STUTTGART, June 12, 2015
Six of the top eight headlined quarterfinals action on a sunny and hot Friday with temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart.
The tournament’s number one Rafael Nadal advanced to the stage of the final four, beating 22-year-old and Stuttgart native Bernard Tomic for the third time in their third tour meeting. The 29-year-old Spaniard, who had to fight more than two and a half hours to overcome Marcos Baghdatis yesterday, needed three sets again to defeat the youngest remaining player in the draw, winning 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. After taking the opening frame, Nadal double faulted on the first set point for Tomic in the tie-break and the match went the distance. The former world number one, who dropped in the ATP rankings to tenth position, gained an early break in the decider and defended the advantage until the end of the encounter to seal victory in two hours and 20 minutes.
“I played a good match. I had my chances, also match point in the second set but Bernard played a fantastic set. I played with the right tactic, being aggressive with a good level of tennis. I am very happy to be in the semi-finals,” Nadal told afterwards. “First few months of the season haven’t been good. I was too nervous on court, but I feel that I can play better again but I do not exactly know where I am. I think I am playing well at the moment and just try to continue. I will fight to get into the final. I feel strong and have enough motivation to keep going,” the Spaniard said and hopes for a better second half of the season. At the moment, Nadal feels tired after two long matches within the last two days. “It will not make a difference tomorrow, I am ready,” he added on a more competitive note.
The top-seed will face Gael Monfils on Saturday, who extended his head to head records against Philipp Kohlschreiber to 10-2, winning 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. The 28-year-old Frenchman hit 17 aces and capitalized on three of his ten break point opportunities in the one hour and 56 minutes match.
After a short rain delay of about 30 minutes, the remaining two quarterfinals could be played. On centre court, the tournament’s number two Marin Cilic had to work hard beating German qualifier Mischa Zverev 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. The 26-year-old Croat fired 19 aces to overcome the world number 502 after two hours and 21 minutes.
Cilic was understandably relieved after his victory and spoke to Barbara Schett on court:
Zverev was disappointed with the result but happy with his game and the week in Stuttgart. “The entire tournament was great, in particular the Davis Cup atmosphere on centre court was awesome today. I haven’t experienced something like this before,” told Zverev afterwards. “Unfortunately, the grass court season is too short, but I want to continue playing like this. Then I will have the chance to come back with a better ranking and maybe an even better game.”
Cilic will face Viktor Trocki in the semi-finals. The eighth seed defeated big-serving Sam Groth, who “only” hit 13 aces, so that Troicki was able to break the Australian’s service two times, winning 7-6, 6-1 in 69 minutes. The 29-year-old Serbian, who is playing in Stuttgart for the first time, advanced to his second semi-final of the season.
Tennis TourTalk had a quick chat with Troicki right after his match: