Zverev Secures Semi-Final Spot At Chengdu Open

Alexander Zverev (photo: Chengdu Open)

CHENGDU, September 24, 2023 (Press Release)

In a thrilling quarterfinal encounter featuring two seeded players, Chengdu Open top seed and former World No.3 Alexander Zverev rallied from a set down to vanquish seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 in three hours on Centre Court.

The six-foot-six German served up 13 aces and placed his opponent’s service games under immense pressure, creating a massive 17 break opportunities and converting five during the marathon match, the longest so far in the main draw of the tournament.

“I’m feeling tired but think it was definitely a much better match than yesterday. The level was there and that’s the important thing. I’m happy there was a massive crowd today and hopefully it’s going to be the same in the next two days,” said the 26-year-old.

Zverev is up against World No. 20 Grigor Dimitrov in a mouth-watering semifinal clash set to take place Monday night on Centre Court. The German will aim to extend his 7-1 head-to-head record against the top Bulgarian, having also met and defeated Dimitrov in his last two tournaments – at the US Open and Cincinnati Masters.

Dimitrov, however, will gain confidence from his resounding 6-4, 6-1 victory in one hour and 24 minutes over Aussie Christopher O’Connell this evening. Despite not playing at his best, the 32-year-old did not lose his serve throughout the match and converted three out of eight break points to make his fourth ATP Tour semifinal of the season.

“Definitely a better performance than yesterday. Of course, I still struggled with a few things, but I’m very happy when I win matches like that. When you’re not playing at 100%, not at your best, but you’re able to win. I think that what count’s the most, so overall it’s a good day,” said Dimitrov.

On his semifinal clash with Zverev, the former World No. 3 added: “It’s great – these are the matches that I want to play. Clearly, he’s been taking the last matches against me, but I feel I have always been able to fight good against him. I’m just going to tackle this as any other match. I know what to do, my body feels great, so little by little, we’re building up.”

Meanwhile, singles second seed Lorenzo Musetti advanced to his first ATP Tour-level hard court semifinal of the year, and third overall, after defeating France’s Arthur Rinderknech 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 28 minutes.

The Italian World No. 18 did not face a single break point during the encounter and converted three of the seven break opportunities he fashioned against his World No. 67 opponent.

“The match yesterday gave me a lot of confidence and I think I started pretty well today, breaking him almost immediately, which I think was the key to my win. Overall, it was a really solid performance, even from the baseline, which I was struggling with a bit yesterday. I’m really happy to reach the semifinal here in Chengdu,” said the 21-year-old.

Musetti will meet Roman Safiullin in the next round, having lost in their only previous meeting during the 2019 Bergamo Challenger, which was incidentally his first match on the ATP Challenger Tour.

“I played him in my first ATP Challenger match and we are meeting again after a long time. We have both grown up and lot and he’s playing great tennis. He showed at Wimbledon that he can play at a high level, and he’s showing that again this week. It will be a tough challenge for me but I will try my best to push to the final,” added the Italian.

Earlier in the day, Safiullin advanced to his third career ATP Tour semifinal after Aussie Jordan Thompson retired from their quarterfinal encounter at the start of the second set due to a left calf injury. Safiullin had won the first set 7-6 (7-1).

The 29-year-old Thompson had the better chances in a tightly fought opening set, but World No. 55 Safiullin displayed composure in the important moments to hold his serve, eventually securing the set after taking an early lead in the tiebreak.

“It was very tough in the first set, especially at 3-3 when I faced four break points. I managed to survive those tough moments and then in the tie-break, I would say I played my best tennis and I did what I should to win the set. I’m not always playing in the semifinal at every tournament, so I’m happy and hopefully I can pass through the semifinal,” said the 26-year-old, who will make his first career final should he beat Musetti.

Following Thompson’s injury, he and compatriot Max Purcell have been forced to withdraw from their doubles quarterfinal encounter, gifting the US-American-New Zealander combo of Marcos Giron and Rubin Statham a spot in tomorrow’s semifinal.

Giron and Statham are rekindling their partnership here in Chengdu after a six-year hiatus, with their most notable achievement in five outings as a pair being a semifinal appearance at the 2017 Lexington Challenger event.

In the other doubles quarterfinal match scheduled for today, second seeded Portuguese-Brazilian pair of Francisco Cabral and Rafael Matos defeated Kecmanovic and Kazakh partner Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-3 to move into their third semifinal of the year as a duo, with their best result coming as runners-up at Bastad in July.