Argentine tennis festival in Sarasota

Facundo Bagnis is one of three Argentines making it to the semi-finals

SARASOTA, April 18, 2015

Players from Argentina and two US-American youngsters headlined the action on quarterfinals Friday at the Sarasota Open. Only two seeded players have been left in the draw of the US-$ 100.000 ATP Challenger event.

The tournament’s second favourite Federico Delbonis, who capitalized on five of his eight break point opportunities ended a seven Challenger match win streak of 18-year-old Jared Donaldson. The world number 88 from Argentina reached his first semi-final of the season through a 6-2, 6-3 victory in one hour and 18 minutes.

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Sixth seed Facundo Bagnis only had some problem at the beginning of the second set but eventually cruised past James McGee winning 6-1, 6-3 in only 68 minutes.

“I think I wake up,” Bagnis said. “In the second set I started like, maybe, I was in a dream but I wake up and started playing really well.” The 25-year-old Argentina was 0-3 down but then won 12 points in a row to level the match and dominated it until the end. “I said, ‘Come on, wake up,’ ” Bagnis talked to himself during the changeovers. “I said that I could play like I did in the first set. I said, ‘Come on. This is your opportunity. No more bad games.’ Then I played so good.”

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With Renzo Olivo another Argentine advanced to the “final four”. The 23-year-old qualifier defeated Jason Kubler in their first tour meeting winning 6-4, 7-6 in one hour and 41 minutes. Both players won 51% of their first service points but it was the Argentine, who also won half of his second service points. Olivo reached his second semi-final of the season after he had been forced to retire at the ATP Challenger final in Santo Domingo in February.

“I think we are all having a great week,” understated Olivo, who will play countryman Delbonis in Saturday evening’s feature semi-final match. “This is one of the toughest Challengers I have ever played. The conditions are difficult, but I think I prepared for this.”

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The local players secured one semi-final-spot through an all US-American affair when Chase Buchanan defeated 17-year-old Francis Tiafoe winning 6-0, 6-3. The promising teenager, who had to battle through the qualifying, didn’t seem to be fresh on court after his two first ever match wins on ATP Challenger level. Buchanan only had to save one break point and won 79% of his first service points to seal victory in 54 minutes. The 23-year-old will try to crash the Argentine fiesta facing Bagnis for the first time on the tour.

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