Muller, Cuevas advance to Nottingham semis
Puig first qualifier in Eastbourne semis since 2013
In this episode of ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot, Aussie legend Pat Cash gives his tips for the perfect volley technique.
Gilles Muller is on a roll. The Luxembourg native downed No. 4 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-4 at the Aegon Open Nottingham on Thursday to move into the semi-finals. It was Muller’s third quarter-final match on grass in as many week. The left-hander lost to Nicolas Mahut in the final of ‘s-Hertogenbosch two weeks ago and fell to Bernard Tomic at The Queen’s Club last week. Muller remains in contention to claim his first ATP World Tour title.
Muller only dropped three first-serve points in the 70-minute encounter and converted three of nine break point opportunities. Dolgopolov, who was playing in his first grass-court event of the year, punished Muller’s second serve (14/21 points won), but was on the receiving ends of 14 aces in the pair’s second FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Dolgopolov had won their previous match on hard court in Valencia four years ago.
In the semi-finals, Muller will take on second seed Pablo Cuevas, who saved a match point in beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8). Cuevas was down 4-5, ad-out in the deciding set, but held serve and converted on his fifth match point in the deciding tie-break to advance. The Uruguayan is a match away from his first tour-level grass-court final. His previous six career ATP World Tour final appearances (5-1) have all come on clay.
Top seed Kevin Anderson was leading Steve Johnson 6-7(6), 7-5, 4-3 in their quarter-final match when play was halted due to darkness after two hours. Anderson unsuccessfully served for the first set at 5-4 before losing it in a tie-break. The South African forced a decider by breaking Johnson’s serve on the final point of the second set. The pair combined for 31 aces on Thursday – 21 for Anderson and 10 for Johnson.
Awaiting the winner will be seventh seed Andreas Seppi, who rallied to beat Dudi Sela 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Sela converted his lone break point of the match to win the first set, but succumbed in two hours and two minutes. Seppi is now 2-0 against Sela in grass-court meetings, having downed the Israeli in three sets in Nottingham eight years ago.
Top Doubles Seeds Move On
Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo overcame a late challenge from Robert Lindstedt and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi to move into the semi-finals 6-3, 6-7(4), 10-5 in 85 minutes. Dodig/Melo saved five of six break points faced and struck eight aces. They will next face Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin.
Already into the final are Dominic Inglot and Daniel Nestor, who beat Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky 7-6(4), 6-4. The 43-year-old Nestor has 88 career tour-level titles, but will play for his first alongside Inglot.
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All second-round qualifying matches were completed on Wednesday, Day 3 of qualifying at Wimbledon, with the rising stars of the game showing off their best tennis. Three #NextGen stars made their way into the final round of qualifying, including top seed Karen Khachanov of Russia, No. 12 seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, and No. 29 seed Quentin Halys of France.
Khachanov survived a scare against Enrique Lopez-Perez of Spain before prevailing, 6-7(4), 6-4, 9-7. The rising Russian cracked the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings this spring after winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles in the past nine months. He’ll play Matthew Barton of Australia on Thursday for a chance to make his main draw debut at Wimbledon.
Nishioka continued his top form by moving past talented left-hander Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal, 7-5, 6-4. The Japanese star has played in the main draw of every Grand Slam besides Wimbledon, but has a chance to change that when he plays fellow #NextGen star Halys in the final round of qualifying.
Halys advanced after weathering a tight match against Zhe Li of China, 7-6(5), 6-4. The Frenchman sits at a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 142 after strong results this year, including winning his first ATP Challenger Tour title in April at the $50,000 event in Tallahassee, Florida.
The upset of the day went to British wild card Edward Corrie, who continued his dream run by defeating No. 10 seed Michael Berrer of Germany, 6-0, 6-3. The win gave Corrie, ranked No. 358 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, his best result in five career appearances in Wimbledon qualifying. He’ll look to make his Grand Slam main draw debut when he plays Albano Olivetti of France.
Other players to advance on Wednesday include No. 2 seed Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic, No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo of the United States and 2011 junior Wimbledon champion Luke Saville of Australia.
All final-round qualifying matches will be held on Thursday. Visit here for full results and updated drawsheets.