Bautista Agut Eyes St. Petersburg Title; Dzumhur On Form
Struff ends Tsonga's bid
Roberto Bautista Agut reached the St. Petersburg Open semi-finals for the third successive year on Friday by sweeping past seventh seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-1, 6-2 in 72 minutes. “The score looks easy, but the match wasn’t,” said Bautista Agut. “Viktor is always tough to beat, a very good fighter and serves well.”
The top-seeded Spaniard raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set, then recovered from a 0-2 deficit in the second set en route to extending his perfect FedEx ATP Head2Head record to 4-0 against Troicki, who is now 20-22 on the year.
Bautista Agut, who has already won two ATP World Tour hard-court titles this year at the Aircel Chennai Open in January (d. Medvedev) and the Winston-Salem Open in August (d. Dzumhur), is currently No. 15 in the Emirates ATP Race To London. He will next play Italian third seed and 2012 finalist Fabio Fognini, who beat Lithuanian lucky loser Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-0. From 3-3 in the first set, Fognini won nine straight games.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur, the player Bautista Agut beat in the Winston-Salem final, continued his fine run of form. The 25 year old recovered from 0-2 in the deciding set to beat first-time ATP World Tour quarter-finalist Liam Broady, a British qualifier, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in one hour and 52 minutes.
“It definitely feels great to be in the semi-finals – another great week for me,” said Dzumhur. “It was a tough match, but at the end I pulled out some good shots and defended well."
When asked what the key to his run of form was, Dzumhur – 25-7 at all levels since 19 June – admitted, “I wasn’t playing badly at all, but I couldn’t find what was missing in my game. When I came to the hard courts of Los Cabos, I felt so much more confident than before. I feel that confidence came from practising a lot and after a few good wins, I am playing my best tennis in the past five weeks.” He is through to his third tour-level semi-final of the season.
Dzumhur will next play eighth seed Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany on Saturday. Struff denied second-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga his 30th match win of the year after the German recovered from a set and 1-3 deficit to triumph 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 49 minutes. Tsonga, who has recorded 30+ victories from 2008-16, dropped to 29-11 on the season after his first loss in four meetings against Struff.