There weren’t many surprises in Friday’s quarterfinal matches at the Croatia Open at Umag, Swedish Open at Bastad and Claro Open in Bogota. At Umag, Top-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils rallied through to the semifinals after losing the first set and being down a break in the second against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber. Monfils’ next opponent will be Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who won, when fellow Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer retired mid-way due to injury. Second seeded Roberto Bautista Agut and Portuguese Joao Sousa also entered the semifinals at Umag. In the Skistar Swedish Open at Bastad, Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas scored an easy victory over Belgium’s Steve Darcis to reach within two matches of defending his 2014 title. Others to reach the round-of-four at Bastad were; two-time champion Tommy Robredo of Spain, Frenchman Benoit Paire and Germany’s Alexander Zverev. In Bogota, Croatia’s no.1 seeded player Ivo Karlovic had to work hard before overcoming a stiff challenge from Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. Other players, who joined Karlovic in the semifinals were; Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, Germany’s Michael Berrer and Australian Bernard Tomic.
At the Croatia Open top-seed Gael Monfils of France had a tough opponent in Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber in his quarterfinal game. The German won the first set 6-4 and exerted pressure in the second by breaking Monfils early. But Monfils found his rhythm at the right time to fight back and took the second set to the tiebreak. The Frenchman continued the momentum to wrest the tiebreak and played much better in the decider to take the match 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. For a place in the final, Monfils will have to get past Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who came through after his compatriot Andreas Haider-Maurer retired mid-way through the third set, when the scores read 6-7, 6-1, 3-0. In the other matches on Friday, Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Borna Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-3. Agut’s semifinal opponent will be Portugal’s Joao Sousa, who saved a match point before upsetting fifth-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2, 3-6, 7-6.
In the Skistar Swedish Open in Bastad, defending champion Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas moved one step closer to his second consecutive title, when he triumphed over Belgium’s Steve Darcis 6-3, 6-4. Cuevas will next meet Frenchman Benoit Paire, who disposed of Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-4, 6-2 in less than an hour. Two-time Bastad champion and second-seed Tommy Robredo of Spain reached the semifinals by defeating Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-3. Robredo will next play Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who came through in three sets against Brazil’s sixth seeded player Thomaz Bellucci 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
In the Claro Open at Bogota, top-seeded Ivo Karlovic was in trouble at the start of his quarterfinal match against Czech wild-card Radek Stepanek. The Croat lost the first set 3-6 but managed to force a tiebreak in the second. After taking the tiebreak, Karlovic broke Stepanek once in the third set and romped home to a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory. In the semifinals on Saturday Karlovic will take on third-seeded Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who defeated Tunisia’s 7th seed Malek Jaziri 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. In two other quarterfinals on Friday, Michael Berrer of Germany defeated Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and Australian Bernard Tomic defeated Japanese Tatsuma Ito 6-1, 6-4. Tomic and Ito will take on each other in the other semifinal on Saturday.
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