Five singles players booked their place in the quarterfinals on Day Four of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, but there were surprises in both the singles and doubles draws.
Mahut Progresses Through In Both Rotterdam Draws
Nicolas Mahut won two matches on Day Four, including reaching the quarterfinals at the Dutch event for the first time. He saw off compatriot Jeremy Chardy in straight sets to record his first win in four meetings against Chardy.
The match could have been completely different if Chardy had capitalized on his three break point opportunities in the first set. Those would eventually came back to haunt him as he dropped the first set 7-5. Mahut took his one and only chance to break in the opener and saved another on his own serve in the third game of the second set. This proved to be a vital moment as he then broke in the very next game, taking full advantage of his first chance in the set.
Chardy wasted three more break points trailing 4-2, which proved to be his last chance as Mahut clinched victory soon after 7-5, 6-2. Both players were evenly matched throughout, but it was Mahut’s break point conversion rate which gave him the winning edge. He converted 75 percent of his break point opportunities and saved all seven that came in his direction.
His second win of the day came in the doubles as the Frenchman partnered with Vasek Pospisil to edge the fourth seeds, Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea. Mahut-Pospisil trailed by a set, but played well to rally for the 3-6, 6-1, 10-8 win in a champions tiebreak. They now head to the semifinals.
Alexander Zverev Suprises Gilles Simon
Promising German player Alexander Zverev clinched victory in a superb end to Day Four by defeating Gilles Simon 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (5). The match promised plenty and didn't fail to deliver with only one break of serve being enough for Zverev to edge a tight first set. The 18-year-old's prospects of a win were boosted early in the second, as he broke the Simon serve again to gain an advantage. Any momentum the German had vanished quickly though as he was broken back immediately to make the score 2-2. He had two more chances to break two games later, but missed both points leading to Simon securing another break. Thet left the Frenchman to serve out the set at-love.
The decider was another tight affair with Zverev winning a long service game in the opener. He was forced to save a break point in the fifth game of the set, but could not save two. That gave Simon what seemed to be a vital break. Zverev continued to fight and was rewarded by getting the match back on serve, summoning the energy to give himself a winning chance. Neither player created another opportunity to break as the match would be decided by a final tie breaker. Zverev blew an early mini-break, but served well to enable him to set up a match point on return. A strong return forced Simon to only find the net with his next shot to give Zverev arguably the biggest win of his career thus far.
It was another impressive display from the youngster and he continues to shine in 2016 after a strong performance in Montpellier last week. As for Simon, he continues his trend in Rotterdam of either making the semifinals or falling at an early hurdle. After three semifinal appearances and now five defeats at either the first or second round.
Other Day Four Action
Another potential match of the day took place between Roberto Bautista Agut and Jiri Vesely, with the in-form 6th seed defeating the young Czech 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Viktor Troicki saw off another young star as he edged past Hyeon Chung 7-6 (5), 6-2, despite going down an early break of serve at the start of the match. Much was expected of the first evening match between Martin Klizan and Marcos Baghdatis, The topsy-turvy encounter did not deliver with four consecutive breaks of serve to start the match and Klizan ultimately winnin easily 6-3, 6-2.
Another shock on the day came in the doubles draw. Henri Kontinen and John Peers stunned second seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 3-6, 7-6 (2), 10-7 to set up a semifinal meeting with Mahut and Pospisil.
Day Five Preview
Only Centre Court is in action on Day Five, but the crowd will be thoroughly entertained with seven matches scheduled on the main court. Mahut is back in action against Troicki after an opening doubles match with Bautista Agut and Klizan following that up. Doubles top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau take on Gilles Muller and Nenad Zimonjic before the evening session, with Philipp Kohlschreiber clashing against Marin Cilic in the first match of the later session. Gael Monfils ends the day against Zverev, trying to not become the second Frenchman defeated by the rising German.
Day Five Order Of Play
Centre Court – 11:00am
NOT BEFORE 12:30pm
Nicolas Mahut – Viktor Troicki (8)
NOT BEFORE 2:30pm
Martin Klizan – Roberto Bautista Agut (6)
(1)Jean-Julien Rojer / Horia Tecau – Gilles Muller / Nenad Zimonjic
NOT BEFORE 7:30pm
Philipp Kohlschreiber – Marin Cilic (2)
(5) Gael Monfils - Alexander Zverev