Martin Masters Zapata Miralles At Neckarcup

Andrej Martin (photo: Florian Heer)

HEILBRONN, May 12, 2022

Andrej Martin headlined Thursday’s quarterfinals at the NECKARCUP as the 32-year-old Slovakian upset defending Heilbronn champion Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain 7-5, 6-2 in the opening match of the day.

Under blue sky and perfect weather conditions at the Tennis Club Trappensee, the No. 8 seed of the €90,280 ATP Challenger clay-court tournament capitalized on six of his 12 break-point chances and won 57 per cent of the total points played to secure victory in one hour and 31 minutes. Martin has reached his first semi-final since the Maia Open in Portugal in December last year.

“It’s maybe surprising but last week I played Slovakian club matches and I did well, won all of them and gained some confidence. I am happy for winning a couple of matches in a row, as I was struggling in singles during the last period. It was a tough match with tough rallies but I was solid in the important moments.”

However, the World No. 144 would almost not have made it to Heilbronn but thanks to his Austrian doubles partner Tristan-Samuel Weissborn, he decided to play the NECKARCUP. “This week another Challenger is held in Shymkent in Kazakhstan, a tournament I won twice. I was thinking to go there, because I like the conditions but my partner really wanted to play here. As he often has to adjust his schedule to mine, so I thought this time it would be my turn. In the end I am very happy about this decision,” the Bratislava native explained with a smile.

Former World No. 93 Martin will take on Czech qualifier Jonas Forejtek in the stage of the final four. The World No. 259, a winner of two Junior Grand Slam doubles titles, rallied past Swiss alternate Alexander Ritschard 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 12 minutes.

“I am very happy that I am in the semis. I lost a lot of time in quarters, so that’s great to be through,” said Forejtek, who also practiced at the Alexander Waske Tennis University in Germany over the last couple years. He understands German, learned it at school, but hasn’t spoken the language for at least three years.

Forejtek’s next goal is to win a Challenger title. “I will also try to get into the qualifying of the Grand Slams. I will not get into Roland-Garros, but I have secured a spot at Wimbledon. To be ranked around World No. 150 by the end of the summer would be great but I will just go step by step.”

Altmaier remains solid

In the top half of the draw, top seed Daniel Altmaier was the dominant player against Thiago Tirante from Argentina. The 23-year-old from Kempen sent down three aces and won 85 per cent of his first-service points to prevail 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 23 minutes.

“I was solid right form the start, everything worked out well today. I was 0-40 down in the final game but and managed to come back. I am very pleased with my performance,” said Altmaier, who reached the semi-finals without dropping a set.

Up next for the home favourite will be last year’s runner-up Daniel Elahi Galan. The No. 3 seed from Colombia battled past fifth-seeded Chun-hsin Tseng of Chinese Taipei 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 after two hours and 48 minutes.

We both played well. It was a close match. It’s hard to say what made the difference in the end. I am just really happy to be in the next round,” Galan said.

RESULTS – MAY 12, 2022Singles – Quarterfinals[1] D. Altmaier (GER) d T. Tirante (ARG) 63 62[3] D. Galan (COL) d [5] C. Tseng (TPE) 57 63 64[8] A. Martin (SVK) d [4] [WC] B. Zapata Miralles (ESP) 75 62[Q] J. Forejtek (CZE) d [Alt] A. Ritschard (SUI) 57 63 63

Doubles – QuarterfinalsA. Martin (SVK) / T. Weissborn (AUT) d [1] D. Molchanov (UKR) / J. Withrow (USA) 62 64[2] I. Sabanov (SRB) / M. Sabanov (SRB) d M. Bortolotti (ITA) / S. Martos Gornes (ESP) 61 75J. Sels (NED) / B. Stevens (NED) d [4] H. Reese (USA) / S. Verbeek (NED) 64 76(5)N. Barrientos (COL) / M. Reyes-Varela (MEX) d V. Cornea (ROU) / F. Fallert (GER) 64 75