Gerald Wins Melzer Sibling Battle In Kitzbuhel
Lajovic also advances to semi-finals on Thursday
“It was very difficult for both of us. It’s hard to face somebody you love that much because you don’t want to hurt that person. Winning points just doesn’t feel right,” said Gerald. “I might have been lucky with the rain break as the court became a bit slower. I was able to make returns that I didn’t make in the first set and a half. Then we got more into rallies and that’s when I felt way more comfortable.”
Jurgen won their only previous meeting last year in the opening round of qualifying at Wimbledon, and it appeared he was on track for a repeat after comfortably taking the opening set. But Gerald, ranked No. 107 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, rallied midway through the second set to win 10 of the last 11 games.
The win puts Gerald in his second ATP World Tour semi-final. His previous final four showing came in Munich in May 2015. He has excelled this year on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning three titles in the first two months of 2016.
Next up for Melzer is fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, who reached his third ATP World Tour semi-final and second of the season (also Quito) after defeating eighth seed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5. Lorenzi and Melzer have their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry tied at 2-2, with all four previous meetings coming on clay. Melzer won their most recent battle this January in the final of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Bucaramanga, Colombia.
“He knows what’s coming, I know what’s coming. It will get physical tomorrow,” said Gerald. “He is a really tough opponent. He doesn’t give you much, but I think I have a game that can hurt him so I am looking forward to tomorrow. I am going to give my best. That’s all I can do.”
Sixth seed Dusan Lajovic reached his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the year (also Sao Paulo) on Thursday by beating #NextGen player Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2. The 26-year-old Serbian improved to 2-8 lifetime in quarter-finals and will now challenge World No. 123 Nikoloz Basilashvili, who knocked out fellow first-time quarter-finalist Adam Pavlasek 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3 in one hour and 56 minutes.
Thiem-Novak Advance in Doubles
Local wild cards Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak moved into the semi-finals by defeating second seeds Guillermo Duran and Maximo Gonzalez, 2-6, 6-3, [10-7]. Third seeds Jonathan Erlich and Santiago Gonzalez dismissed the pairing of Roberto Carballes Baena and Andres Molteni 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-finals. The unseeded team of James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald also advanced with a 4-6, 7-6(4) [10-8] victory over Facundo Bagnis and Kachanov in one hour and 39 minutes.