WINSTON-SALEM, August 26, 2016
After five years in which an US-American reached the Winston-Salem Open semi-finals, no players from the United States advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in tournament history. Six of the eight men remaining on Thursday were seeds.
John Millman was first up on Centre Court, knocking out the tournament’s number one Richard Gastquet 7-5, 6-3. The 27-year-old Australian sent down eight aces and broke the Frenchman’s serve five times to move into his maiden semi-final on the ATP World Tour after one hour and 32 minutes.
“No matter what level, every tournament I go in to compete, to do my best and to win,” said Millman, who is making his tournament debut. “To be honest, at the start of the week I was a bit busted physically because of the long weeks at the Olympics and in Cincinnati. But now I’m moving great and I’m hitting the ball really well. It’s a treat to be here. The conditions are great and suit my game well.
“Gasquet is a top player. Playing and beating him is very satisfying. Every week that I’m playing an ATP World Tour event, I gain more confidence that I can compete at this level, and I’m proud of that,” the 27-year-old said, who scored his first ever win over a top 15 player. “Everyone remaining in the tournament is an accomplished player. Every win is a bonus for me right now.”
Millman will next play Pablo Carreno-Busta. The 16th seeed from Spain downed Alex Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-3. Carreno-Busta saved all seven break points he faced, converting two of his own to advance in one hour and 25 minutes. Millman defeated Carreno Busta in the first round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami earlier this year. It was the pair’s lone previous tour meeting.
Carreno-Busta will be joined in the semis by fellow Spaniard Roberto Baustista-Agut. The tournament’s number two defeated Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2. Bautista-Agut didn’t save a break point and broke his opponent’s serve three times in the 61 minutes win.
He will next play Viktor Troicki. The ninth favourite fought past Fernando Verdasco, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. The 30-year-old from Serbia won 85 per cent of first service points and twice recovered from a break down in the deciding set before breaking to seal victory on his second match point after one hour and 58 minutes.
“For the first set and a half I think I had the match under control. I think I played pretty good then my serve disappeared for a while. He raised his game, my game when down a little. The start of the third set, I think, was good tennis,” Troicki told and added:
“From the middle of the third set it was very weird. I don’t know what was going on. When I served he just returned everything at full power and then on his serve he lost it a bit. He gave me a lot of presents. I’ll take it, I’m happy to be in the semis.” It marks Troicki’s third semi-final of the season and his first since losing the final in Sofia to Bautista Agut in February.