Begu and Bertens do double duty

In Bucharest, ROU, home favorite and seventh seed Irina Begu will have the chance to claim both the singles and doubles title. In her semifinal match against Carla Suarez-Navarro which lasted two hours, Begu was able to break seven times. Suarez-Navarro returned the favor breaking five times, but with Begu’s overall first serve points won at 63% and first serve return points won at 57%, the Romanian was able to hold off the second seed winning 7-5, 7-5. Begu ties the head-to-head record at 2-2, and is going for her fourth WTA title. The other semifinal pitted third seed Julia Goerges against unseeded Ana Bogdan. In a three set tussle, Goerges had to get her first serve in a lot if she wanted to take charge of the point early on. Although she only got it in 46% of the time, it still proved to be effective, winning 85% of first serve points. Bogdan, got 72% of first serves in, but only won 56% of the time. This match also featured a lot of breaks, Goerges breaking six times and Bogdan breaking four times. But Goerges exploited Bogdan’s weak second serve, winning 69% of second serve return points. Whoever wins in tomorrow’s final will lead the head-to-head as Begu and Goerges are tied right now at 1-1. Begu, who is seeded No.1 in the doubles draw, won her semifinal doubles match as well with partner Raluca Olaru. The top seeds beat Katarzyna Piter and Maryna Zanevska 6-0, 6-4.

At the tournament in Gstaad, SUI, second Kiki Bertens also won both her singles and doubles semifinals. Her singles match was cut short after her opponent, Sara Sorribes Tormo retired after losing the first set 6-1 due to a left wrist injury. Bertens then teamed up with Johanna Larsson to beat Cornelia Lister and Aleksandrina Naydenova 6-2, 6-3 to advance to the doubles final. Third seed Anett Konatveit was able to end the run of Tereza Martincova, who knocked out the No.1 seed earlier in the week. Konaveit’s groundstrokes and serve were in total sync today. Winning 78% on first serve points, Kontaveit also saved 5 out of 6 break opportunities and won 51% on first serve return points. Martincova should take some confidence from her results this week, but Kontaveit was just too strong today, winning 6-4, 6-1. Kontaveit and Bertens both have won a title this year already. Kontaveit leads their head-to-head 1-0, so Bertens will be eager to tie the score.

Qualifier Matthew Ebden, ranked 249, will be trying to win his fist ATP tour level title in Newport, RI, after a straight sets win over Peter Gojowczyk. With six aces and 66% first serves in, Ebden controlled the match from beginning to end. Ebden won 74% of first serve points and 63% of second  serve return points. If he can keep these numbers, he should have a great chance at winning his first ATP level title. Gojowczyk’s game did not show up today, only making 42% of first serves in. With his second serve in play more of the time, Gojowczk got broken five times, giving Ebden his 6-3, 6-3 victory. These two have never met before this semifinal match. The other semifinal had two-time champion John Isner against fellow American Bjorn Fratangelo. Isner proved to be too much for Fratangelo today, slamming down 15 aces. Fratangelo had zero break point opportunities, but got broken three times himself. Isner was able to win 81% on first serve points and an outstanding 73% on second serve points. Another important statistic for this match was Isner’s 50% points won on first serve return. Isner wrapped up the match in just over an hour, winning 6-2, 6-4.

Fernando Verdasco, who knocked out the defending champion yesterday, could not keep the momentum going in Bastad, SWE. Verdasco took on compatriot and good friend David Ferrer, and with an overall 20 meetings in their careers, anyone could tell that this was going to be a hard fought match. Ferrer leads the head-to-head 13-7, and got off to the better start. Claiming the first set 6-1, Ferrer looked to be on course for a straight sets victory, but Verdasco’s tenacity and mental toughness gave him the edge in the second set, winning it 7-6(7-3). Tied at a set all, Ferrer’s overall higher break point conversion and first serve percentage may have been the difference in the end, ultimately taking the third set 6-4. Ferrer will now go for his third title in Bastad, but he will have to get past Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Ukrainian fired down eight aces, broke three times and saved all five break points against him to take down Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-2. Dolgopolov’s first serve percentage (73%) proved to be his biggest asset today. He will need to rely of that serve again tomorrow if he wants to beat Ferrer. Right now, the head-to-head record is at 9-4 in Ferrer’s favor, although Dolgopolov won their last meeting.

Over in Umag, CRO, the match between lucky loser Andrey Rublev and wildcard Ivan Dodig was the first semifinal. Also a #NextGenATP player, Rublev used his big serve and fighting spirit to slug out a first set tiebreak, and then run away with the match, winning 7-6(7-4), 6-1 over the doubles specialist. For those that do not know what a lucky loser is, it is when a player loses in the final round of qualifying, but is entered into the main draw of the tournament after a withdrawal of another player. Rublev will try and join a select list of players who have entered a tournament as a lucky loser and gone on to win. His opponent in tomorrow’s final will be fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi. Lorenzi, who has had most of his success come on the red clay took out fellow Italian Alessandro Giannessi in two hours and 36 mins. to claim his spot in the final. In a very competitive match, both players got 62% of first serves in, but Lorenzi won 63% on his first serve, while Giannessi managed only 52%. Lorenzi also had more break point opportunities, 15 to be exact, converting six of them; Giannessi had seven opportunities to break, but could only do it four times. Lorenzi will be going for his second career ATP tour level title tomorrow.

Tomorrow the finals will be played, and I will have the results right here. Thanks again for the read, and I hope you like these summaries of professional tennis. See you all tomorrow!

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