MAUTHAUSEN/STARNBERG, May 6, 2022
Mate Valkusz battled past World No. 85 and top seed John Millman of Australia to reach the semi-finals of the Danube Upper Austria Open. On a rainy Friday afternoon in Mauthausen, the 23-year-old Hungarian qualifier broke his rival three times and won three points more to seal a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory in two hours and nine minutes.
“Incredible conditions, it was rally tough. I knew that he is physically very strong and I was struggling with abdominal and shoulder pain,” said Valkusz after his first win over a Top 100 player. “It was not an easy match but I feel well on court during this tournament. One of my biggest achievements so far. I am really happy right now.”
World No. 309 Valkusz, a winner of 13 singles titles on the ITF Pro Circuit, will next challenge Jurij Rodionov of Austria, who benefited from the retirement of Attila Balazs from Hungary due to injury.
“As a player, you never want a match to end like this. I would have liked to have played it out,” Rodionov said. “I wish Attila a speedy recovery and hope that he will be fit again soon. At the beginning I was really nervous today and had to get used to it first. My opponent was really good and didn’t make it easy for me, especially at the beginning. The longer the match lasted, the better I got into it and made the big points. I’m in really good shape and enjoy playing here. It’s incredibly professional and we players feel incredibly comfortable. The situation won’t get any easier in the semi-finals tomorrow, but I’ve gained a lot of confidence.”
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In the bottom half of the draw, Dennis Novak emerged victorious from the all-Austrian affair with Lucas Miedler, overcoming the qualifier 6-7(6), 6-1, 7-6(5). The No. 8 seed of the €90,280 ATP Challenger clay-court tournament capitalized on five of his eight break-point chances to prevail after two hours and 26 minutes.
“It was a very tough and difficult match. I’m just happy that I’m through,” said Novak. “I made life difficult for myself with too many errors, it’s a constant up and down. When I served for the match, I was just too passive. I played unbelievable points in between and then I made easy mistakes again. I have to get this under control. Luki (Miedler) is in a really good shape, what he proved in the last few weeks. Now it’s time to recharge the batteries so that I will be fresh again tomorrow.”
Novak will play No. 2 seed Jiri Lehecka in the stage of the final four. The 20-year-old Czech beat fifth-seeded Radu Albot from Moldova 6-1, 6-4. The encounter lasted one hour and 12 minutes.