UMAG, July 24, 2015
The quarterfinals on Friday at the Konzum Croatia Open in Umag featured six seeds with a local hero headlining the action on centre court.
Yet, second favourite Roberto Bautista-Agut knocked out Croatian hope Borna Coric, winning 6-3, 6-3. In the pair’s first tour meeting, the 27-year-old Spaniard was more efficient with his game, when he saved all four break points he faced and capitalized on three of his own to advance to his fourth semi-final of the season following Chennai, Marseille and Munich.
“He was playing very solid from the baseline. He didn’t miss much. I had break point chances in the first set, which I didn’t use. Then I had a couple of sloppy mistakes, especially in the second set, which I shouldn’t make. That was the biggest problem. In the second set, I also dropped mentally as well as physically,” Coric explained and added: “I was a bit nervous but it has nothing to do with pressure.”
TennisTourTalk spoke to Bautista-Agut after the match:
The Spaniard will face Joao Sousa next, who celebrated his first victory over Fabio Fognini in their second tour meeting, winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-6. The 26-year-old Portuguese had an excellent start into the match, gaining a 4-0 lead after only 11 minutes. In the following, Fognini made it on the scoreboard but in the eighth game Sousa served the opening set out. The fifth-seeded Italian fought back in the second frame, but it was Sousa who closed the tie-break at 8-6 after two hours and four minutes.
“I am really pleased with the way I played today, especially in the first set. I came up with some great tennis and I am happy to be in the semi-finals,” Sousa told afterwards. “It was a really tight match, both players could have win. I was lucky, that I was the one,” he said, being in Umag for the third time. “I really like to play here, but the conditions are really tough. I arrived on Monday after Davis Cup. The spectators are great, although they haven’t been with me today,” Sousa told with a smile.
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem emerged victorious from the all-Austrian-affair, leading 6-7, 6-1, 3-0 when Andreas Haider-Maurer was forced to retire due to knee injury. It was the second time that an opponent from the 21-year-old couldn’t finish the match in Umag, after Dusan Lajovic had retired in the second set of Thiem’s opening encounter on Thursday.
“Well, conditions here are very tough. Dusan came with a jetlag from Argentina and Andy told me that he was a bit ill after the Davis Cup. He has had some tough two rounds before and the first set today was very intense as well. We actually played both pretty well, but I think that I broke his rhythm with the break in the second game of the second set,” Thiem told Tennis TourTalk and added that the Davis Cup loss with Austria against the Netherlands has to be off the table now.
“Of course, I was really disappointed after the tie, as we had the chance to get close to the world group stage again, but it has to go on. It’s the same when you suffer bitter defeats on the ATP Tour,” Thiem explained but is looking forward to his second semi-final of the season on Saturday. “It will be great playing on centre court. Matches will start a bit later, which is a good thing enjoying a bit cooler conditions. I think it will be a great match for the spectators.”
Here you can listen to the original interview with Dominic Thiem in German, including a little interruption by Gael Monfils:
Thiem will face Gael Monfils, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber the third time this season in the final match on centre court. In a fantastic atmosphere, which felt a bit like Davis Cup, the top-seeded Frenchman had to rally back from a set down as well as a 2-4 deficit in the tie-break of the second frame to close the match after two hours and five minutes at 00:25 h local time.
“I am really happy with the way I played. I had to elevate my game as Philipp played a very good match,” said Monfils. “There was a great atmosphere tonight. I look forward to being in the semi-final tomorrow.”