Molcan Holds Off Otte At HPP Open Helsinki

Alex Molcan (photo: Finnish Tennis Association)

HELSINKI/STARNBERG, November 19, 2021

Slovakia’s Alex Molcan has stopped the run of recent two-time ATP Challenger Tour champion Oscar Otte in the quarterfinals of the HPP Open in Helsinki, Finland. The No. 3 seed of the €44,820 hard-court tournament defeated the fifth seed from Germany 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 on Friday afternoon.

Molcan withstood seven aces and broke Otte’s serve five times to seal victory in one hour and 42 minutes. The World No. 103 from Bratislava will next play Russian qualifier Alexander Shevchenko, who benefited from the retirement of his opponent for the second time in a row. In the second round German veteran Matthias Bachinger was forced to stop playing towards the end of the second set. This time, Shevchenko’s match against Mats Moraing ended after the Russian won the opening set 6-4, as the German suffered from a left knee injury.

“The are no easy matches on the Challenger Tour, all of them are tough,” Shevchenko said. “Of course I was a bit lucky, but I am very happy to advance to the semi-finals. I practice hard during the Covid break, played well during the summer and won Futures title, which helped me to gain some confidence.”

The bottom half of the draw is led by No. 2 seed Henri Laaksonen. The World No. 97 from Switzerland beat eighth-seeded Serbian Nikola Milojevic 6-2, 6-3. Laaksonen saved the only break point he faced and capitalized on four of his own seven break-point chances to advance after one hour and four minutes.

Up next for the 29-year-old native of Finland will be Joao Sousa from Portugal, who battled past No. 6 seed Liam Broady of Great Britain 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(1). The longest encounter of the day lasted two hours and 31 minutes.

Doubles final set

Harri Heliovaara will fly the Finnish flag in Saturday’s doubles final. The 32-year-old Helsinki native and his Dutch partner Jean-Julien Rojer will take on the all-Austrian combination of Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler, who captured their maiden team title on home soil at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel.

The championship match is scheduled to kick off Centre-Court action at the Tali Tennis Center at 12 noon local time followed by the singles semi-final matches.


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