Zverev Survives All-German Battle In Munich
#NextGenATP star to face Bautista Agut
Third seed and #NextGenATP German Alexander Zverev was made to work hard on Friday at the BMW Open by FWU, advancing to the Munich semi-finals after taking a marathon 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5) battle over seventh seed and fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff.
Zverev matches last year's semi-final finish in Munich with the win. He captured his second ATP World Tour singles crown this February in Montpellier and also took the doubles title with brother Mischa Zverev. The #NextGenATP German also improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Struff to 2-0.
Stuff broke the third seed in his opening service game and held that lead to grab the first set. Both players held serve throughout the second set, but Zverev dominated the tie-break to force a decider. Struff rallied from 2/5 in the final-set tie-break to even the score, but Zverev won the final two points to prevail in two hours and 13 minutes.
Next up for Zverev is second seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced to the Munich semi-finals for the second time in three years by defeating German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-3, 6-3 in 68 minutes. Hanfmann, currently No. 273 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, was playing in his first ATP World Tour main draw. He beat Gerald Melzer and saved one match point to edge eighth seed Thomaz Bellucci in reaching the last eight.
Bautista Agut, this season’s Aircel Chennai Open titlist, fought back from 3-5 in the deciding set in his opening match this week against Marius Copil. He leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Zverev 2-0, but they haven't played in more than two years.
“I had a great match today. I hit a lot of good returns and was solid, so I’m very happy,” said Bautista Agut. “I’m looking forward to playing Zverev again. He has a strong serve and a good forehand, so it’s going to be a tough match.”
Qualifier Guido Pella continued his impressive run with a lengthy 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(3) over fellow Argentine Horacio Zeballos. The in-form Zeballos produced an inspired comeback in the second set, rallying from 2-5 and saving two match points on his serve at 4-5 to eventually force a decider. But the qualifier refused to be rattled as both players held serve throughout the final set to force a tie-break. Pella raced to a 3/0 lead and made good on his first match point to prevail in two hours and 38 minutes.
The 26-year-old Pella, currently No. 158 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is through to his first ATP World Tour semi-final since May 2013 in Dusseldorf, which he also achieved as a qualifier. The Argentine's current ranking does not reflect his form in recent month, as evidenced by a win over Grigor Dimitrov this March at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami.
Pella will play #NextGenATP Korean Hyeon Chung, who won all three games against Slovakian Martin Klizan on Saturday when their match resumed to advance 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Their quarter-final contest was suspended on Friday due to darkness with Chung leading 6-4, 3-6, 3-2. Now Chung will face Pella not before 3 p.m. local time.
Third seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah reached their second straight ATP World Tour doubles final with a comeback 3-6, 7-5, 10-7 win over Brian Baker and Nikola Mektic, avenging their loss to Baker/Mektic last week in the Budapest final. The Colombian duo will play fourth seeds Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos or French pair Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the final.