John Millman, Frances Tiafoe, Adrian Mannarino and qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori advance into Semi-finals of Astana Open.
Author: Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan
Nur-Sultan, October 30 (Media Release): Fourth seeded John Millman of Australia saved 2 match points, while American Frances Tiafoe came back from being a break down in the third set to both register come back wins and enter the semifinals of the ATP 250 Astana Open being played at the National Tennis Centre in Nur -Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Fourth seeded John Millman saved 2 Match Points in the third set and then took 7 straight points in the tiebreak after being 0-5 down to register a 6-7(5),6-4,7-6(5) win in a 2hr and 51min thriller . Millman will now take on 22 year old World No. 64 Tiafoe in their 1st ATP Tour semi-final of the year.
Tiafoe edged past World No. 83 Belarusian Egor Gerasimov 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-5 in a 2hr 35 min quarter final battle today. Third seeded Adrian Mannarino had an easier outing stopping the good run of American Mackenzie McDonald in straight sets. Mannarino overcame a late challenge from American 25 year old World No. 209 Mackenzie McDonald winning 6-1,6-4 in a 1 hour and 40 minute match to make it into the last four.
Mannarino will now clash with qualifier Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland who kept up his impressive run in the tournament as he accounted for home Favorite Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-1 in 1 hr and 21 mins .
The 31 year old World No. 45 Millman was trying to reach his first semi-final since last October when he was a finalist in Tokyo. He lost the first set in a tiebreak to the 23 year old World No. 59 American Tommy Paul after both players traded breaks during the set. In the second set, Millman, who has made two career ATP finals, looked more settled and got a decisive break in the 8th game against the hard serving Tommy Paul to win the set 6-4 .
In the third set Paul, who earlier this year has already earned wins over top players like Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov, raced to a 5-2 lead in the set. However, Millman fought hard and managed to reduce the deficit to 4-5. In the 10th game, the 23-year-old Paul, who reached the Adelaide International semi-final in January, hit a double fault at match point and then hit a forehand long two points later to let Millman level the match at 5-5.
In the tiebreak, the American took an early lead and raced to a 5-0 lead. It looked all over for Millman at that stage but he did not give up. He hit a couple of winners and made some excellent service returns to take 7 points in a row and close out the tiebreak 7 points to 5 and the match 7-6(5) and so advance to the last four.
"I was very happy to survive these tight moments in the match. It's always satisfying to get through close matches like this. It was not an ideal situation to be in and to need to come back from 2-5 down in the 3rd set and then from 0-5 in the tiebreaker but one thing I'm known for is fighting until the last point on the court ", said Millman while speaking after the match.
I am extremely happy to have survived to fight another day here. I really like it here and these positive thoughts help to make you win matches". They are treating us so well at the Astana open and that makes you want to extend the stay .
"My next target is to recover for tomorrow and to be ready for another tough battle against Tiafoe ", he said
The 22 year old World No. 64 Tiafoe made it to his 1st ATP Tour semi-final of the season by advancing past World No. 83 Belarusian Gerasimov 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-5 in a 2hr 35 min battle .
Tiafoe, who captured his 5th ATP Challenger Tour title of career at Parma, Italy, during the 2nd week of Roland Garros, won the first set 7-6(5) after being a set point down in the 12th game of the set.
Tiafoe then found himself broken in the very 1st game of the second set with Gerasimov attacking from the very first point. The Belarusian, who advanced in February to his 1st ATP Tour final of career at Pune (losing to Vesely), was broken by Tiafoe in the 10th game, despite serving 3 aces.
But the 27 year old Belarusian recovered to break Tiafoe’s serve in the 11th game and then capture the second set 7-5 to force a third set.
In an exciting third set Gerasimov broke Tiafoe in the 7th game of the 3rd set and went up 4-3. He was then one point away from going up 5-3 in the set but squandered his chance by serving a double fault and then was broken by Tiafoe to level the score at 4-4.
Over the next four games we saw some an excellent display of backhand slices and whipping forehand crosscourt to put Tiafoe back in control and Tiafoe finally broke Gerasimov in the 12th game of the third set to advance into his first semi-final of the year
"It was a very tough match. He served very well and he is such a good player"' , said Tiafoe after his match. “I didn't serve well and I gave him too many opportunities on my second serve. It wasn't easy at all and I was just happy to get through” , he added
Third seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino overcame a late challenge from American 25 year old World No. 209, Mackenzie McDonald, beating him 6-1,6-4 in 1 hour 40 minute match to advance into to the last four.
The 32 year old World No. 39 Mannarino, who with this win is reaching his first semi-final of the year, said " I was pretty happy with the win today. The match could have been easier as things were going very well in the first set. The second set was close but I served well at the end ".
Ruusuvuori, Finland's top player, qualified for the third straight week at an ATP tour event and for the fifth time overall this season. He Opened with 62 60 win over wildcard Skatov and followed this with a 62 36 64 victory over eighth seeded Australian Jordan Thompson to reach his 1st ATP Tour quarter-final.
The young Finnish player, who is playing his fourth straight match, played solidly by moving the Kazakhstan star, Kukushkin, around the court to create openings. Kukushkin, who rallied from behind to beat top seed Benoit Paire 67(4) 76(2) yesterday looked jaded today
In beating Kukushkin, the 21 year old Finn also became the first Finnish player to reach an ATP Tour semi- final since Jarkko Nieminen in Kuala Lumpur in September 2014
RESULTS : FRIDAY
[Q] Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN ) d Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-3,6-1
 Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs [PR] Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-1,6-4
 John Millman (AUS) d  Tommy Paul (USA) 6-7(5),6-4,7-6(5)
Egor Gerasimov (BLR) vs Frances Tiafoe (USA) 7-6(5),5-7,7-5
 Sander Gille (BEL) / Joran Vliegen (BEL) vs Jonathan. Erlich (ISR) / Andrei Vasilevski (BLR) w/o
Marcelo Arevalo (ESA) / Tomislav Brkic (BIH) d  Marcus. Daniell (NZL) / Phillip Oswald (AUT) 7-6(4) ,3-6,11-9
 Ben McLachlan (JPN) / Franko Skugor (CRO) d Sander Arends (NED) / Artem Sitak (NZL) 6-3 ,7-6(4)
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