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'Wunderkind' Zverev To Face Top Seed Ferrer

Hamburg, Germany

Zverev© bet-at-home Open 2014Alexander Zverev rallied from a slow start to reach the semi-finals.

Alexander Zverev is living the dream at the bet-at-home Open in Hamburg, and he has no intention of stopping yet. The 17 year old reached the semi-finals of his hometown tournament on Friday as he battled past fellow Hamburg resident Tobias Kamke 0-6, 7-5, 6-3.

The former junior World No. 1 is the first 17 year old to reach the semi-finals of an ATP World Tour event since Marin Cilic lost to Feliciano Lopez in the 2006 Gstaad semi-finals and the youngest ever to reach the semi-finals of an ATP World Tour 500 tournament. Should he reach the final, he would be the youngest player to reach a tour-level final since Rafael Nadal lost in the final of Auckland in 2004.

World No. 285 Zverev had never won a tour-level match coming into Hamburg and advanced to the quarter-finals with dropping a set, beating Robin Haase, fifth seed Mikhail Youzhny and 11th seed Santiago Giraldo.

Zverev recovered from a slow start against Kamke, winning just six points in the first set, to fight back and beat the No. 83-ranked Kamke in just over two hours. His next challenge will be against top seed David Ferrer.

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"I wasn't nervous, I just didn't expect him to play as well as he did in the first set," explained Zverev. "He played unbelievable. I just didn't know what to do. I think I played a really great match after the first set. Luckily I got the break at the beginning of the second [set] and I'm happy with the way I ended it."

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Ferrer wasted no time booking his semi-final berth, dismissing fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-2 in just 66 minutes. The 32-year-old Ferrer is 15 years older than his semi-final opponent and is bidding to reach his 44th tour-level final.

"It’s never easy but for sure it was my best match this week," said Ferrer. "I’m happy for that. I think the first and second round I didn’t play my good tennis, I just played good in some moments. Today, I played all the match good, without a lot of mistakes and playing aggressive and consistently with my forehand. I’m happy with my game and because I am in the semi-finals."

The No. 7-ranked Ferrer is chasing his second ATP World Tour title of the season this week, following his victory on clay in Buenos Aires (d. Fognini) in February. As a wild card, he is making his first appearance in Hamburg since a semi-final run in 2009 (l. to Davydenko).

World No. 46 Leonardo Mayer reached his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season as he dismissed Dusan Lajovic 6-1, 7-5 in 75 minutes. The Argentine won 74 per cent of his service points and broke Lajovic three times to claim his 20th win of the season. Mayer reached his first tour-level final in Vina del Mar (l. to Fognini in February).

For a place in the final, Mayer will face seventh-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who defeated Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-4 in 77 minutes. The 30-year-old Kohlschreiber is chasing his second title of the season, having triumphed on home soil in Dusseldorf (d. Karlovic).

"He's a tough opponent. He takes a lot of risks," said Kohlschreiber. "I had a great day. I played a really solid game and I think that was the key to the match. I was returning very well and I was dictating the points. I'm really happy with my performance today and really hungry for the semi-finals."

Top Seeds Reach Final
Top seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares cruised past third seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 6-3, 6-4 to reach their sixth ATP World Tour final of the season. The Austrian/Brazilian duo were victorious at The Queen’s Club (d. Murray/Peers) and finished runners-up in Doha, Auckland, Indian Wells and Eastbourne. They are looking to go one better than their 2013 effort, when they lost in the Hamburg final (l. to Fyrstenberg/Matkowski).

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