Semifinalists set

Americans went 2-1 today in Newport, RI. Top seed John Isner took out fellow American Dennis Novikov 6-4, 6-4. Slamming down 20 aces and winning 86% of first serve points, Isner also broke twice in his straight sets victory. Novikov also had a high first serve winning percentage, but he only got 49% of first serves in. The other quarterfinal match featured American Bjorn Fratangelo and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. In a three set match that lasted two hours, Fratangelo was able to break more times than Herbert, in fact 4 out of 5 times. In contrast, Herbert was given 11 chances to break the American, but only converted two. Fratangelo eventually won the match 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

Bastad will have a new champion this year; sixth seed Fernando Verdasco won by the same exact as yesterday, 6-3, 6-2 to knock out defending champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Verdasco won 86% on first serve points and 68% on second serve points. Combine that with three break conversions, and you have an upset. Bastad could have a former champion reclaim the title, two-time champion David Ferrer won a two hour 41 min. match against Henri Laaksonen 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(7-3). In a match that featured so many breaks, Ferrer used his experience and mental strength to overcome his fearless opponent. Andrey Kuznetsov and Alexander Dolgopolov took out seventh seed Diego Schwartzman and fifth seed Karen Khachanov respectively. Using his big serve and impressive return game, Kuznetsov proved too strong for Schwartzman today, winning 6-3, 6-3. Dolgopolov had to battle past Khachanov, and improved his head-to-head against the young Russian to 2-0. Dolgopolov was able to withstand 20 aces and four breaks against his own serve to see off the #NextGenATP player 7-6(7-5), 3-6, 7-6(7-2). Seeing that Khachanov could not win either of those tiebreak sets shows that his mental toughness needs some work, or that Dolgopolov can really step up his game in pressure situations.

Seeds continued to fall in Umag, CRO. Lucky loser Andrey Rublev continued his spirited run with a 6-7(5-7), 6-2, 7-6(7-2) win over third seed and defending champion Fabio Fognini. With a new champion at Umag in the works, it could be wildcard Ivan Dodig. Dodig, who holds a top 10 doubles ranking sent top seed David Goffin home early with a 7-5, 6-3 victory. Despite being top seed, Goffin missed two weeks of tennis, as he pulled out of Wimbledon with an injury. The rust must still be there as Dodig was able to break four times and win 40% on first serve return points. In the match between the two unseeded players, Alessandro Giannessi of Italy survived an almost three hour battle against Rogerio Dutra Silva, winning 6-7(3-7), 6-2, 7-5. Giannessi improved his record to a spotless 3-0 against Dutra Silva. Fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi came back from a first set deficit to beat talented Czech Jiri Vesely 1-6, 7-5, 6-3. Lorenzi got 70%  of first serves in and committed zero double faults. Vesely’s serve was unreliable, getting only 47% of first serves in and making 10 double faults. Lorenz gets his first victory over the Czech in four meetings.

Over in Bucharest, ROU top seed Anastasija Sevastova did not show up with her A game, losing to unseeded Ana Bogdan. Bogdan won 77% of first serve points and 68% of second serve points. On top of all that, Bogdan also broke the top seed five times, winning convincingly 6-1, 6-3. Third seed Julia Goerges was able to end the run of former top 30 player Alexandra Dulgheru, hitting seven aces in a tough 7-5, 7-5 win. Goerges also ties their head-to-head 1-1. Home favorite Irina Begu won a tough first set to eventually run away with the match, winning 7-5, 6-0 over Pauline Parmentier. Begu’s high first serve percentage and return game really came through for her today. Their head-to-head record goes to 3-2 in favor of the Romanian. Clay court specialist and second seed Carla Suarez-Navarro had the easiest match of the day. After a first set bagel, eighth Tatjana Maria was able to get three games, but it was not enough, going down 6-0, 6-3 to the Spaniard.

After knocking out the No.1 seed in Gstaad, SUI Tereza Martincova backed it up with a three set victory over qualifier Antonia Lottner. In her 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory, Martincova may have not gotten as many first serves in, but her groundstroke game proved to be the perfect back up. Martincova saved 6 out of 9 break point opportunities, while she converted five on Lottner’s serve. Lottner had an impressive win over former world No.7 Patty Schnyder in the second round, but today just made too many unforced errors. Third seed Anett Kontaveit continued her mastery over Carina Witthoeft with a 6-2, 6-4 victory today. Kontaveit goes to 3-0 against the German, using her big ground strokes to push Witthoeft around the court. Second Kiki Bertens also won today, taking out doubles partner Johanna Larsson 6-4, 6-4. Bertens used her penetrating serve and groundstrokes to take time away from Larsson on the red clay. Bertens and Larsson teamed up later to win their doubles quarterfinal match. Sara Sorribes Tormo took the last semifinal slot with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-3 win over Tamara Korpatsch. Sorribes Tormo’s spin shots have more effect on the red clay, winning 56% on first serve return points.

Tomorrow, the semifinals will take place. These tournaments offer up not only prize money, but valuable ranking points for players that need a confidence boost. I hope you guys are staying cool in this heat. I tried to run three miles without stopping today, but that heat really sapped up my energy. Look for the semifinal post tomorrow! Have a good weekend guys.

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