in the past for me maybe. I’m just really finding my tennis, serving really well and starting to improve as the week goes on,” said the Cape Town native.
In what will be a battle between two 22-year-olds having their best season to date, Harris will meet Bublik for the first time on tour in tomorrow’s first semifinal on Centre Court.
“He’s a difficult one, you kind of never know what to expect with him. He’s an entertaining player, that’s for sure. He’s got a big serve too. I know it’s going to be a tough one, but a fun one nonetheless, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited,” said Harris.
In tonight’s final match slated for Centre Court, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, whose season has been disrupted with injury, displayed fine form in his 7-5, 6-2 victory over in-form Chilean ace Cristian Garin.
The former world No.10 only had his serve broken once in the second game of set two but broke his currently higher ranked opponent four times in nine opportunities.
“It was a very good match. I was very focused during the match. Maybe he started better than he finished but I played the whole match at 100% and tried to be aggressive. I feel very comfortable on court today. I was injured four to five months this year and it was tough for me to start playing my best tennis again but I think in the last month and half, I am getting back to my real level of tennis and I’m happy for this,” said the world No. 63.
The 28-year-old has a 1-1 record against his semifinal opponent Shapovalov, having beaten him two years ago at the US Open but losing to the Canadian on the clay courts of the Rome Masters this year.
“I played him in Rome this year and I lost. Probably not my best match, but tomorrow I will have the chance for revenge. I will try to do my best to continue enjoying to play in this tournament and to be in the final,” added the Gijon native.
In doubles quarterfinal matches, the American first time pairing of Taylor Fritz and Nicholas Monroe served up a shock 7-6(5), 6-2 win over second seeded Briton-American duo Dominic Inglot and Austin Krajicek, while Serbian tandem Nikola Cacic and Dusan Lajovic, also a maiden partnership, cruised past Chinese wild card pairing Gao Xin and Li Zhe 7-6(5), 6-3 to make the last four.
In the lone doubles semifinal contested today, the fourth seeded pair consisting of Israeli Jonathan Erlich and Frenchman Fabrice Martin made their first final as a duo with a hard-fought 6-2, 5-7, 10-8 super-tiebreaker victory over Croatian-Slovakian top seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek. Erlich will be playing his second Chengdu Open final in three years, having picked up the title with Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in 2017.
The remaining doubles semifinal between Fritz-Monroe and Cacic-Lajovic will be contested in tomorrow’s third match scheduled for on Centre Court.