Winston-Salem gets all new faces into the final rounds of the 2022 event.
For the third time in three rounds veteran Frenchman Adrian Mannarino dismissed a seeded player. Today, he sent Maxime Cressy, no. 4, out of the tournament in two tight sets 6-4, 7-6.
“I’m trying my best. It’s not easy. I’ve played some great players, but I’m having a really good week. I’m just enjoying the ride,” the 34-year-old said.
After the longest hard court match of the season outside of the slams which lasted more than three and a half hours, straights sets have been the norm for Mannarino.
“It’s good to win some matches for the confidence and get some good routine. I’m going to try to keep it going here a little longer,” he added.
Botic van de Zandschulp shares that same sentiment after coming through two tiebreak sets over another Frenchman, Benjamin Bonzi, 7-6(6), 7-6(1).
“Let’s hope I’m still here on Saturday. That would be great. I want to win a couple more,” the no. 2 seed told the crowd.
This is the first Dutch player to reach the semifinals in Winston-Salem, and he did so with an impressive display of serving, winning more than 75% of his first serve points while also keeping his first serve consistent.
“I think we both played at a really high level today. It was a really great match.”
The same was certainly true of the third match up on Stadium Court when the third Frenchman remaining in the draw, Richard Gasquet, took to the court to battle Laslo Djere of Serbia.
Nearly three hours and 204 points later, it would be the Serbian who reached his first semifinal, hitting 43 winners over three sets.
The current world no. 89 saved two match points during the third set tiebreaker to rally from 4-6 down to clinch the match 8-6.
Djere has played four matches, and every one has gone the distance.
“Well, it was a really tough battle, and to continue the routine I had to win in three sets,” the 27-year-old said chuckling to the appreciative crowd.
“I made sure to leave everything of myself out here on the court, and I know Richard did the same,” he added.
This is the first hard court semifinal for Djere and his second semifinal this season. He and van de Zandschulp are the first singles semifinal.
He would have to wait until midnight, though, to find out who his opponent would be between Jack Draper of Great Britain, the no. 13 seed, or the Swiss qualifier Marc-Andrea Huelser.
Both players lead with their aggressive ground strokes and big serves, but Huesler was slightly better in several key categories and managed to oust Draper 6-4, 6-4 in 80 minutes.
“I’ve felt better and better with every match I’ve played. I’m glad to have kept it up in these important moments. A lot is possible, and I’m just really looking forward to tomorrow” Huelser said.
The 26-year-old is just the fourth qualifier to make it into the semifinals in Winston-Salem. The other players on that list are Julien Benneteau in 2011, Pierre-Hughes Herbert in 2015, and Kyle Edmund in 2017.
While the singles players battled in the quarterfinals on Stadium Court, Court 2 was packed with fans and with doubles semifinal matches.
The unseeded pairing of Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski toppled Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara who were seeded 4 in this year’s event. It is the first final for Nys and Zielinksi.
In the second match, there were tense points but no surprises as Jamie Murray and Matthew Ebden, seeded 3, held on to win 7-6(2), 6-2.
The doubles final is slated to begin at 4pm on Friday with the semifinals to follow.
Gates open at 3pm.