Saville last remaining seed in Canberra
Luke Saville has the seeding and the form to make a major push for the Canberra Tennis International title - but first, he must navigate his way past in-form Czech Robin Stanek.
Luke Saville is the only remaining seed at the 2015 Canberra Tennis International after edging past American Marcos Giron in a third set tiebreaker 6-4 1-6 7-6(1) to reach the semifinal on Friday.
Despite dropping the second set and finding himself a break down early in the decider, fifth-seeded Saville managed to keep his composure and control proceedings in the deciding moments to earn the victory.
Giron, ranked world No.426, earlier in the week ousted Queenslander John Millman, the ATP Challenger event’s top seed.
“It wasn’t looking good for a bit. But I managed to stay in the contest,” Saville admitted.
“I played a really good tiebreak and yeah, I’m pretty happy to be in the semis.”
Saville now faces heavy-hitting Czech Robin Stanek – already a dual titlist on the Australian Pro Tour this year – who unceremoniously ousted third seed Jordan Thompson from the tournament 6-0 6-2 in the second round.
On Friday, 20-year-old Stanek, who currently sits at a career-high world No.376, defeated qualifier Sebastian Fanselow of Germany 6-4 7-6(3).
“Stanek will be no pushover but I feel I’ve got some really good form going,” Saville said. “I’m pretty keen to capitalise on it, not only this tournament but for the rest of this year.”
He said his renewed vigour was due to a combination of factors.
“I’m serving a lot better. That’s a big part of my game. It’s just a relief to know that you get out of trouble with a big first serve. That’s a massive one for me.
“I also feel like I’m playing a lot more balanced. Not crazy aggressive or too passive, just kind of knowing what to do out there. But most of all, I’m just really enjoying myself at the moment. Obviously, I’m still very focused, but it’s just taken a little bit of pressure off.”
Meanwhile, the Aussie men guaranteed themselves at least one finals spot after Matt Reid continued his impressive run in Canberra, taking out in-form seventh seed Li Zhe of China 7-6(4) 6-2, while Queenslander Ben Mitchell overcame South Australian eighth seed Alex Bolt 6-4 6-2.
With a head-to-head record of 3-3 and both in commanding form, their semifinal match-up on Saturday will no doubt be hotly contested.
In the concurrent women’s ITF Futures event in Canberra this week, 17-year-old Queenslander Kimberly Birrell continued to impress with another strong display, this time defeating American qualifier Jessica Wacnik 6-2 6-2.
Birrell – hoping to make her second consecutive final (Brisbane) – will face American Asia Muhammad in the semifinals while Japanese pair Eri Hozumi and Misa Eguchi will play for the other final spot.