Atlanta, United States, 29 July 2023 | Matt Trollope

Atlanta, USA

Aleksandar Vukic has continued his brilliant week on American hard courts by outplaying Christopher Eubanks to reach the Atlanta semifinals.

It is Vukic’s first ever tour-level semifinal, and it came thanks to a 6-4 6-4 win over Eubanks, the recent Wimbledon quarterfinalist.

Eubanks may have been the better-known and more highly-fancied prospect, especially given he had the backing of a home crowd.

But Vukic improved his head-to-head record against the American to 5-2, including 4-1 this season alone.

Vukic built a 6-4 4-1 lead, and although Eubanks earned a break point to level the second set at 4-4, Vukic remained steady.

The Australian has now beaten the world No.31 and No.32 — the highest-ranked opponents he has ever defeated — in back-to-back matches, and is projected to rise to a career-best ranking of world No.74.

His opponent in the semifinals is Ugo Humbert, who beat Vukic’s countryman Alex de Minaur in straight sets.

De Minaur was the defending champion on a nine-match winning streak in Atlanta.

In doubles, John Peers won his quarterfinal alongside Marcelo Melo to set up a semifinal showdown with all-Aussie pairing Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson.

Peers and Melo progressed on Friday with a tight win over Americans William Blumberg and Rajeev Ram, concluding 13-11 in a match tiebreak.

Aussies in action – Atlanta

Men’s singles, quarterfinals
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) d [5] Christopher Eubanks (USA) 6-4 6-4
[7] Ugo Humbert (FRA) d [2] Alex de Minaur (AUS) 7-6(4) 6-3

Men’s doubles, quarterfinals
John Peers (AUS)/Marcelo Melo (BRA) v William Blumberg (USA)/Rajeev Ram (USA) 6-3 3-6 [13-11]

Men’s singles, semifinals
Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [7] Ugo Humbert (FRA)

Men’s doubles, semifinals
Max Purcell (AUS)/Jordan Thompson (AUS)
v John Peers (AUS)/Marcelo Melo (BRA)

Umag, Croatia

Alexei Popyrin has progressed to his first ATP semifinal in two-and-a-half years by way of a straight sets win over local wildcard Dino Prizmic.

In a battle between Roland Garros boys’ singles champions, Popyrin got the better of the 17-year-old Croatian on the clay.

Popyrin was always the front runner, scoring early breaks in both sets. And while Prizmic proved his fighting qualities to get back on serve, and in saving five match points, the Australian would not be denied.

It is Popyrin’s first tour-level semifinal since he went all the way to his first ATP title in Singapore in February 2021.

He improves to 13-6 on clay in 2023, and will play for a place in the final against Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi.

Aussies in action – Umag

Men’s singles, quarterfinals
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) d [WC] Dino Prizmic (CRO) 7-6(2) 7-5

Men’s singles, semifinals
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v [7] Matteo Arnaldi (ITA)

Hamburg, Germany

Further north in Europe, Daria Saville’s heartwarming run in Hamburg finally came to an end when she fell to Arantxa Rus.

Saville qualified for the main draw and won five consecutive matches to reach her first WTA semifinal in almost a year.

By taking the first set 6-2 against Rus, Saville won her ninth consecutive set on the red clay.

But the Dutchwoman staged a comeback to complete a 2-6 6-3 6-1 triumph, setting up a final showdown against local teenaged wildcard Noma Noha Akugue, who earlier in the tournament stunned Australia’s Storm Hunter.

Saville’s performance is nonetheless expected to boost her ranking back to world No.163; she is currently 225th, after nine months of inactivity.

Aussies in action – Hamburg

Women’s singles, semifinals
Arantxa Rus (NED) d [Q] Daria Saville (AUS) 2-6 6-3 6-1

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