Novak Books Semi-Final Berth At NECKARCUP

Dennis Novak (photo: NECKARCUP)

HEILBRONN, May 13, 2021

Eight singles players representing eight different nations headlined Thursday’s quarterfinals action at the €88,520 NECKARCUP. In changeable weather conditions in Heilbronn and several match interruptions due to rain, No. 3 seed Dennis Novak edged past No. 5 seed Taro Daniel of Japan 6-4, 6-4.

After a slow start, the World No. 109 from Austria and highest-ranked player left in the singles draw of the ATP Challenger 100 tournament, eventually found his rhythm. Novak capitalized on four of his eight break-point chances to secure victory in one hour and 47 minutes.

“It was a difficult match but I had played him two times before and knew what to expect,” said Novak. “I had a bad start but improved in the following until 6-4, 3-1 when we had a short rain delay, which broke my rhythm a bit. I continued fighting and was also a bit lucky in the end.”

Novak, who recently returned to Günter Bresnik’s Center Court Südstadt in Vienna, struggled for form over the past weeks but seems to have gained some confidence in Heilbronn again, where he also reached the semi-finals two years ago.

“I think everyone knows Günter’s philosophy and how hard you have to work there. That’s what I am doing now again and it looks like that it’s paying off.”

Novak will next take on Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain, who defeated Sumit Nagal of India 6-3, 6-1in the opening match of the day.

“I played aggressively right from the beginning of the match. I felt good on court and didn’t make any mistakes,” the World No. 139 said. “It’s my third time here in Heilbronn and I like the place very much. The organization is very good, I feel comfortable and of course it’s clay-court tournament, which is my favourite surface.”

Although preferring the dirt, Zapata Miralles recently received some decent results by reaching the finals at the indoor hard-court events in Hamburg 2020 and Quimper in February this year. “I had played good matches indoors at the beginning of the season but I still prefer playing on clay. I am happy that the outdoor season has arrived and I try to do my best all the weeks.”

Galan fights past Kohlschreiber

Later in the day, Daniel Elahi Galan survived a topsy-turvy encounter with No. 7 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, winning 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) on Centre Court. The fourth seed from Colombia outpointed his rival 101-96 after two hours and 22 minutes.

“The match as well as the weather was kind of a rollercoaster with rain, sun and wind. It was crazy,” Galan said. “We both had our chances and were both with breaks up. Anything was possible. I am happy to win in the end.”

Galan will play No. 8 seed Mackenzi McDonald in the stage of the final four. The World No. 120 from the United States, who has come to Germany for the first time, beat Joao Menezes of Brazil 6-3, 6-3 after one hour and 25 minutes.

“Staying focused was key today,” said McDonald, a former college player at UCLA, who won the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championships in both singles and doubles.

“It was tough with the weather. We came up four times. The courts were changing but I am happy to be through.”


Singles –
[3] D. Novak (AUT) d [5] T. Daniel (JPN) 64 64
[4] D. Galan (COL) d [7] P. Kohlschreiber (GER) 26 62 76(4)
[8] M. McDonald (USA) d [LL] J. Menezes (BRA) 63 63
B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) d S. Nagal (IND) 63 61

Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] A. Qureshi (PAK) / A. Vasilevski (BLR) d L. Glasspool (GBR) / M. Reid (AUS) 76(1) 64
[3] N. Lammons (USA) / J. Withrow (USA) d D. Kudla (USA) / M. McDonald (USA) 76(4) 62
A. Goransson (SWE) / S. Verbeek (NED) d [4] R. Matos (BRA) / F. Meligeni Rodrigues Alves (BRA) 64 76(5)

CENTER COURT start 12:00
[1] A. Qureshi (PAK) / A. Vasilevski (BLR) vs A. Goransson (SWE) / S. Verbeek (NED)
B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) vs [3] D. Novak (AUT)

Not Before 15:00
[4] D. Galan (COL) vs [8] M. McDonald (USA)
After suitable rest – [3] N. Lammons (USA) / J. Withrow (USA) vs M. Polmans (AUS) / A. Sitak (NZL) or [2] S. Arends (NED) / D. Sharan (IND)

COURT 1 start 13:00
M. Polmans (AUS) / A. Sitak (NZL) vs [2] S. Arends (NED) / D. Sharan (IND)