MUNICH, April 29, 2016
Players in shorts returned to Munich’s sunny centre court on quarterfinals Friday at the BMW Open by FWU AG. Five seeds were in action and enjoyed with temperatures up to 20 C almost tropical weather compared to the last five days.
Stands were fully packed at the MTTC Iphitos when Germany’s Next Generation star Alexander Zverev knocked out the tournament’s top-seed David Goffin 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. The 19-year-old, who surpassed his match wins total of last year by winning his 15th encounter on Thursday, fired 10 aces and converted six of his 18 break point opportunities to seal victory in two hours and 22 minutes. Zverev advances to his fourth semi-final on the ATP World Tour, following Hamburg 2014, Bastad 2015 and Montpellier earlier this season.
“I played well and handled the speed in his shots pretty well. He tried to take the balls pretty early but I did a good job,” Zverev told after posting his fourth top 20 win of the season. “It was a high quality match, very intense and tough but I think I will be fit for tomorrow.”
Zverev will take on Dominic Thiem. The third seed from Austria, who appeared in Munich’s stage of the final eight for the second consecutive year, beat Ivan Dodig 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the pair’s first main draw meeting. Thiem fired eight aces, winning 77% of his first service points to prevail in two hours and 12 minutes.
“I know Dominic very well. We are good friends. He has played a great season so far and it will be an interesting match. I need to be prepared as good as possible. Mischa beat him in Stuttgart last year, maybe he has some valuable tips for me,” Zverev told about his brother and added that he still loses against him all the time during practice. “That sucks,” he added in a whisper.
Zverev is part of ATP’s Next Generation campaign, which puts a focus on the tour’s young guns.
“We are a group of young players, who climb up the rankings pretty quickly. There are a lot of discussions going on, who is going to win this and that or break into the top 10. Yet, all of us are still far from these ranking areas. We still need to work hard,” the teenager explains.
“Nonetheless, it is nice that people talk about the generation after Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. ATP started the campaign and of course it is nice to get that kind of attention at our age.”
Germany’s current number one Philipp Kohlschreiber celebrated his first victory over Juan Martin Del Potro, winning 6-4, 6-1.
The world number 27, who claimed the Munich title two times, saved all two break points he faced and converted four of his own to advance after one hour and 20 minutes.
“I played well but there were also a couple of close games today, where I hit the line one or two times. The match could have gone even tighter in the end,” Kohlschreiber said and was very happy to reach his third semi-final of the season.
“It feels great to get back to the semis at my home tournament,” Kohlschreiber told afterwards. “You need to confirm your performance every year. This is my most successful tournament on the tour and I always want to extend this record.”
Kohlschreiber will face the tournament’s number five Fabio Fognini, who battled past Slovakian lucky loser Jozef Kovalik 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. After a great start from the Italian, landing 80% of his first services in the opening set, Kovalik broke serve twice to push the match into a decider. Fognini gained the decisive break in the 12th game to finish the encounter in-style with a fantastic backhand winner after one hour and 58 minutes.
“If he is fit, Fognini is one of the most attractive players on clay. He defeated Nadal three times last year. You need to stay calm and then capitalize on your chances,” Kohlschreiber told about his match plan.
Maybe he follows an usual tip he received from some kids. “If you play badly, Fognini will start to act a bit halfhearted on court. So try not to play that well,” he cited the advice.
The outcome we will see on Saturday.