BRAUNSCHWEIG, July 13, 2018
Yannick Hanfmann and Jozef Kovalik will square off in Saturday’s singles final of the Sparkassen Open. The No. 7 seed from Germany beat Italian Andrea Arnaboldi 6-4, 6-2 in front of about 1,500 spectators on Centre Court in Braunschweig.
Hanfmann hit five aces, winning 71 per cent of his first service points and broke his opponent four times to prevail after one hour and 19 minutes.
“I was pretty nervous today but I am really relieved to reach the final here,” Hanfmann said. “To stay calm during difficult situations, keeping a cool head, that was key today. It might sound like a cliche, but to go point by point is the most important thing.”
Hanfmann is seeking his third ATP Challenger crown in tomorrow’s final after lifting the trophies in Ismaning last year and Shymkent, Kazakhstan last month.
“The tournaments in Kazakhstan were really good. We went there last year and we always have a lot of fun. The events are well organized, away from the hustle, so that you can focus on tennis,” Hanfmann told about his experience in the world’s largest landlocked country.
Next up in Braunschweig will be Jozef Kovalik, who emerged victorious from a rematch of the Poprad Tatry Challenger final against Arthur de Greef from Belgium. The No. 9 seed from Slovakia won 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 43 minutes.
“We have only met once in a team competition in France. I won but I don’t know how relevant this result is,” Hanfmann stated.
Kuhn/Ruud fall in doubles
Defending champion Nicola Kuhn, who fell in the first round in singles to Hanfmann, couldn’t make into the doubles final alongside Norwegian youngster Casper Ruud. The duo lost to N. Balaji and Vishnu Varhan of India 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-12 missing one match point in the final set.
Kuhn has just returnd to the tour after a foot injury, playing his only second tournament since then. The 19-year-old Spaniard was still able to took some positives from the week.
“It was a difficult match against Yannick in the first round, as he goes for the shots and doesn’t give you any rhythm,” Kuhn explained. “Later in doubles it became better and better. It just needs some time and matches to get back to your level.”
The Indian tandem will face Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof in the final. The top seeds eased past the all-German combination of André Begemann and Dustin Brown 6-0, 6-3.
Photo Gallery (by Florian Heer):