ECKENTAL, November 7, 2015
The 32-man-draw has been whittled down to the final four at the € 35,000 ATP Challenger Bauer Watertechnology Cup in Eckental.
On semi-finals Saturday, fourth seed Benjamin Becker extended his head to head lead over Ruben Bemelmans to 5-0, gaining a solid victory over the defending champion. The 34-year-old German showed a full repertoire of his strokes, saved all of the three break points he faced, converting three of his own, winning 6-3, 6-2 in only 55 minutes.
“All of the matches I played with Rubens were pretty close. I could have lost at least two of the previous encounters. Nonetheless, I played very well today. I made the deciding points and gained the early breaks, which always give you an advantage for the rest of the set,” Becker told after his first match against the second seeded Belgian, which did not go the distance.
“During my junior’s I played a couple of times on carpet, so I think my game suits this surface pretty well. I feel confident on the court,” the 2013 Eckental champion added.
Becker will face Mikhail Youzhny in Sunday’s final. The former world number eight from Russia, defeated Croatian qualifier Ante Pavic 6-4, 6-3. Youzhny withstood 11 aces from his opponent, didn’t face a single break point and won 83% of his first service points to seal victory in just under one hour of play.
“It was a tough match, as he served very well. I just made some good returns. In the first set when it was 5-4 and 30-0 to him, I played four great points. But on this surface (carpet), you never know what will happen next,” Youzhny told Tennis TourTalk about his key to success. The 33-year-old Russian is playing his first ATP Challenger event since 2011.
“It’s good here. I didn’t play too many matches this year. That’s why I just want to play and it doesn’t matter to me where it takes place,” the current world number 153 said after reaching his first final on the ATP Challenger Tour since lifting the trophy in Samarkand 15 years ago.
“Yes, I remember the match. I faced Jan-Frode Andersen and actually I was lucky, as I had to save match points in the second set,” Youzhny told and is looking forward to his third Challenger career final on Sunday.
Youzhny and Becker will face each other for the fifth time on the tour with the Russina leading 4-0 in head to head records. The last encounter took place in Madrid last year. In the doubles final Ruben Bemelmans and Philipp Petzschner will take on Ken and Neil Skupski.