The top-seeds at the Erste Bank Open and contenders for a spot at the ATP World Tour Finals, David Ferrer and Andy Murray, headlined the action on Day 5 in Vienna.
The Spanish world number five went up against big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic. The pair has met three times with Ferrer edging their head-to-head records 2-1 before Friday’s encounter. After taking the opening set without any break points in the tie-break, Ferrer gained the decisive break in the third game of the second and served out by an ace winning 7-6, 6-4 after 84 minutes. “It was very difficult today because Ivo has the best serve on the Tour,” the Spaniard was relieved afterwards. “It is very nice to get the support from the people here in Vienna. You feel that the crowd loves tennis and this is very good for us players on the court,” Ferrer said about the Austrian audience, which backed the Spaniard in the important moments this evening.
Philipp Kohlschreiber will be the next opponent for the top-seed, as he won the first ever all-German encounter against Benjamin Becker in straight sets 6-4, 7-6. The man from Augsburg, who turned 31 on Thursday, advanced to his third semi-final in Vienna after 2008 and 2009.
Andy Murray is making his Vienna debut in order to gain a Top 8 finish for a spot in London. It is the first time the Brit has played in four straight post-US Open tournaments since 2008. Murray started his week with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Vasek Pospisil on Thursday. In the quarterfinal he clashed German youngster Jan-Lennard Struff for the first time. Murray emerged victorious after 86 minutes winning 6-2, 7-5 but had to work hard for his points.
The world number 11, who didn’t know much about the German before the encounter, didn’t seem to be surprised facing such a competitive opponent today. “I expected a good match. He is a big guy, strong with a good serve. Playing against such a player on indoor courts is always difficult. I had to fight hard. Nonetheless, I was more solid than yesterday and made less mistakes. I changed rhythm and the variety in my shots as much as I could and tried to go for the winners,” the world number 11 explained.
The British number one is going to face Viktor Troicki in the next round. The Serbian qualifier has reached his first semi-final since Moscow 2011 winning 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 over Tomaz Bellucci in two hours and 27 minutes.
“I’m happy to reach the semi-finals here in Vienna, a tournament with so many tough players. It has passed a long time since I have reached this stage. I had some pretty close matches here in the qualifying and a long one today. Playing six matches is hard but I’m feeling good and fresh on the court. I felt physically more prepared in the third set. I also felt that Tomaz (Bellucci) was not at 100 per cent, and I took that opportunity to play on the offensive. It worked out well,” Troicki said afterwards. “Against Andy you have to play smart. You need to play offensive and of course you have to use your chances,” the Serb is looking forward to the match, even though he has never been able to gain a victory against the Brit.