By Florian Heer
(July 18, 2014) HAMBURG – It was quarterfinal action on Friday in Hamburg and play started with an all-German clash between Tobias Kamke and Alexander Zverev. The two wild cards, both reside in Hamburg, met only 17 days ago at the ATP Challenger in Braunschweig, where the emerging youngster gained the title. The only 17-year-old Zverev, last year’s junior world No. 1, has been the story of the week so far. The teenager gained his first victories on the ATP World Tour beating Robin Haase, Mikhail Youzhny and Santiago Giraldo to become the first 17-year-old contesting a quarterfinal of an ATP 500 event since Rafael Nadal in Dubai in 2004.
Zverev, however, had a bumpy start into today’s match, lost his first service game and received a warning after only 8 minutes of play due to racket abuse. The youngster acted like an unforced error machine from the baseline and consequently lost the first set in only 21 minutes to love. The world No. 285 made it on the scoreboard in the second game of the second set and from then on he seemed to find his rhythm.
Supported by the majority of the crowd, Zverev became stronger the longer the match lasted. Eventually, the 17-year-old served the match out winning 0-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes to become the first player of his age to reach a semifinal at an ATP 500 event since Marin Cilic in Gstaad in 2006.
“Tobias played very well in the first set and I really felt that I needed to change some things. So I played more slices to break his rhythm. I would have lost the match for sure, if Tobias continued to play like this in the beginning. It is really nice to reach the semis here and by the start of this week I wasn’t thinking that this could happen,” said a happy Zverev afterwards.
“It is a goal to crack the top 100 but the players inside this ranking are of another level than the players ranked 180 or 190. It will be a huge challenge for me to get inside this group,” the German youngster stated.
“I haven’t had a clue that David Ferrer is in my half of the draw here until a friend told me this morning during practice. I knew that Pablo (Andújar) is still in the draw as well but I really didn’t know my possible opponent in the semi-finals right after the match,” Zverev explained after he wasn’t able to name his two next possible opponents during the on-court interview.
Kamke was disappointed after the match but found some nice words, though, and was full of respect concerning his opponent. “If Alex stays healthy, I’m convinced that he will have a great future without any limits,” Zverev’s former club teammate stated.
Tournament director Michael Stich seemed to be satisfied as well after the youngster’s victory. “Physically he is still very strong and he plays a very solid game throughout the week. He has strong nerves and simply acts really cool on court. Of course I feel a bit sorry for Tobi but I also hope for a full house tomorrow and that a lot of people will come out to watch the new German tennis hope,” the former Wimbledon champion was looking forward to Saturday’s semi-finals.
In a match of two supposed underdogs Leonardo Mayer faced Dusan Lajovic for the first time. The Argentine defeated Austria’s youngster Dominic Thiem the round before and the 24-year-old Serbian reached the quarterfinal after his 3rd round opponent Filip Krajinovic was forced to retire due to illness. Mayer, who is currently ranked at a career high 46, was untroubled and only had to save one break point in the entire match. After 75 minutes the 27-year-old from Buenos Aires served out winning 6-1, 7-5 to reach his second semi-final of the season.
It followed an all-Spanish affair with the tournament’s top-seed David Ferrer taking on Pablo Andújar. On Thursday, the world No. 7 extended his head-to-head lead over Andreas Seppi to 8-0 after seeing off the Italian in three sets in almost three hours. Andújar advanced to his third quarterfinal of the season with a comfortable straight set victory over Dustin Brown. Friday’s encounter was one-way traffic in favour for Ferrer. The 32-year-old from Javea controlled the match right from the beginning and Andújar needed 45 minutes to get on the scoreboard in the third game of the second set. Ferrer sealed victory in 66 minutes winning 6-0, 6-2.
“For sure this has been my best match of the week so far. In the first two matches I didn’t really play good tennis in some moments but today it was much better. I made less errors, played more aggressively with my forehand and I’m happy with my game as well as to be in the semi-finals,” the winner said afterwards.
“I’ve never played with Alexander Zverev before but this week was impressive. Of course I respect him like any other player on the tour. He is a really good player with a good serve and a good forehand. He has a bright future, which is a nice thing for the tennis in Germany. He is not having any pressure and my goal will be to stay focused on every point. I hope that the people will enjoy the match tomorrow,” Ferrer said about his next opponent.
In the final match of the day, the second remaining seeded player, Philipp Kohlschreiber, faced Lukas Rosol for the second time within two weeks. The Czech defeated Hamburg’s seventh seed in straight sets at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart last week. This time, Kohlschreiber was able to take revenge through a comfortable victory in 77 minutes winning 6-4, 6-4 and advanced into his fourth semi-final of the season.
Florian Heer travels the tennis tour with a focus on ATP Challenger events and the ITF Future Circuit! Follow his twitter account @Florian _Heer.
RESULTS – FRIDAY, 18 JULY 2014
Singles – Quarter-finals
 [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) d P Andujar (ESP) 60 62
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) d L Rosol (CZE) 64 64
[WC] A Zverev (GER) d [WC] T Kamke (GER) 06 75 63
L Mayer (ARG) d D Lajovic (SRB) 61 75
Doubles – Semi-finals
 A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d  M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 63 64
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 19 JULY 2014
CENTER COURT start 13:00
 J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) vs M Draganja (CRO) / F Mergea (ROU)
Not Before 15:30
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) vs L Mayer (ARG)
Not Before 18:00
 [WC] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [WC] A Zverev (GER)