ATP Nottingham: Gilles Muller defeats Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets

Gilles Muller became the first man to reach the semifinals at the Aegon Open after defeating the fourth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 10 minutes.

Both players had made good starts to their campaigns in Nottingham, with Muller battling back from a set down to defeat Mikhail Youzhny in the third round, while Dolgopolov defeated both Kyle Edmund and Frank Dancevic in straight sets to reach this stage. The pair had only met once prior to this match, with the Ukrainian winning that on 6-4, 6-4 at the Valencia Open back in 2012.

The eighth seed has been on a fine run of form on the grass of late, after reaching the final in s-Hertogenbosch (l. Mahut), he then reached the quarterfinals at the Queen's Club for the second successive year (l. Cilic) and has backed those results up so far here in Nottingham.

Solid start from Muller

Both players held their opening couple of service games routinely, but it was the fourth seed who was under pressure first after a double fault and two unforced errors left him facing two break points. The Ukrainian saved the first with an ace but produced an unforced error on the forehand side to drop serve and fall 5-2 behind.

The signs looked ominous for the fourth seed as he fell 0-30 down in his following service game, but responded with some timely first serves to force Muller to serve for it. The man from Luxembourg had no trouble as he took the set 6-3 in 26 minutes.

Dolgopolov was appearing in his first grass court tournament of the season. Photo: Getty
Dolgopolov was appearing in his first grass court tournament of the season. Photo: Getty

Dolgopolov Can't Keep Up

The Ukrainian gave a perfect response at the start of the second set, capitalizing on a double fault from Muller to break courtesy of a brilliant down the line forehand passing winner. Frustratingly for the fourth seed, a couple of forehand unforced errors meant that he could not hold on to his break of serve.

Dolgopolov, a semifinalist last year and in 2010,  was under severe pressure in his next two service games, facing a break point in game five and two break points in game seven, but the Ukrainian held on to move 4-3 in front. Muller was not to be denied for a third time however. The man from Luxembourg recovered from 15-30 down from serve before breaking the fourth seed on his second break point chance in the game.

Muller was pushed to deuce in the final game of the match, but came up with the goods including a second serve ace to complete the win 6-3, 6-4.

The Luxembourg native will play Pablo Cuevas in the semifinals after he defeated Marcos Baghdatis from match point down in the second quarterfinal of the day.