COLUMBUS, September 24, 2016
Top seed Benjamin Becker had to fight hard on quarterfinals Friday at the $50,000 Columbus Challenger. The world number 97 from Germany overcame Mikelis Libietis, rallying 4-6, 6-1, 7-6.
Becker withstood 18 aces from the Latvian qualifier, hitting nine of his own and broke serve three times to prevail in two hours and 16 minutes. Becker will next face John-Patrick Smith from Australia. The 27-year-old battled past Sekou Bangoura 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 10 minutes.
Mikael Torpegaard continued his great run into the semi-finals at his home tournament. The 22-year-old from the Ohio State University is playing his first ATP Challenger main draw and defeated US-American Gonzales Austin in straight sets.
Austin won his way through the qualifying draw and then won a pair of matches to make the quarterfinal but Torpegaard took his steam away early by winning the opening set 6-2. The Buckeye then secured his place in the semis with a 7-5 victory in the second set. The encounter lasted 78 minutes.
Torpegaard will next take on Tenny Sandgren. The world number 263 from the United States edged past qualifier Roberto Quiroz from Ecuador, winning 6-0, 7-6. Sandgren sent down six aces and converted five of his nine break point chances to advance in one hour and 27 minutes.
Following a brief break, Torpegaard joined teammate Herkko Pollanen to take on Steven De Ward and Ben McLachlan in the quarterfinals of the doubles draw. Like his singles match, Torpegaard and Pollanen raced to a 6-2 win in the first set and then completed the sweep with a solid 6-4 win in the second.