Duckworth Beats Millman To Reach Astana Open Semis

James Duckworth (photo: Kazakhstan Tennis Federation)

NUR-SULTAN/STARNBERG, September 24, 2021

James Duckworth ended the unbeaten run of defending champion John Millman in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. In an all-Australian quarterfinal at the Astana Open on Friday afternoon, the World No. 65 secured a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the No. 5 seed.

Duckworth sent down nine aces and won 78 per cent of his first-service points to prevail after one hour and 29 minutes.

“It was really tricky, John’s obviously a great player. We are really good mates and he is one of my best friends on the tour. We practise at the same site. It’s difficult playing someone so close to you but you need to put that aside, focus pretty hard and I was able to play a really good match,” Duckworth said.

In his first tour-level semi-final of the season, the 29-year-old from Sydney will take on Ilya Ivashka. The 27-year-old from Belarus rallied from a set down to overcome Emil Ruusuvuori from Finland 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 after two hours and 50 minutes.

“It was a really really hard match,” Ivashka said. “It was brutal, almost three hours. The whole match was a mental fight and I am really happy I have come through it. In the third set, the score was 6-1, but it was really hard.”

Bublik defeats Taberner

Home favourite Alexander Bublik remains the highest-ranked player in the singles draw. The World No. 34 and second seed of the ATP Tour 250 event defeated Carlos Taberner from Spain 6-3, 6-4. Bublik fired 17 aces, saved the only break point he faced and capitalized on two of his own six break-point opportunities to advance after one hour and 29 minutes.

“A couple of matches helped,” Bublik said. “I played doubles and singles yesterday. I served well and didn’t give up the chances I had. I was a bit lucky when he missed the overhead, but I am happy with the win and looking forward. I just want to come on court and show my best.” 

Bublik will face Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea, who battled past No. 7 seed Laslo Djere from Serbia 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-0. The encounter lasted one hour and 57 minutes.