It was a day of surviving for seeded players at the Sardegna Open, where Ben Shelton and Ugo Humbert advanced to the semi-finals Friday at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Italy.
Shelton held off home hope and #NextGenATP player Giulio Zeppieri 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. The 20-year-old lefty Shelton, who will next meet Laslo Djere, broke to love at 5-6 in the decider to move past the finish line in Cagliari.
Humbert escaped a four-hour, 13-minute marathon to defeat Taro Daniel 6-7(11), 7-6(7), 6-4. The Japanese player had two match points on his serve at 5-3 in the second set and another chance to close the match in the tie-break. But the sixth seed Humbert held his nerve to reach the last four, where he will next face Daniel Elahi Galan.
“I just tried to play each point 100 per cent,” Humbert said. “It was an amazing fight. I’m super proud of myself, I was mentally strong in the key moments. I’m still in the tournament, so it’s a really good feeling.
“The first set, I was a bit nervous in the key moments. I had a few set points, but after that, I tried to stay calm and focus. I was cramping a bit at the beginning of the second set. But I found my rhythm and tried my best every point.”
Galan, 26, has needed a deciding set in all three of his matches this week to reach the semi-finals. After upsetting top seed Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarter-finals, the Colombian ousted Borna Gojo 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on Friday.
Fourth seed Djere booked his ticket to the semi-finals by rallying to beat Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Andy Murray overcame French teenager Luca Van Assche 6-2, 7-6(6) after winning 32 of 38 first-serve points at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole. The three-time major champion Murray won four straight points from 4/6 in the second-set tie-break to advance to the last four, where he will meet lucky loser Harold Mayot.
“It was a very tough end to the match, it could’ve gone either way,” Murray said. “Had it gone to a third set, it would’ve been tough for me, after a long match yesterday. I just managed to get over the line in the end. I did quite well considering I recovered well from yesterday, which is really positive.”
Andy Murray celebrates a quarter-final victory at the Aix-en-Provence Challenger. Credit: Jared Wickerham/ATP Tour
Top seed Tommy Paul and David Goffin are set to meet in the Aix-en-Provence Challenger semi-finals after securing victories on Friday. American Paul fended off all three break points faced to down Austrian Jurij Rodionov 6-4, 6-2. Goffin rallied from a set down to oust #NextGenATP star Arthur Fils 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(6).
The Frenchman Mayot, who upset top seed Brandon Nakashima in the quarter-finals, needed one hour, two minutes to defeat Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-1.
🇺🇸 Paul vs Goffin 🇧🇪
🇬🇧 Murray vs Mayot 🇫🇷 #ATPChallenger | @OpenduPaysdAix pic.twitter.com/8GZeME0uCz
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 5, 2023