The finals for both tournaments are set now after a very exciting semifinal day which unfortunately saw one player from each tournament pull out with an injury. The notable injured player of the two was Johanna Konta who pulled out with a thoracic spine injury that she suffered in her quarterfinal yesterday and now she is a series doubt to play Wimbledon. My feature match was Johanna Konta v Karolina Pliskova, which wasn’t played at all due to Konta’s newly sustained spine injury.
The only Antalya semifinal that was completed without an injury pull-out saw Adrian Mannarino reach his first final in over two years after he routinely moved past Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-4. It was a very solid performance from both men but it was Seppi who faltered when he needed to play his best which gave Mannarino the win. There were no breaks of serve in the first set up until the last game of the set when Mannarino put in a good receiving display and eventually converted his sixth set point to take the opener. He took that confidence straight into the second set as he broke Seppi in the Italian’s first service game. There were no more breaks in the match as Mannarino eventually served it out to reach a very winnable final against Yuchi Sugita. Sugita will be in his first final ever and that will create some nerves which the Mannarino could capitalise on. This is a big opportunity for Mannarino to get a lot of confidence going into Wimbledon, where he plays grass court specialist Feliciano Lopez in the first round.
Novak Djokovic continued his bid for a first title since Doha at the start of the year in Eastbourne as he got a 6-4, 6-4 win over the big serving Daniil Medvedev, who has been playing great so far this grass court season. It wasn’t the cleanest match from Djokovic as he went through small periods of playing well and then small periods of playing poorly. Djokovic came out firing as he broke to lead 2-0 but then came a mini slump from the Serbian. He got broken back and became a passenger in the match right up until the end of the set when he broke again to take the opener. Djokovic got an early lead again in the second set as he broke and went out to lead 3-0. This time Medvedev wasn’t able to break back until the end and after missing match points and getting broken at 5-3, Djokovic went on to break in the next game and then took the match. This is a great win for Djokovic and with every straight set win he is building up a lot of confidence for Wimbledon and the rest of the season.
In the epic battle of the Frenchman in Eastbourne, Gael Monfils ended up prevailing 6-2, 6-7(7-9), 7-6(7-4) over the established grass-courter Richard Gasquet. Monfils struggled to close out the match in both the second and third sets but eventually his raw skill managed to get past Gasquet’s stubbornness and Gael’s nerves. It was a very good first set for Monfils as he was managing Gasquet’s backhand with ease and was looking fantastic. He carried that in to the second set as he broke to lead 4-2 and he looked primed for the comfortable straight sets win. Gasquet started to play better and better but Monfils was still the stronger of the pair as he had match points at 5-4. In that game he took a nasty fall and he wasn’t able to move as well as he had been for the rest of the match. Gasquet saved another match point in the tiebreaker and he eventually forced a third set. Monfils went up a break in the final set as well and he served for the match at one point but Gasquet managed to come back again level it at 5-5. The tiebreaker was very close but despite Gasquet going up 0-3 to begin the breaker Monfils managed to roar back and get the victory, which almost got away from him.