Albot Moves Into Singapore Semi-finals; Cilic Saves 1 M.P.
Popyrin overcomes fellow Australian Ebden
Radu Albot booked a place in his first ATP Tour semi-final for 19 months on Friday after he beat top-seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 35 minutes at the Singapore Tennis Open.
Albot, who last reached a semi-final in August 2019 at the Abierto de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos (l. to Fritz), led 5-1 in the second set before Mannarino staged a comeback. He’ll next play fourth-seeded Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik, who struck 15 aces in a 6-3, 6-2 win over fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.
“When I had the lead with a double break [in the second set], I was thinking about holding serve, which was very important,” said Albot. “I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to lose the match. I lost one serve, but I kept my cool and I think I served well in the last game...I was aggressive with my serves.”
The 31-year-old Albot, who beat World No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut en route to the Australian Open third round (l. to Ruud) earlier this month, saved three match points against Yannick Hanfmann of Germany in the Singapore second round on Thursday.
Former World No. 3 Marin Cilic saved one match point as he kept alive his chances of capturing the Singapore Tennis Open crown. The third-seeded Croatian beat eight seed Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in two hours, saving one match point at 4-5, 30/40 in the deciding set.
“Throughout the match I think I played great tennis, my level of play was really good,” said Cilic. “At the beginning of the second set, I felt I was playing a little bit better, but then I had a poor service game, where I made a few mistakes on my serve and he too advantage of that.
“I think that the third set was solid from the both of us, it was a great match and it went to the end...At 5-5 [in the third set], I kept my focus and felt that I was going to get my chance. There were a few break opportunities that I couldn’t convert, but on the third one, I hit a great return.”
The 32-year-old Cilic is attempting to capture his ninth ATP Tour title on indoor hard courts this week. He'll next challenge Alexei Popyrin, who advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final by knocking out fellow Australian Matthew Ebden 6-4, 7-6(7) in 85 minutes. Popyrin, who hit 14 aces, saved two set points at 4/6 in the second set tie-break and closed out on his second match point.