Haas, Evans, Cilic, Phau in Zagreb Indoors semis
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Top-seeded Tommy Haas fought hard to defeat Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov and reach the semifinals of the Zagreb Indoors tournament on Friday, while Daniel Evans of Britain upset No. 3 seed Phillip Kohlschreiber from Germany.
Defending champion Marin Cilic also reached the semifinals — his fourth in Zagreb — defeating fellow Croat Ivan Dodig. German qualifier Bjorn Phau beat Dudi Sela of Israel to reach his first semifinals in nearly five years.
Haas secured a place in his first semifinals since winning Vienna last October, beating Kuznetsov 7-6 (6), 6-4. Both players kept their serve very solid during the first set and not a single game went to deuce.
Kuznetsov saved two set points before losing the first set, but Haas broke in the opening game of the second set and kept the advantage, having to save two break points leading 2-1.
“Winning the first set in the tie breaker was very important for the momentum,” Haas said.
This is the 13th career tournament for Haas being the top seed, but he has never reached the finals.
After reaching the quarterfinals for the first time at any ATP event, the British No. 2, Evans, went one step further Friday ousting Kohlschreiber 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Evans had stepped in after Radek Stepanek withdrew from the tournament with a heel strain.
Evans has won three matches in the main draw and is now the first British player other than Andy Murray who reached the semifinals on a tour-level tournament since James Ward reached the last four at Queen’s Club in London in 2011.
“It’s nice to be consistent. This is a good achievement,” said Evans, who will face Haas in the semis.
Fifth-seeded Cilic, who triumphed in Zagreb in 2009, 2010 and 2013, converted four out of five break points to beat fourth-seeded Dodig 7-5, 6-4 in just 92 minutes. Cilic now has an 18-1 record in the last five attempts here.
Cilic started strong, leading 5-2 in the first set, before Dodig appeared to fight back winning three games in a row. But Cilic soon broke again before closing the first set.
Things turned around briefly in the second set, when Dodig was up 2-1 with a serve, but Cilic broke back immediately. Proving to be too strong for his opponent, Cilic converted his second match point with a great passing shot.
“There were some ups and downs on both sides. Some great shots and some wrong decisions,” Cilic said.
Cilic will face Phau, who beat Sela of Israel 6-4, 6-3. Sela won the three opening games, but Phau came back to win 10 of the next 12.
Phau last played an ATP semifinal in Houston in 2009.