The quarterfinals of the Mercedes Cup took place on Friday, setting up a dream semifinal lineup. The winners on Friday featured a former a major champion on the comeback trail, a local hope, an up-and-coming star, and one of the greatest players of all time. Here’s what happened in the quarterfinals in Stuttgart on day five.
Roger Federer faced a stern test in the former of German Florian Mayer in the quarters, with the world number three showing the clutch play that has made him a champion, dominating a pair of tiebreaks to win a servers battle 7-6(2), 7-6(1). Federer was strong on serve, pounding 15 aces, winning 87 percent of his first serve points, and only surrendering one break of serve in the hour and 25-minute win. Check out our full recap of this match here.
Young gun Dominic Thiem was forced to battle back from a set down to score a narrow victory over Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. The French Open semifinalist got off to a slow start, struggling on serve in the opening frame, only winning half of his service points and being broken twice to fall behind early. He improved his serve significantly in the second set, limiting Youzhny to one break point, which the Austrian saved, and converted his lone break point to send the match to a decider. Thiem was lights out on his first serve in the final set, only dropping one out of 20 points on his first serve and saving the lone break point. The world number seven broke Youzhny as the Russian served to stay in the match at 5-6 in the third, setting a semifinal blockbuster with Federer.
Juan Martin Del Potro’s continued to progress in his comeback from injury, as he scored an impressive comeback victory over fourth seed Gilles Simon to advance to the semifinals. The first set was tight, with neither playing reaching break point. The tiebreak went the way of the Frenchman, but Del Potro took control of the match from there. The Argentine dominated on serve in the second set, saving both break points he faced and only losing six points on serve and grabbed the first break of the match to level the match. The third set was all about Del Potro. The 2009 US Open champion broke serve three times and only lost three points on serve, advancing with a 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-0 victory.
Del Potro will have a tough task in the semifinals as he will not only take on a tricky opponent but the home crowd as well, as he will do battle with German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who advanced to the semifinals with a straight sets win over Radek Stepanek. One break point in each set was enough for the seventh seed, who saved all five break points he faced and fired ten aces in the 6-4, 7-5 victory.
The semifinals will take place tomorrow, with Federer taking on Thiem, while Del Potro will face off with Kohlschreiber.