Autumn has arrived in Central Europe and although the weather is still pretty nice in Germany, with the Dittelbrunn Open taking place at Hambach Tennis Centre, the indoor season has just begun. The tournament is quite special given the fact that it is one of only a few events on the ITF Pro Circuit, which is played on carpet.
On semi-finals Saturday top-seed Jan Mertl defeated Martins Podzus in their first meeting. The latter reached the stage of the final four without dropping a set but the 32-year-old Czech was more efficient and capitalized on his few break points he gained to seal victory in one hour and thirty minutes winning 6-4, 7-5.
“I tried to break him at least once in a set, as I was quite confident on my own serve,” Mertl told afterwards. “In the second set I had to wait until 5-5 to get the chance, as everyone knows that on this kind of surface it is not easy to gain a break. Nonetheless, I like to play on carpet because I serve pretty well. The biggest challenge is to switch from clay to carpet but I had already practiced at my home club in Prague a couple of days before the tournament started. Now, I have already played four matches this week, so I’m getting used to it,” the Czech veteran explained playing his first indoors tournament since March.
In the second semi-final the last German player was taken out by sixth-seed Yannick Jankovits. 22-year-old Florian Fallert, who reached the final in the last two tournaments he played, lost in ninety minutes 1-6, 4-6.
“I served pretty well today with a high first service percentage. I changed my tactic, played more aggressively compared to last week and went to the net as often as possible,” the 27-year-old Frenchman analysed and was satisfied with his improvement he made. Last week in Sarreguemines, Jankovits lost to the German in straight sets. “I am looking forward to tomorrow. Jan is a very good player and I’m expecting a tough match and a great final,” the world number 460 added.
At least two locals won the doubles competition. 18-year-old Johannes Haerteis and 19-year-old Hannes Wagner gained their first team title winning 6-2, 7-6 in 67 minutes over second-seeded US-American tandem Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith. “Together we took four doubles titles on junior level last year and we are more than happy to gain our first one on senior level. We had a great day and we were highly motivated to win the match. Everything worked out perfectly today,” the two teenagers were understandably overwhelmed. “We want to go on and will work hard so that we can hopefully make the next step in the nearer future. Of course we would like to reach the next level in terms of playing Challenger and Tour events as soon as possible. On Future level, you cannot earn money and it is much nicer to play the bigger tournaments. Let’s see what will happen next year,” the German youngsters seemed to be ambitious enough to reach their goals.