Francisco Cerundolothe Argentine tennis sensation, qualified for the semifinals of the Hamburg ATP 500in Germany, after winning his eighth game in a row: he beat the Russian aslan karatsev, number 37 in the world ranking. “El Pistolero”, as his father calls him, won in three sets, with a score of 6-3, 4-6 and 7-6 (7-4). After having won the Swedish Open in Bastad last week, the Argentinian was ranked 24th in the real-time ranking. This Saturday, not before 10:30 (Argentine time) he will face the Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who beat the Spanish Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4, 6-3.
“What a crazy party”, the Argentine wrote on his Twitter account after the victory and his qualification for the semifinals. “Very happy with the pass to the semis. We continue tomorrow! ”, Added Cerúndolo, who also replaced one of his points against Karatsev, played on court 1 in Hamburg.
Cerúndolo came to be 6-3 and 4-1 up and could have defined the match on the fast track. Two games to settle in the semifinal of the German tournament, which is played on clay. Karatsev, former number 14 in the world, was remade based on some mistakes by the Argentine, and the variation in his shots. He went on to have a 10-point rally against none for Cerúndolo. That earned him five consecutive games and keep the second set of the match. The Argentine, who had eliminated Andrey Rublev (second seed) on Thursday, was never able to overcome the tennis resurrection of the Russian, who seemed dejected minutes before. It was a sample of how changing the game was every time it entered the definition zone.
The third and final set maintained the trend of the second. Cerúndolo tried to vary the tactics. He sought with drops that his rival, accustomed to short points and trying a winning shot every time he hits the ball, would suffer when responding. At times the strategy worked. like when he recovered from a 1-3 loss and got to 3-3 in that sleeve, the decisive one.
However, Karatsev broke the Argentine’s serve again and, after confirming his serve, went 5-3 up. Cerúndolo was on the ropes: he couldn’t be wrong and he had to recover from that break suffered. He held serve and took the match to a 4-5 that still gave him some hope of success. And the Argentine did it: he never gave up. Karatsev hesitated when he couldn’t and that cost him his serve. Everything went back to zero with that 5-5 on the scoreboard, after just over two hours of play. The two players were on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The one who made the fewest mistakes would win. Cerúndolo, fist clenched, he played a seamless game (6-5) and transferred the pressure to his rival, now obliged.
“I can not believe you”, Cerúndolo lamented after a return at the net. Karatsev tried to bomb and the Argentine responded. The Russian went up 40-15 and then held serve. A long backhand from the Argentine led the resolution to the tie-break. In those decisive points, the Pistolero brought out his powerful right hand and aimed for the straps. Now it was Karatsev on the defensive. A kick in the net between the two ended with a wrist from Karatsev and a ball to the counterleg to make it 1-2 and continue in the game. The Argentine began to feel the effort of the match in his body; of the last few weeks.
A setback in the net of the Russian left Cerúndolo to two points to win. The Argentine went to look for him, found the approach and the lob from his rival ended up outside the field. There was celebration, and a breath to himself for the guts shown during the match, especially in part of the second set and in the third. Karatsev had 27 winners and was always looking for winning shots. The Argentine defended as much as he could and, with his forehand, hammered his rival to get another huge victory.
The compact of Cerúndolo’s victory against Karatsev
Cerúndolo knows that since the great match with Rafael Nadal in the center court of the All England, in Wimbledon, the circuit talks about him. His triumph in Bastad after leaving on the way to Casper Ruud and to beat another Argentine in the final, Sebastian Baez, they transformed him into a rival of care. In a sport as mental as tennis, streaks are essential. The Argentine showed that he has talent and that his physique is prepared for long five-set marathons. It is competitive among the best and it only remains for him to continue growing: on his agenda is the Italian Musetti. Cerúndolo wants to continue making history in the fourth semifinal of his best season.