All the quarterfinals were completed at both tournaments today and we saw a wide range of results. There were a lot of players who were forced to play two matches yesterday in Eastbourne due to the backlog of matches after the rain the we have seen in the previous few days. My feature match heading into the day was Simona Halep v Tsvetana Pironkova but I won’t be writing about that one as a set of it had already been completed yesterday.
Marcos Baghdatis came the bit closer to winning his first title since 2010 as he got a 6-7(0-7), 6-3, 7-6(8-6) win over the giant killer Ramkumar Ramanathan in Antalya. This was a very entertaining match and it was all about how the men were serving game by game that decider most of the sets. Baghdatis went up an early break in the first set and served for it but Ramanathan came back to force a tiebreaker, which he ended up sweeping through. Baghdatis got an early break again in the second set but this time he didn’t let go of it as he ended up serving out the set with a single break. Both men were fantastic on serve in the decider as neither dropped serve once and Baghdatis didn’t even face a break point. The tiebreaker was just as hard fought as the match itself but in the end Ramanathan had two unsuccessful net rushes to put the nail in the coffin of the Indian’s dream run.
Adrian Mannarino got a great birthday present today in Antalya as he looked down and out but ended up making a great comeback against Fernando Verdasco, who was playing great tennis, to win 2-6, 7-5, 6-2. We don’t normally see experienced players like Verdasco choke but that’s what we saw happen out there today and it resulted in Mannarino making his first semifinal of the season. Verdasco looked great in the first set with his backhand firing and a lot of his serves resulting in free points which saw him take a very comfortable first set. It then looked like he would carry that through the second set to get a straight sets win as he got a break and then went up 4-1. What happened at this point was Verdasco losing all his form which resulted with him not being able to get his first serve in much and his forehand not being anywhere near as powerful as it normally is. He only won only one out of the next seven games as Mannarino dominated the rest of the second and sent the match into a third. Mannarino was doing in the third set what Verdasco was doing in the first set and that combined with ample unforced errors from the Spaniard saw Mannarino close out the match easily. This will be a tough one to swallow for Verdasco but he will need to shake it off and get in a good headspace for Wimbledon.
Richard Gasquet booked his quarterfinal spot in Eastbourne yesterday as he moved past the dangerous Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 with a routine performance. Gasquet was able to handle Anderson’s serve very well and it was very impressive to see the Frenchman not do anything more than he needed to but just doing enough to get the win. The first set looked like it was going to a tiebreaker as both men were serving at a very high level and there had been no break points up until 4-4 when Gasquet converted his single break point before serving it out easily. Gasquet had a slight lapse in his first service game of the second set as Anderson held several break points but eventually the Frenchman survived the game and there were no more break points until 4-4. At this point Gasquet held his single break point, which he took, and then he went on to serve out the match. This is a good win for Gasquet as he is attempting to build up confidence for Wimbledon, where he is looking to really kickstart his season.
Bernard Tomic made it to the quarterfinals of an event for just the second time this year today as he defeated Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-2 in quite an easy match. This is a fantastic win for the Aussie and probably his best win of the season so far as Zverev is a major contender on the grass with his serve-and-volley playing style. Tomic came out hitting all his shots with an incredible amount of power and most of them were going in which saw him go out to a 3-0 lead and then there were no more service breaks from there till the end of the set. Tomic only got better for the second set as he went for all his shots, like he always does, but the majority of them were going in for the first time in a long time. Tomic served amazingly in the second set as he dropped just one point behind his serve for the whole set and he broke the big serving German twice. I haven’t seen Tomic get such a convincing win over a top player for over twelve months so I will be curious to see if the Aussie can bring this form tom Wimbledon.
In some off court news, it has been announced that Venus Williams is at fault for a car accident at an intersection which resulted in the death of a elderly man. This is a very sad situation for everyone involved and you can only imagine what not only the family of the victim are going through but also Venus Williams herself. She is still playing Wimbledon but it would be very understandable if this is still physiologically effecting her at that time.