The ATP 250 Astana Open qualifying field halved from 16 to eight on Saturday with a main draw ticket just one victory away

19.09.2021    Views: 121
Source: KTF press-service
Author:
Alex Sharp
 
The ATP 250 Astana Open qualifying field halved from 16 to eight on Saturday with a main draw ticket just one victory away 
 
The top seed tumbled and a local charge clinched a dream win as the play launched into action in Nur-Sultan. Maxime Cressy certainly has the «hunger» to keep building on an impressive campaign. The No.2 seed has turned heads on the major stage, qualifying for the US Open, before saving four match points and reeling in world No.16 Pablo Carreno Busta from two sets down en route to the second round. 
 
The world No.149 was clinical to start his Astana Open 6-3, 2-1 against Bernard Tomic, who retired with a right finger injury.  
 
«It feels wonderful. I took the time to train and work on specific things in my game after the US Open,» claimed the American, seeking an even more aggressive approach on return.  
«I was eager to get back on court. The beginning for the match reflected that, my hunger to keep doing well. It’s very difficult to stay in the zone against a player like that, but I was very focused right from the beginning.» 
 
Seemingly suiting the spotlight, Cressy also qualified to then reach the second round at the Australian Open back in February. Regular calls with mental coaches at the USTA have helped Cressy to sharpen his focus week in, week out.  
 
«I’ve been working on the mental side a lot. I’ve noticed some patterns. When I play in a Grand Slam I feel so much more focused and hungry. It gives me plenty of confidence but I need to be like that at every single tournament,» stated the 24-year-old.  
«I need to stay grounded, to take it match by match. That’s something I wasn’t doing enough in the past. My focus has to stay in the present. I need to stay disciplined in the routines that work for here.» 

 Cressy’s reward is a duel with No.7 seed Elias Ymer for a main draw spot. The world No.167 dispatched local wild card Grigoriy Lomakin 6-3, 6-2 without facing a break point.  
 
Kazakh Denis Yevseyev, an alternate into the qualifying field, edged towards his maiden ATP singles main draw by posting 6-4, 6-4 on the scoreboard to dismiss No.5 seed Illya Marchenko.
 «I can’t say this is the best moment of my life, but it’s definitely one of the best,» stated the 28-year-old, who has made steady progress at the Challenger Tour level.  
«I’ve never played this kind of event. This experience for me is something I can’t describe. I’m really happy, I hope this was not the last win here.» 
 
Yevseyev was aware of Marchenko’s threat having known each other for a long time and the world No.402 hailed his tactical execution. No.3 seed Marc Polmans stands in the way of the home hopeful’s dream, with extra motivation provided in the stands. 

 «When you’re playing at home, everybody supports you. For me it’s so important people believe in me and they’re helping me, pushing me towards the Davis Cup team. I need to show them this level, that I deserve it.» 
 
Top seed Yurij Rodionov fell at the first hurdle 7-5, 6-4 to Australian Matthew Ebden. The 33-year-old will face world No.195 Dmitry Popko on Monday. Nur-Sultan native Popko put in an efficient display to navigate past Bulgarian wild card Simon Anthony Ivanov 6-2, 6-3 in an hour on court. 
 
«I was in control and feeling good. Maybe I had a bit more experience than my opponent,» stated the world No.195. «It was a slow start to the season, but step by step I’ve found my confidence and my game. 
 
«It feels amazing to play at home in Kazakhstan. It’s just the second ATP tournament here, but it’s already really well organised and with a great atmosphere. All the players are enjoying themselves. I don’t know if there is a better tournament than this!» 
 
 
 

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