Ymer Survives Thriller To Reach Tennis Challenger Hamburg Semis

Elias Ymer

HAMBURG, October 25, 2019 (by Alessandro Boroch)

Friday’s quarterfinals action at the €46,600 Tennis Challenger Hamburg presented by Tannenhof was headlined by the victory of No. 2 seed Elias Ymer, who defeated German wildcard player Daniel Altmaier in a dramatic match that lasted almost three hours.

The 23-year-old Swede fought back from a set down to eventually seal a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(7) win. During the match, 21-year-old Altmaier struggled physically and received a medical time out in each of the first two sets. Nonetheless, the German fought through the third set and even set up a match point in the deciding tie-break, after saving Ymer’s first match point.

Ymer, who already saved two match points in his second-round match against Ruben Bemelmans, went on dodging Altmaier’s first match point and eventually converted his second match point to advance into the semi-finals after two hours and 52 minutes. The Swede outpointed his opponent by the score of 116-114.

“I think Altmaier plays really good, he has a big game and comes to the net a lot which makes it difficult. It was a really small margin, I had luck today,” Ymer said. “I saved a match point and he saved a match point, too. One player has to win.

“We both served well in the third set. He was overall just playing fantastic and even went for the big shots,” he continued.

Earlier in the day, unseeded players Bernabe Zapata Miralles and Altug Celikbilek opened today’s Centre Court action.

During the first set, both players served well until 23-year-old Turk Celikbilek broke his opponent’s serve at 4-4 for the first time of the match. Nevertheless, Zapata Miralles remained focused and right away got back on track with a re-break to love. In the following tie-break, the 22-year-old Spaniard saved two set points before eventually winning the first set by the score of 7-6(7).

They continued with their strong serving games in the second set. In the end, just one break of serve in each set was enough for World No. 238 Zapata Miralles to ultimately ensure a straight-sets victory, beating the Antalya native 7-6(7), 6-4.

Caruso eased past Gaio

No. 1 seed Salvatore Caruso faced 27-year-old Federico Gaio in an all-Italian affair. The World No. 100, who scores a new career high position of 90 in the live ranking by reaching the semi-finals at Tennis Hamburg Challenger, needed just 68 minutes on his way to a 6-3, 6-2 victory against his compatriot.

“I played a great match. I’m very happy with my performance today,” the Avola native said afterwards.

Asked about his first two matches at this tournament, that lasted five hours in total, Caruso said: “I obviously gained a lot of confidence from my first two matches here, especially after saving a match point against Masur in the second-round.”

Van de Zandschulp shocks Stebe

Friday’s quarterfinal action was closed by Cedrik-Marcel Stebe from Germany and Botic Van de Zandschulp from the Netherlands.

24-year-old Van de Zandschulp came back twice from a break down in the second set, to eventually secure a 6-2, 7-5 victory to take out the last remaining German player in Hamburg. In the semi-finals, the Dutch will face top seed Caruso for a potential maiden final on Challenger level.