HEILBRONN, May 14, 2021
Unseeded Bernabe Zapata Miralles and fourth favourite Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia are the singles finalists of the 2021 NECKARCUP. The 24-year-old Spaniard knocked out No. 3 seed Dennis Novak from Austria 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 on a sunny Friday afternoon in Heilbronn.
The pair’s first meeting was an even affair, packed with emotions and a lot of ups and downs as well as close calls from the umpire. In the end, Zapata Miralles won one point more than the World No. 109 to reach his second final of the season after finishing runner-up to Brandon Nakashima in Quimper, France in early February.
“I didn’t feel so good on court today. I was nervous but didn’t make many mistakes in the first set,” Zapata Miralles said after the encounter, which lasted one hour and 46 minutes. “Dennis didn’t seem to feel good physically. I lost my level in the second set and Dennis started to play better but I fought in the third, which was the most important thing today.”
Galan oustlasts McDonald
Later in the day, Galan also had to go the distance and fought past No. 8 seed Mackenzie McDonald from the United States, who appeared in his first clay-court semi-final at ATP Challenger level, 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-5. In a topsy-turvy encounter, the World No. 110 sent down five aces and won 66 per cent of his first-service points to secure victory in two hours and 23 minutes.
“It was a crazy match today,” Galan said. “It was very close, we both had our chances. It was very tough.” The 24-year-old Bucaramanga native also admitted to feel tired after three long matches over three sets. “However, tomorrow is the final. It’s the last match, last effort. I will give everything I have. I have to recover well today.”
…and here is our second finalist:
— NECKARCUP Heilbronn (@NeckarH) May 14, 2021
By winning the tournament, Galan will lift his third Challenger career trophy and will crack the Top 100 for the first time. Zapata Miralles, fan of Valencia Club de Futbol, is seeking his second ATP Challenger career title following his maiden triumph in Cordenons, Italy last year. Galan won the only previous meeting between the two at the Mexico City Challenger three years ago.
Saturday’s action will kick off with the doubles final when Andre Goransson from Sweden and Sem Verbeek of the Netherlands will take on No. 3 seeds Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow from the United States.
RESULTS – MAY 14, 2021
Singles – Semifinals
B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) d  D. Novak (AUT) 63 16 63
 D. Galan (COL) d  M. McDonald (USA) 64 67(4) 75
Doubles – Semifinals
A. Goransson (SWE) / S. Verbeek (NED) d  A. Qureshi (PAK) / A. Vasilevski (BLR) 64 64
 N. Lammons (USA) / J. Withrow (USA) d  S. Arends (NED) / D. Sharan (IND) 63 63
 S. Arends (NED) / D. Sharan (IND) d M. Polmans (AUS) / A. Sitak (NZL) 62 36 10-8
ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2021
CENTER COURT start 11:00
Doubles Final – A. Goransson (SWE) / S. Verbeek (NED) vs  N. Lammons (USA) / J. Withrow (USA)
Not Before 13:00
Singles Final – B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) vs  D. Galan (COL)