MEERBUSCH, April 16, 2021 (by Dietmar Kaspar)
The semi-finals of the 16th edition of the Just Pools Kirschbaum International, an ITF World Tennis Tour M25 event, are set without any seeded players left in the singles draw.
Twenty-eight-year-old Elmar Ejupovic, who knocked off the tournament’s top favourite Rudolf Molleker in an all-German opener after thrilling three sets, faced his countryman Peter Heller in the quarterfinals. Wolfsburg-born Ejupovic converted all of his three break-point chances and won five points more than the former No. 1 in ITF-rankings to claim a 6-3, 7-6 win after about two hours.
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Big-serving Alexander Erler stopped the run of German qualifier Milan Welte, who reached the quarterfinals of the US Open Junior Championships 2019 out of the qualifying. The 23-year-old Austrian won 80 per cent of his first-service points in the stage of the last eight to prevail 6-1, 6-4 in 87 minutes. The Innsbruck native, who is based at the ATC-Academy of Wolfgang Thiem in Traiskirchen near Vienna, will next meet Ejupovic.
Another Austrian booked a spot in the semi-finals. David Pichler emerged victorious from the encounter of the qualifiers against Tim Handel from Germany, who played college-tennis for the Northern Arizona University. Eisenstadt-born Pichler outpointed his rival 78-69 to advance 6-4, 6-4 after one hour and 49 minutes. The 25-year-old will oppose French teenager Arthur Cazaux.
Eighteen-year-old Cazaux, who was ranked World No. 4 in ITF Juniors last season, eased past Czech No. 3 seed Michael Vrbensky. The junior entry from Montpellier capitalized on all of his four break-point opportunities by losing one service game to secure a 6-2, 6-3 victory after 83 minutes.
The singles semi-finals and the doubles final, in which top seeds Viktor Durasovic from Norway and Markus Eriksson from Sweden will meet the No. 3 seeded Czechs Jiri Lehecka and Michael Vrbensy, will take place at the Teremeer Sports and Tennis Resort in Meerbusch on Saturday. Play will start at 11:30 a.m. local time and will be shown on the official ITF Livestream.
For more information, please visit www.kirschbaum-international.de