Raininess over the last couple of days led to a lot of interruptions throughout the week but the weather has settled in Cordenons so that all remaining quarterfinals as well as the semis could be played on Saturday at the FriulAdria Crédit Agricole Tennis Cup.
The final four faced each other in an all-Italian respectively an all-Spanish semi-final. Top-seed Paolo Lorenzi, who defeated Swedish teenager Elias Ymer in the afternoon winning 6-2, 7-5, took on Potito Starace. The latter benefited from a retirement of Filippo Volandri but has never been able to win a single set against Lorenzi in their two previous meetings.
Again, the encounter seemed to go in favour for the world number 78. Lorenzi played aggressively right from the beginning, went a lot to the net and after about 90 minutes the tournament’s favourite was a set and a break up. Starace, however, adjusted to Lorenzi’s game, was successful with a couple of nice passing as well as drop shots and took the match the distance. The 33-year-old finally completed his comeback, capitalized on his second match point winning 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes to reach his first ATP Challenger final of the season.
“It’s unbelievable. I played two matches in one day and especially the second one was very tough because Paolo is a good player and the court was slow, which made it difficult to hit winners. After playing almost three hours, I’m really happy,” Starace was relieved afterwards. “I do not really know what made the difference today. I was down a set and a break and I tried to push a bit more, hitting more powerful and at 6-5 in the second set I played an unbelievable game. Although, we were a bit tired in the third set, I served well and I’m just happy that I won,” the former world number 27 added.
Earlier the day, Albert Montaňes ended the winning streak of qualifier Franko Skugor through a 7-5, 6-2 victory in 83 minutes. Second-seeded Daniel Gimeno-Traver had to work harder beating Guillaume Rufin 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 after almost two hours to reach a seventh meeting with his fellow countryman.
The all-Spanish-encounter took place under floodlight in chilly conditions and became the expected close match with a lot of break points on both sides. Montaňes seemed to be a bit fresher in the end, gained the decisive break in the sixth game of the final set, and converted his third match point after two hours and 52 minutes when Gimeno-Traver netted a backhand drop shot. Starace and Montaňes will meet a tenth time on the Tour with the Spaniard leading 6-3 before Sunday’s final. The world number 134 from Barcelona also won the last meeting between the two beating the Italian in straight sets in San Marino ten days ago.