David Goffin was unable to qualify for the singles semi-finals on Friday evening. The man from Liège lost in two sets to ex-European Open winner Richard Gasquet. The other semi-finalists are Sebastian Korda, Dominic Thiem and Félix Auger-Aliassime.
After his smooth victory against third-series leader Diego Schwartzman (ATP-19), Goffin had to face Richard Gasquet (ATP-82), who won the first edition of the European Open in 2016, in the quarterfinals. In the first set, Gasquet took the best start. He was able to cash in on a fourth break ball from Goffin for a 3-1 lead. Gasquet smelled his chance and put Goffin under pressure in the first set. A second break was enough to win the first set: 6-2. In the second set, Goffin was right on target, but a pack of break balls failed to produce a break on either side. A decisive tiebreak had to be the deciding factor. Goffin started their the best and the Liège player forced a set ball. But Gasquet hit back and angled the exciting tiebreak in anyway 7-6(6). After 1 hour and 53 minutes, Gasquet thus qualified 6- 2, 7-6 for the semi-finals. There, he will play Auger-Aliassime (ATP-10).
On Friday, a few more great duels were on the menu. One was between Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz and 17-time ATP winner Dominic Thiem. Hurkacz won in his first match in three sets from young Briton Jack Draper (ATP-48), while Thiem was too strong in earlier matches for our compatriot Michael Geerts (ATP-268) and Francisco Cerundolo (ATP-28).
Hurkacz (ATP-11) took a blitz start and thundered to a 5-2 lead with an early break. The Pole impressed with seven aces in the first set. It became 6-3. Although Thiem showed flashes at times, with some clever passing shots. In the second set, the two players balanced each other a bit more. The tiebreak brought the decision. A true thriller: the 25-year-old Hurkacz ran out to 3-0 and 6-4 but Thiem saved two match balls, one of them with help from the net edge. The Austrian worked away another third match point and grabbed the tiebreak 6-7(9). The third set was also full of tension. Both players had to undo a break point and it came to a tiebreak again. Hurkacz started with a double fault, in it a fabulous Thiem took a 1-4 and 2-6 lead. The Austrian finished the match on his fourth match point.
Thiem will play American Sebastian Korda (ATP-36) on Saturday in the semifinals, who smoothly knocked eighth-series leader Yoshihito Nishioka (ATP-39). Korda also won their only previous showdown. In the first set, the American dominated the match. With 11 winners, he went through Nishioka’s serve three times. The American did not grant the Japanese a single game in barely 24 minutes in the first set. He also served strongly in the second set, going through his opponent’s serve at 3-2. Korda finished the match 6-0 and 6-2 after just 52 minutes.
The final match of the evening was Daniel Evans (ATP-26) against Félix Auger-Aliassime (ATP-10). In an exciting first set with some spectacular points, Evans was just able to make up the difference 6-4. The second set was also evenly matched. At 1-2, Auger-Aliassime failed to force a break and it still became 2-2. The second set ended in a tiebreak. It was evenly matched, but Auger-Aliassime deepened a 2-4 and 3-5 lead to win the set: 6-7(4).
The final match of the evening was Daniel Evans (ATP-26) against Félix Auger-Aliassime (ATP-10). In an exciting first set with some spectacular points, Evans was just able to make up the difference 6-4. The second set was also evenly matched. At 1-2, Auger-Aliassime failed to force a break and it still became 2-2. The second set ended in a tiebreak. It was also a draw, but Auger-Aliassime deepened a 2-4 and 3-5 lead to win the set: 6-7(4). In the third set, Auger-Aliassime got one break at 1-1, enough for an eventual 1-2 lead. The Canadian further deepened this interval to match win: 2-6.
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