Bemelmans makes history at European Open

For the first time in his career, Ruben Bemelmans has reached the semi-finals of an ATP tournament. In his quarter-final he was too strong for the Portuguese Joao Sousa, beating him in three sets. In the next round, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awaits. David Goffin is the other Belgian who gets to fight for a place in the last 4.

Bemelmans and Sousa fought a particularly exciting battle in the Lotto Arena. Both gentlemen have an excellent service game, which soon dictated the match. In set one, Sousa, who beat Benoit Paire and Ivo Karlovic in earlier rounds, was a tad stronger and won the set 6-4. Set two was extremely evenly matched. Both Sousa and Bemelmans did not give the other an inch during their service game. Bemelmans, with the help of local supporters, took the tiebreak and leveled the match. The third set started off similarly. At 3-3, Bemelmans showed his best tennis and broke Sousa’s service. Bemelmans did not give Sousa a chance to get back into the game and tomorrow he will be playing his first semi-final at an ATP tournament (Saturday 21/10) at 2 pm.

Of course Bemelmans was very pleased after his victory. “Today I played at a high and consistent level, Sousa started strong, but gradually I adapted to his level. In set two I played very aggressively and brought more quality to my game. I kept my head cool and that paid off. I feel physically and mentally very strong for tomorrow, I will give everything to reach the final, “ said Bemelmans.

In the semi-finals Bemelmans will meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the second seed of the European Open. Tsonga took two sets from his compatriot Julien Benneteau. After an exciting first set, Tsonga, No. 17 in the world rankings, took the set after a tiebreak. Set two went a lot faster: 6-2. Tsonga certainly does not expect an easy match against Bemelmans. “I have known Bemelmans for years, he is a dangerous and complete player. It will certainly not be easy, and of course he will have all the supporters behind him here in Antwerp.”

The fifth day of the European Open began with the first semi-final of the doubles. Scott Lipsky and Divij Sharan faced Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers. Dodig and Granollers started very strongly and played a smooth first set which they won 6-0. In the next set, Lipsky and Sharan began to boost their level. The American and Indian suddenly gelled perfectly and took set number two 6-4. In the subsequent super tiebreak Lipsky and Sharan continued to play in the zone: 10-5. In the final, the winners of the match between Santiago Gonzalez / Julio Peralta – Wesley Koolhof / Artem Sitak await.