By Florian Heer
(May 17, 2014) HEILBRONN – Saturday’s semifinal at the Neckar Cup in Heilbronn started with the second meeting between Marton Fucsovics and Andrej Martin. Their last match took place in Kosice in 2012, where the Slovakian emerged victorious in straight sets. He has also been the world No. 165 from Bratislava, who has been the only player to reach the stage of the final four without dropping a set.
Saturday, however, it was the Hungarian being the more dominant player throughout the match. Fucsovics took more risky shots and consequently hit some nice winners from the baseline. Martin was efficient only at one moment, when he broke the Hungarian’s service in the 10th game of the second set to close the frame and took the match the distance. Yet, in the end the world No. 238 was the more solid player and deserved the victory winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes.
“It was harder than I expected today. Martin played really well and didn’t give up the match. He was fighting until the end so I had to push him a lot,” the winner stated afterwards. “In the first set I played pretty well and in the second Martin started to push pressure on me with a couple of backhands down the line. During this time, he was in control of the match. In the third set I fought back by moving closer to the line and I came more to the net. That’s why I was able to win the match,” Fucsovics analyzed.
In the second match on Centre Court the only remaining seeded player in the draw, Jan-Lennard Struff, took on qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis for the first time. The German dominated the match right from the beginning, broke his opponent’s service in the fourth and eighth game of the first set as well as in the fourth and sixth game of the second. Kokkinakis obviously seemed to be tired after playing his seventh match this week. Moreover, the Australian teenager struggled with some physical problems. Struff took advantage, served eleven aces to finally seal the victory in 65 minutes winning 6-2, 6-1.
“The match was closer than the scoreboard says. Thanasi played a good match. Not only today but also throughout the week. I served well and I was able to put some pressure on him. Of course I’m happy to get into the final,” the winner was satisfied afterwards. It will be Stuff’s first final since the ATP Challenger in Bergamo in February this year. “I’m happy that I could play some solid tennis this week. Nonetheless, when you reach the final, you want to win it,” the German added about his ambitions for Sunday and the chance of taking his first title since 2012.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.