When Brandon Nakashima is this dialed in, there is no stopping the #NextGenATP American.
Nakashima booked his spot in the semi-finals at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Quimper, France, on Friday, ousting home hope Constant Lestienne 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 39 minutes. Broken just once all week at the Open Quimper Bretagne Occidentale, the 19-year-old is picking up where he left off to conclude his breakthrough 2020 campaign.
Nakashima stormed back from a second-set deficit to dispatch Lestienne, reeling off four straight games when the Frenchman served to force a decider. Having also earned convincing wins over Maxime Janvier and Federico Gaio earlier in the week, the California native is just one victory from reaching his second Challenger final.
It has been a ruthless run of late for Nakashima, who owns nine wins from his last 10 matches at the Challenger level. Also the champion in Orlando to cap the 2020 season, he will look to extend his hot streak against Slovakia’s Filip Horansky on Saturday.
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At the age of 28, Horansky is playing some of the best tennis of his career. The World No. 184 upset top seed Lucas Pouille, before storming past another former Top 50 opponent in Maximilian Marterer. In the quarter-finals, he would take down an in-form Kacper Zuk 6-3, 7-5, converting all three break points earned. Competing in a Challenger semi-final for the first time since 2019, Horansky will face Nakashima for a spot in the championship.
In other action, Sebastian Korda made it two #NextGenATP Americans in Saturday’s semis. The second-seeded 20-year-old advanced when France’s Enzo Couacaud retired with a lower back ailment at 4-1 in the first set. After battling through a pair of deciding-set marathons to kick off his Quimper campaign, Korda spent just 22 minutes on court before Couacaud was forced to stop.
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The champion in Eckental, Germany to end 2020 and runner-up at the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach to open 2021, Korda is projected to crack the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday. He will look to reach his third straight final when he faces Benjamin Bonzi next. Bonzi has been in a groove of his own, having also finished runner-up last week in Istanbul.
The Frenchman earned a third straight deciding-set victory on Friday, overcoming qualifier Illya Marchenko 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4. After outlasting Marc-Andrea Huesler and Yannick Maden in third-set tie-breaks earlier in the week, he needed two hours and 42 minutes to edge Marchenko.
In the doubles championship, it will be Jamie Cerretani and Marc-Andrea Huesler facing French duo Gregoire Barrere and Albano Olivetti. Barrere and Olivetti are seeking their second team title after winning on the indoor hard courts of Parma last year.
Quarters Set In Antalya
It was picture perfect conditions for a second straight day at the Club Megasaray Open, as the quarter-final slate was completed. Following nearly five straight days of stormy weather, it was survival of the fittest on Friday in Antalya.
Croatian teen Duje Ajdukovic rallied from a set down and saved a match point in defeating Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(7) in nearly three hours. The qualifier won his fourth match in three days and will face another ATP stalwart in Tommy Robredo on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Akira Santillan earned the upset of the week in dismissing second seed Daniel Elahi Galan 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. The Aussie is set to battle Lorenzo Musetti next. The #NextGenATP Italian had the day off after earning a pair of victories on Thursday, dropping a combined six games to reach the quarters.
Saturday’s other quarterfinals feature top seed Jaume Munar against Italy’s Alessandro Giannessi and Turkish wild card Cem Ilkel against lucky loser Tomas Martin Etcheverry.