Emilio Sanchez Academy Challenger: Semi-Finals Are Set

Hugo Gaston (photo: Emilio Sanchez Academy)


Top seed Hugo Gaston leads the semi-finals line-up of the €44,820 Emilio Sanchez Academy ATP Challenger Tour clay-court event organized by the Fundación Emilio Sánchez Vicario and held in El Prat de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

The World No. 112 from France, who is still seeking his first Challenger crown, ended the run of Spanish qualifier Nicolas Alvarez Varona securing a 6-2, 6-1 victory on Friday afternoon. Gaston won 62 per cent of the total points played to advance after 64 minutes.

“I am really happy about my match, because Nico is a very good player,” Gaston said. “We already played each other in January. I know him. I knew it would become a tough match, I am pretty happy about my game.”

Gaston will next face Frenchman Alexandre Muller, who beat his compatriot and qualifier Matteo Martineau 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 31 minutes.

In the bottom half of the draw, Alex Molcan defeated Nicola Kuhn from Spain 6-3, 6-2. The No. 2 seed from Slovakia capitalized on five of his six break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 28 minutes.

“It was a tough match against a tough opponent,” Molcan said. “The first set was not that easy. I was 5-0 up but he had chances to break my serve. He played well and came back to 5-3. I was a little bit shaky, lost my confidence in my fore- and backhand but somehow I survived the set.

“I broke him in the first game of the second set and I was trying to be a bit more aggressive. He made some errors during important points, which helped me. The match was okay and I will now try to recover for tomorrow’s match.”

Up next for the World No. 117 will be Dimitar Kuzmanov. The 28-year-old Bulgarian cruised past Russian veteran and Emilio Sanchez Academy alumni Teymuraz Gabashvili, winning  6-2, 6-0 in 65 minutes.