Astana Open semifinalists known by now
Author: Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan
Mikhail Kukushkin had played two difficult matches earlier: first, he defeated the Argentine Federico Delbonis, and the day before he made a real sensation, beating the main contender for victory, the first seed of the Astana Open Benoit Paire from France in three sets.
Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarterfinals chose a return, and losing the first game to Emil Ruusuvuori, in the first set showed a confident game on his serve. The Kazakh sent balls to the opposite corners of the opponent, forcing him to make mistakes. But Ruusuvuori was also as concentrated as possible, taking over the game right after not the best strokes of Kukushkin, which led the Finn to a break in the sixth game. Wanting to win back the lost game as quickly as possible, Kukushkin took a risk, striking sharp forehands through. Ruusuvori benefited his powerful serve (210 kilometers per hour). The Kazakh did not waver on his serve and continued to fight for the set, but Emil Ruusuvuori had enough advantage in one break to keep the first game for him.
The second set began with Mikhail Kukushkin's serve, he still tried to play sharply on the edges of the court, but the Kazakh's mistakes allowed the Finnish to lead immediately with a break, and then secure the gap on his serve.
The fight for the third game also remained for Ruusuvuori. With the score 0:4 in games, Kukushkin played breakpoints one by one and eventually managed to get the score wet. The Kazakh imposed a long struggle on the Finn in the next game on the serve of Ruusuvuori, recording a great return through. But we must admit that today the player from Finland perfectly switched to the attack from the serve. Both of the next games and the match were left to Emil Ruusuvuori: 6:3, 6:1.
Emile Ruusuvuori will face third-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France in the semifinals.
Another match for the finals will be the battle of Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs John Millman (Australia).
The first semi-finalist of the ATP 250 Astana Open has been determined. That is the representative of the US Frances Tiafoe.
No. 1 of Belarus and the world's No. 83 Yegor Gerassimov showed outstanding tennis in every match at the Astana Open. It will just suffice to mention his latest win over Jiří Veselý.
However Gerassimov's rival in the quarterfinals was also quite uncomfortable - World's No. 64 Frances Tiafoe from the USA, who plays at the peak of concentration in Nur-Sultan with minimum faults.
From the first games, players showed a sharp, attacking game. Gerassimov gradually increased the power of serving and the pace of the game, and Tiafoe caught the opponent off guard with short strikes. None of them gave vent to their nerves on their serve, and the game naturally turned into a tie-break, where the American won with a minimal advantage.
The unsuccessful outcome of the first set for Gerassimov pushed him to take more active actions at the beginning of the second game, where he immediately made a break. Tiafoe pressed with all his power to recoup the gap in the score. Gerassimov did not give him the slightest chance to break the whole game, but he wavered, already serving for the set. The American simply gifted the Belarus player a second chance to complete the game in his favor. And again Yegor Gerassimov got nervous, on the first set point in this game he made a double mistake, on the second - he sent the ball out of the court, but on the third try he still broke the set.
Both players were at their best in the decisive set. Frances Tiafoe perfectly executed outgoing strikes, forcing Yegor Gerassimov to fight back. The Belarussian accurately chose the direction of the strike, and by the middle of the set he already felt complete confidence and began reaching the net immediately after the serve. Serving, by the way, went well for Tiafoe as well, especially in the first square, with a maximum speed of 217 kilometers per hour. Several wrongful mistakes at the net cost Tiafoe a game on his serve. The American was not very worried about this and immediately made a return break, leaving Gerassimov no room for fault on his serve. And he still made a mistake, serving with the score 5:6. With a minimal advantage in this match, Tiafoe won: 7: 6 (7: 5), 5: 7, 7: 5.
World's No. 59 American Tommy Paul has got the fourth seed of the tournament, world's No. 45 Australian John Millman, who is well remembered by fans for the match with Roger Federer at the Australian Open earlier this year, where Millman had only two points to win, but still lost to the Swiss .
In the quarterfinals of the Astana Open, Tommy Paul and John Millman showed what they do best, i.e.fast and attacking tennis. The opponents were not too careful and forced each other to rush from corner to corner with tight strokes. Paul tried to shorten it, but it didn't always bring him winning goals. The American had his first problems on serve in the fourth game. Having missed out his own serve, he immediately made a return break, leveling the situation. Soon after, thanks to another break, Tommy Paul went into the lead, but could not finish the set on his serve. Players brought the game to a tie-break, where they went neck and neck, until Tommy Paul did not realize a set point on the opponent's serve with the first attempt.
The American spent a lot of effort in the first game of the second set on his serve, but could not break it. It was easier for John Millman to start the game, and his opponent made more unforced faults during this time. The Australian managed to lead by a margin of two breaks, one of which Tommy Paul played, showing the most elegant tennis at the end of the game, but this did not suffice, Millman served for the set at the second attempt.
Even after two exhausting sets, the players did not slow down. In the middle of the third game, Tommy Paul made an important break, but with the score 5:3 on his serve did not realize two match points. Millman's performance showed that this is far from over. As a result, another tie-break was played in this match, in which Paul led 5-0, but Millman made an incredible comeback and reached the semifinals of the tournament: 6:7 (5:7), 6:4, 7:6 (7:5).
French Adrian Mannarino was nominally the main contender to win the tournament from today, because the first and second seeded (Benoit Paire and Miomir Kecmanovic) had already lost their matches. But the American Mackenzie McDonald, who beat the Kazakhstan's No. 1 Alexander Bublik at the start of the tournament, could not be immediately written off. In the last game with Andreas Seppi, he showed that he can pull himself at the right moment, eventually winning the match after a clear loss of the first set.
Today, Adrian Mannarino pulled MacKenzie McDonald into a comfortable soft, calm tennis. Much less spectacular than Millman and Paul, who played before them. And the longer it went on, the more McDonald was doing bad. Mannarino scored points with simple but precise combinations. The speed of one of his second top-spin serves was only 91 kilometers per hour, which also caused the American inexplicable difficulties. The third seed of the tournament dictated his game, where no one was making powerful strikes through. McKenzie was clearly not happy with this, but there was nothing he could do, breaking only one game in the first set.
This, of course, is not the tennis that takes the breath away for the fans, but nevertheless, this game allows Adrian Mannarino to occupy a fairly high No. 39 position in the men's ranking.
The US player did not come up with anything radically new even after the break between sets. Following Mannarino's mistakes, he finally realized a breakpoint, but still lost with the score 3: 1. Then the American realized that he was winning the points when using shortened stroked, and they brought him another game. We have to give McDonald credit for that he didn't intend to throw the match. The Frenchman pulled him into corners, and McKenzie ran after every ball, even dropping his racket. In the second game, he looked much better, but could not catch up with Adrian Mannarino, allowing him to reach the semifinals of the Astana Open: 6: 1, 6: 4.
It is the first time the ATP 250 series tournament is hosted in Kazakhstan. Spectarors are not allowed during the matches due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Beeline is the General Sponsor of the tournament.
Sponsors: Forte Bank and Mastercard.
Partners: Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport, Terra Motors, Jaguar and Land Rover, Technodom, Aqua Rossa, Technogym, Нead and ASU.
Information partners: Qazaqstan, Qazsport, Setanta, Zakon.kz, Informburo, Channel 31, Forbes.kz, Business FM.
Kazakhstan Tennis Federation
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