ANTWERP, October 21, 2016
The semi-finals at the inaugural European Open are set with the tournament’s top seed making his way into the stage of the final four in Antwerp, as David Goffin rallied back from a set down to overcome Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
The home favourite had a slow start into the match but cruised through the last two sets, winning 71 per cent of his first service points.
Goffin, the last Belgian standing in the draw avenged the loss of fellow countryman Steve Darcis in the second round, converting five of his 18 break points to prevail in two hours and three minutes.
“I didn’t start well, couldn’t find my rhythm with my footwork, so it was not easy. I started to return better in the second set, found my footwork and was more solid,” Goffin told and is looking forward to Saturday.
“It’s nice to play in front of my home crowd. I hope for a good atmosphere tomorrow with more people. Having an ATP 250 event here in Belgium is great.”
Goffin will take on Diego Schwartzman. The 24-year-old Argentine emerged victorious from the South American match-up with fourth favourite Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay, winning 7-6, 6-3. Schwartzman converted four of his nine break point opportunities to advance in one hour and 43 minutes.
“It was a great match for me today. I played really well as he was two times a break up in the first set. Pablo is a big opponent for me, we have met many times on court and we also practiced ahead of the start of the tournament at the show court in front of our hotel. I am really happy to be in the semi-finals,” Schwartzman told after his second win over Cuevas in the pair’s third meeting.
Schwartzman lost to Goffin in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup tie against Belgium last year in Brussels. “It is not going to be a revenge tomorrow. I didn’t play well last year but he did. It was a very tough match for me, as I was really nervous but now I think it is going to be different at ATP level. I will try to beat him.”
Schwartzman will appear in the stage of the final four for the second time this season, after he had lifted his maiden trophy in Istanbul earlier this year.
“I played really well in Istanbul. It was a great tournament for me but this year I try to improve in order to play well every week and I think that I did it. I am trying to play my best tennis here. The first two matches were good and I played 100 per cent today.”
Gasquet To Face Edmund
First up on Centre Court was third seed Richard Gasquet against Jan-Lennard Struff, who posted a surprise upset of fifth seed Gilles Simon in the second round. Against France’s number four, however, the German only had little chances. Gasquet celebrated a 6-2, 6-4 victory, winning the opening set in a comfort way without facing a break point.
Struff broke serve in the sixth game of the second set, sending a backhand winner down the line but Gasquet gained the immediate re-break and even got the chance to serve for the match in the 10th game, which he did in style, firing his third ace after one hour and 15 minutes.
“It was a tough match for me, he is a good player. beat Simon and won a Challenger a few weeks ago. So I knew how dangerous he is,” Gasquet told Tennis TourTalk after the encounter. “I am very happy with the way I played today, especially in the second set when he broke me, leading 4-2. Then you never know what could happen after that. But after that, I was solid, served well and it is a great victory for me.”
The world number 19 is trying to finish in the top 20 of the Emirates ATP rankings for the fifth time in the last six years and enjoys the conditions at the latest stop on the ATP World Tour.
“It is is very good tournament and we are happy to be here. It’s my first time playing in Belgium and I hope to reach the final. I will try my best.
I went to the old town in Antwerp, which is very nice. There are many great things to see in the city but after the matches I was a bit tired and needed some rest.”
Gasquet will next take on Kyle Edmund. The British #NextGen star defeated Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-3, 6-4. Edmund sent down five aces, saved the only break point he faced and converted both of his own to secure victory in 68 minutes.
“Yesterday’s tough match helped me to come out ready today. I expected another tough match but I was happy with my level today. We both hit the ball pretty well and I was able to find the spots on the court well,” Edmund told Tennis TourTalk right after reaching his first semi-final on the ATP World Tour.
“It’s nice. My quarterfinals were at the start of the year in Doha. It has been a few quarters throughout the year now and now it is going to be my first semis. It is nice to see that your level is improving and this is also nice to see on paper with your rankings and draws. Last year I said that by the end of 2016 I would like to be top 50 and I was back 90 that time. I guess it is nice that I have achieved it but the thing with goals is that you set them but you have to keep going. I am happy with my tennis, I am playing well and it is about keeping up the momentum.”
The 21-year-old British youngster will have the chance to do so on Saturday against Gasquet, the player he beat for his biggest win of his career at this year’s US Open.
“The last match doesn’t matter, as you always have to expect a tough match against the top guys and it won’t be different tomorrow. For me it is another opportunity. This is my first year on the tour. I played two or three Challengers at the beginning of the season but now it has been a lot of tour events, so every match I get is really good for me to learn.”
Highlights Day 5: