Johnson Books Semi-Final Berth At Irving Tennis Classic

Steve Johnson (photo: mclassicstudio)

IRVING, March 17, 2018

Two seeded players advanced to the semi-finals of the $150,000 Irving Tennis Classic held at the Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club at Las Colinas. The tournament’s No. 3 Steve Johnson defeated #NextGenATP Australian Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-2 on Friday afternoon.

On another windy day in Dallas County, the 28-year-old US-American was in total control of the encounter. Johnson didn’t face a break point, converting four of his own to seal victory in exactly one hour of play.

“I’m happy to still be here in Irving. It’s a place where I’ve done well in the past, so I hope I can keep it going until Sunday,” Johnson told afterwards.

“Today I played well, I played smart in the wind, and I served well.”

Next up for the World No. 52 from California will be Mikhail Kukushkin of Kasakhstan, who edged past Bjorn Fratangelo from the United States 6-3, 6-3.

No. 4 seed Marton Fucsovics ended the great run of qualifier Petros Chrysochos of Cyprus. The 26-year-old Hungarian won 61 per cent of the total points played to celebrate a 6-3, 6-3 victory in 69 minutes.

“I have to concentrate on my game and stay focused on every point,” Fucsovics commented on the tricky conditions. “Now I will try to enjoy the sun, maybe go to the swimming pool, and relax for tomorrow.

Berrettini remains on course

Fucsovics, who entered the main draw with a wild card, will next take on Matteo Berrettini. The in-form Italian fought past Mirza Basic from Bosnia and Herzogovina 6-4, 6-7, 6-1. Berrettini struck nine aces, winning 80 per cent of his first service points to prevail after two hours and six minutes.

“It was a tough match…but I think we had a great match and I’m happy,” said Berrettini, who extended his ATP Challenger win streak to eight straight and 11-1 this year.

The 21-year-old Rome native knocked out top seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan and US-American Tim Smyckez to reach the stage of the final four.

“You know, that’s tennis. I lost a tough match at Indian Wells and I came here ready to fight, to do my best and – I mean – right now I’m in the semis, so I’m really happy.”

Berrettini awaits a tough match against Fucsovics. “He’s playing unbelievable, and he got to the fourth round of the Australian Open so he’s confident for sure, but I’ll try my best and I think it will be a good match.”