The Big Moment Of The Qualifiers In Kitzbühel

Yannick Hanfmann

KITZBÜHEL, September 11, 2020

Sometimes even the ATP does not seem to be too familiar with the results on the Challenger Tour. When you had a look at the ATP Media Notes on Day 4 of the Generali Open in Kitzbühel, it was stated that Yannick Hanfmann finished runner-up at the Citta di Todi ATP Challenger three weeks ago.

Actually, the 28-year-old German clinched the title in Umbria following a straight-set win over Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the final to lift his sixth Challenger career trophy. After another two weeks in Italy competing in the Challengers in Trieste and Cordenons, Hanfmann continues his fine run of form at ATP Tour level.

Match practice is key

Hanfmann battled through the qualifying in Kitzbühel and beat Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan, No. 3 seed Dusan Lajovic from Serbia as well as compatriot and practice partner Maximilian Marterer en-route to the semi-finals of the €400,335 clay-court event.

“I served really well today,” Hanfmann told journalists after his quarterfinal win on Friday morning. “I was aggressive during my return games, as Maxi usually needs some time to get into the rallies. This worked out pretty well and was key to win the match.”

Both players practice at the TennisBase Oberhaching, located some 15 km south of Munich’s city centre. Asked about their results in training, Hanfmann responded: “I don’t really know our head-to-head record, as we have already played so many times against each other. I guess it’s pretty even. Maxi is probably more solid but if I play well, I knew that I will have the chance to hurt him on court. In the end we both have been pretty happy to play here.”

The week of the qualifiers

Hanfmann was one of five qualifiers in the stage of the final eight in the altitude of Tyrol, Austria. “Of course it is an advantage when you had already played many matches and could get used to the conditions, which are not too easy here,” said the Munich resident, who will, depending on his further results, at least get close to his career-high of World No. 99 next week. “Of course I want to crack the top 100 again. I think that I can lose tomorrow but also win the tournament here. I am currently very pleased with my game and I think that I belong into the top 100. So, it will happen sooner or later.”

Djere upsets Schwartzman

Up next for Hanfmann, who advanced to the final of the Swiss Open in Gstaad three years ago, will be Laslo Djere. The 25-year-old qualifier from Serbia knocked out No. 2 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, winning 7-6(2), 6-3 in one hour and 53 minutes.

“It was important to keep the level from the beginning until the end,” Djere said after his first win over the South American in the pair’s third meeting. “Diego also had some ups and downs in our previous matches. So I knew that, even if he looks tired or seems down, he will keep up fighting. I just tried to keep that in mind. I am happy to be through.”

The transition from the American hard-court swing, where Djere suffered two first-round losses at the Western & Southern Open as well as at the US Open, back to the clay in Europe has worked out pretty well for the World No. 81. “I grew up on clay. It is my favourite surface, so it is always quite easy for me to come back.”

Djere, who captured his maiden title on the ATP Tour by winning the Rio Open in Brazil last year, also mentioned that he enjoys playing at altitude. “It’s a bit faster. Rio is a different story. I beat Thiem in the first round, which gave me some extra energy and it pushed me through the whole tournament. I am also happy with my performance here. I am looking forward to the match.”

Hanfmann and Djere will meet the first time. “I haven’t watched his match,” the Novi Sad resident said. “But I know that he has good serve and is a good player, obviously being in good shape. I expect a tough match.”

Huesler in great shape

Later in the afternoon, Marc-Andrea Huesler has advanced to his first quarterfinal on the ATP Tour. Following his win over top seeded Italian Fabio Fognini, the 24-year-old from Switzerland beat Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-3.

“I suffered from a leg injury in November and returned to the court only in March,” Huesler said during his post-match press conference. Last week at the Ostrava Open, the World No. 303 played his first international tournament of the season. Huesler lost in the first round to Viktor Troicki and missed the cut at the Czech Open in Prostejov the following week, which was the reason for his journey to Kitzbühel. “I have never felt so good on court,” he said. “My serve gave me confidence and I felt that I will have a realistic chance to beat him.”

Huesler will next take on Miomir Kecmanovic, who managed to overcome a qualifier at the foot of the Hahnenkamm mountain. The 21-year-old Serbian fought past Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5 on Court Kuchenmeister in two hours and 33 minutes.