TENERIFE, November 5, 2021
Tallon Griekspoor is still in the game for a record-breaking seventh ATP Challenger crown this season. The top seed of the Tenerife Challenger booked his spot in the semi-finals of the €44,820 hard-court event with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Altug Celikbilek of Turkey at the Abama Tennis Academy on Friday afternoon.
Griekspoor, who has lifted six Challenger trophies in 2021, dominated the encounter on Grandstand with his serve, firing 10 aces to prevail after one hour and 31 minutes.
“He won two Challengers on hard this year, so I knew it was going to be tough,” Griekspoor told Tennis TourTalk after his 19th consecutive match win. “I didn’t start great but recovered pretty well. I was solid and served pretty well throughout the match, which was key today. I am happy with the win.”
The World No. 88 is unbeaten since November 3, losing to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round of the US Open. Is he feeling some kind of pressure now?
“No, not at all. I am happy with the six titles. If I am getting seven, it is a really nice bonus. I am just trying to improve my game every day and winning as many matches as possible.”
8️⃣ Random Questions ❓❗
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) November 5, 2021
Next up for Griekspoor will be a big name on the tour, taking on Fernando Verdasco in the semi-finals. The former Top-10 crack from Spain edged past Nuno Borges of Portugal 6-3, 7-6(3). Verdasco capitalized on both of his two break-point chances to secure victory in one hour and 23 minutes.
“The last three matches, I played well,” Verdasco told Tennis TourTalk. “Today, I faced an opponent with a powerful game but I am happy to win the match in two sets. In general, the level of game was good. I can still take a bit more intensity in my shots, trying to dominate a little bit more but I played well.”
Verdasco and Griekspoor will meet for the first time.
“He is a new guy for me but obviously he is having good results. It is always tough to play a player with that kind of confidence. But I am feeling much better this week compared to the weeks the before. I think it will be a good match,” Verdasco said of his upcoming task.
Lopez to face Kuznetsov
Later in the afternoon, Feliciano Lopez battled past Briton Ryan Peniston 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-1. The No. 2 seed from Spain won 56 per cent of the total points played to prevail after two hours and 13 minutes.
Lopez will next oppose Andrey Kuznetsov. The 30-year-old Russian edged out No. 8 seed Joao Sousa from Portugal 7-6(6), 6-3 after one hour and 38 minutes.
Andrey Kuznetsov 🇷🇺 always feels comfortable, playing on 🇪🇸 soil.
He reaches the semi-finals of the Tenerife Challenger 🇮🇨 following a 7-6 6-3 win over Joao Sousa.
— TennisTourTalk (@TennisTourTalk) November 5, 2021
“The first set was very important, straight after I could make a break. In the second set, I felt like I was playing my game,” Kuznetsov told Tennis TourTalk. The World No. 281 is feeling comfortable on the Canary Islands.
“I feel like at home when I am in Spain, as I spent a lot of time in Marbella. I already got used to the Spanish language, the Spanish kitchen all these things. Spain is like second home for me.”
Kuznetsov is seeking his first win against Lopez in the pair’s fourth tour meeting. The last match between the two took place in the first round of the 2017 US Open.
— MEF tennis events (@meftennisevents) November 5, 2021