Kacper Žuk and Mathias Bourgue will face off in tomorrow's 3rd ATP Challenger Split Open final. And while Žuk needed three sets to win against Elias Ymer, one was enough for Bourgue since his compatriot, Quentin Halys, unfortunately, had to hand over the match.
Žuk was the first to reach the finals, defeating Ymer 6:7 (5), 6:0, 6:1. In the first set, Žuk had 2:0, then 6:5 with a service and then 4-2 in a "tie break", but he lost everything. He then went to the "toilet break" and returned as a new player. He became much more aggressive and equalized the shots, and especially with the forehand, he did damage to the opponent. Ymer had no solution. The second and third sets together lasted 60 minutes, and the first 55.
- There were a lot of mistakes on both sides in the first set. I felt I could get the set smoothly, but I played really bad in the most important moments. Even if I played passively, I made a mistake, so I knew I had to be more aggressive in the continuation - the 22-year-old Žuk told us after his tenth match in Split.
He was knocked out in the semi-finals by Kavčič last week, and then in the second tournament he started from the qualifications. Now he reached the second final at the Challenger and the second one this year. He will seek his first title.
- I hope the time has come for the first title, but I believe this is just another in a series of finals - said the Polish tennis player who secured a place in the Top 200 for the first time in his career. He entered the Split tournament as the 212th on the list.
And the first set of the second semifinal was decided in a "tie break", and just when we were expecting the continuation of the French derby, an anticlimax occurred. Quentin Halys surrendered the match due to a problem with his left foot. The set went to Bourgue with 7:6 (8) after Halys lost the lead of 4:1 in games and then even four set-points in the "tie break" (6-3 and 7-6). We were ready for an equally exciting and uncertain continuation of the match, but Halys simply could not continue.
Bourgue certainly didn't want to make it to the finals like this, but it's tennis.
- I feel sorry for Quentin, we are good friends and it's weird to end a match like this. We fought well, I expected the continuation in the second set. I started with a minus, and then I played with more energy and started forcing him to move more. In the "tie break", I played more calmly and that was decisive - commented the 27-year-old from Avignon. In his career, he has won two Challengers, and Žuk will be his opponent in the fight for the next one.
- Žuk has been playing very well since the beginning of the year. A tough match with a lot of long substitutions awaits me.
The finals are scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 am at the Central Court of TC Firule.
ATP CHALLENGER SPLIT OPEN, semifinals
Žuk (Polj, Q) – Ymer (Šve) 6:7 (5), 6:0, 6:1
Bourgue (Fra) – Halys (Fra) 7:6 (8), predaja Halysa
Schedule for Sunday, April 18th
Central court (11:30 am), finals:
Mathias Bourgue (France) – Kacper Žuk (Poland, Q)