Novak Battles Through Late-Night Thriller At Neckarcup

Dennis Novak advances to the semi-finals of the Neckarcup

HEILBRONN, May 17, 2019

Dennis Novak continued his good run of form at this week’s Neckarcup by knocking out German teenager Rudolf Molleker, the defending champion of the €92,040 ATP Challenger clay-court event, on a chilly Friday evening in Heilbronn.

Under the floodlights, well after the day-high temperature of more than 20°C had plummeted, the No. 11 seed from Austria, who lifted his maiden trophy at Taipei earlier this season, came back from a set down to secure a 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) victory in two hours and 13 minutes. The quarterfinals match ended at 11 pm local time with around 200 fans clustered around Center Court wrapped in warm jackets.


Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an


Night shift for @dennisnovi reaching the semi-finals of the @neckarcup in Heilbronn.

Ein Beitrag geteilt von tennistourtalk (@ttt.tennistourtalk) am

“He just rolled over me in the first set. I had no chance but I tried to step back into the match and that’s what I made,” Novak said during his post-match interview with the ATP. “In the end I was a bit lucky but I am very happy to be through.”

Asked about the conditions, Novak answered: “It wasn’t that cold on the court. I was sweating so much. It was okay. I didn’t have a problem with it.” 

Novak will next take on Belgium’s Arthur de Greef, who rallied past Matthias Bachinger of Germany in a rain-interrupted match 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 30 minutes.

“The rain helped me a lot today,” de Greef said. “Bachi was playing really well in the first set and he took his chances. It was tough for me but after the rain delay the court was slower and I could return his serves easier.” 

The World No. 225 advanced to his second semi-final of the season after reaching the stage of the final four in Bergamo. “I usually play only on clay. This season I also played indoors and achieved some good results. I enjoyed it. However, when I came back to the clay, I lost a bit of my confidence but it’s getting better. Having this tournament ahead of Roland Garros helps me a lot. It’s a strong draw here and the organization of the tournament is fantastic. I haven’t seen such a good job at Challenger level. I am not surprised that it won the ATP Challenger of the Year Award.”

Krajinovic beats Troicki

Earlier in the day, 2017 Neckarcup champion Filip Krajinovic emerged victorious from the all-Serbian affair with Viktor Troicki, winning 7-5, 7-6(6). The top seed struck six aces and won 73 per cent of his first service points to advance in one hour and 39 minutes.


Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an


Top seed and 2017 champion @krajinovic_filip defeats fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki to reach the @neckarcup semi-finals.

Ein Beitrag geteilt von tennistourtalk (@ttt.tennistourtalk) am

“It was a tough match, we know each other very well from practice and Davis Cup,” Krajinovic said. “I think we didn’t play a good match, it was very tight and I am happy to be in the semis here.”

The World No. 69 finished runner-up to Dustin Brown at the Mouratoglou Open and is seeking his first title since 2017.

“It’s getting better and better. I am in a good shape right now. I hope that I can keep winning.”

Next up for Krajinovic will be Stefano Travaglia from Italy, who fought past No. 6 seed Hugo Dellien from Bolivia 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 22 minutes.