Semi-finals day at the Bauer Watertechnolgy Cup and no seeded player was left in the draw of the annual € 35.000,- ATP Challenger event in Eckental, a municipality with about 14.000 inhabitants close to Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany.
Qualifier Mirza Basic took on Ruben Bemelmans for the first time. The latter, a two times finalist in Eckental, was in total control of the match, in which he only faced two break points in the very first game. After only 52 minutes, the 26-year-old Belgian served out with his fifth ace winning 6-2, 6-1.
“I was expecting a very tough match, as Mirza was playing really well throughout the week. He qualified and won his matches pretty easily in the main draw. We know each other pretty good as we practice together in the same foundation in Belgium, so I was expecting a bit more of a fight,” Bemelmans was a bit surprised gaining such a comfortable victory today. Basic, on the other hand, was involved in a lot of discussions with the umpire concerning close calls. “Getting an early break was a key moment for sure. So I was able to put some pressure on him right from the beginning. Mentally he was a bit unstable today. I tried to stay focused and remained calm,” the world number 191 told. “I grew up on carpet in Belgium. So that it is one of the reasons I like to play on this surface. There aren’t many tournaments on carpet anymore but every year I play well here in Eckental. It’s not so far from home, so my family is here as well, which is very helpful to feel comfortable. It is a nice tournament with good organization and the people are very friendly here. It’s really one of my favourites,” Bemelmans is looking forward to another final in Bavaria.
In the second encounter, Tim Pütz prevented an all-Belgian climax in Eckental through a 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Niels Desein. The 26-year-old German had a bad start into the match and got broken two times losing the opening set in only 29 minutes. Desein, however, became a bit shaky on his serve in the following and Pütz eventually found his rhythm and sealed victory in 91 minutes.
“In the first set my returns were pretty bad. It might doesn’t sound comprehensible but Nils has a very slow second service, which makes it pretty difficult to return. In the second set, I tried to be more aggressive with my return games and this worked pretty well,” Pütz, who made it into the second round of Wimbledon this year, told afterwards. “In Wimbledon I played very well. Immediately I received a lot of attention, which was great and I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I suffered a ligament rupture in my food three days after London during a team competition match in Germany. I haven’t been able to compete for four weeks and I had problems and felt pain until the beginning of September. So everything normalized a bit in the following, which was ok. Later, we gained the German Team Championships title with Halle and then I went to the US-Open and got sick. So during the summer months, I didn’t play a lot of matches,” the world number 203 from Frankfurt told about his ups and downs during this season. “Now, I feel fresh and good. I like playing indoors and reached good results in the past. Nonetheless, it’s pretty difficult to play on this surface here. It’s really fast and you really have to focus on returning the serve, which is the most important thing,” Pütz hopes to beat Bemelmans in Sunday’s final after losing to the Belgian in the semis here last year.