BRAUNSCHWEIG, July 13, 2017
Three years after Alexander Zverev captured the Sparkassen Open title, another teenager delights the crowd in Braunschweig, as 17-year-old Nicola Kuhn advances to the semi-finals of the €127,000 ATP Challenger event.
The World No. 501 from Spain, who battled through the qualifying and appears in his only second main draw at Challenger level, had to win two matches on Thursday to eventually reach the stage of the final four. Kuhn’s second round encounter against fourth seed Carlos Berlocq from Argentina had to be postponed due to rain on Wednesday. The Innsbruck native, however, stayed focused and emerged victorious, winning 6-4, 7-5.
Later in the day, Kuhn was back in action and fought past Jozef Kovalik from Slovakia 7-6, 5-7, 7-6. The teenager recovered from a 0-4 deficit in the final set to clinch the tie-break 8-6. He prevailed after two hours and 42 minutes, earning standing ovation from the crowd.
“I am really tired right now, but extremely happy,” Kuhn told afterwards. “I really enjoy the support from the spectators. That’s great and helps my game.”
The runner-up at this year’s Roland Garros junior’s competition will next take on in-form Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
The 25-year-old from Budapest beat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany 6-4, 6-1, followed by a 6-2, 6-2 win over Radu Albot of Moldova in one hour and 13 minutes. Fucsovics captured his ATP Challenger titles number three and four in Vicenza in May and at the grass court event in Ilkley last month. The pair will meet for the first time.
In the second semi-final Recanati champion Viktor Galovic from Croatia will take on Germany’s Oscar Otte. Galovic had opened the day with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over sixth seeded Slovakian Norbert Gombos before he edged past wild card entry Yannick Maden 6-3, 6-3.
Otte got the better of his compatriot Maximilian Marterer, winning 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 and then rallied from a set down to overcome Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. The encounter lasted one hour and 55 minutes.
“It was a fantastic day of tennis with about 2,000 spectators attending the matches,” tournament director Volker Jäcke stated. The doubles as well as singles semi-finals will start on Friday 1pm local time.