Danylo Kalenichenko of Ukraine advanced to the semifinals of the Dayak Tennis Championships with a thrilling victory over defending champion, Maximilian Neuchrist of Austria in Abuja today.
Kalenichenko lost the first set on the tie-break, but battled back well to seal a 6-7(4), 7-6(1), 6-4 triumph in 2 hours and 28 minutes on Centre Court of the National Tennis Centre.
Both men had kept things with serve in the opener to drive the set into a tiebreaker, which Neuchrist took with some spirited effort. The second set would go the same way as the first. This time, though, it was Kalenichenko who powered through the tiebreaker with incredible aplomb to clinch the set and force a decider.
One break of serve in the fifth game of the final set gave the 595th-ranked Ukrainian a 3-2 lead, and there was no looking back from then, as he went on to book his place in the last four.
It was sweet revenge for Kalenichenko, who fell to Neuchrist in straight sets in the second round of this event in 2018. Neuchrist, the top seed, will now turn his focus to the GSL Open, the final tournament of the ITF World Tennis Tour in Abuja.
Up next for Kalenichenko is American qualifier, Peter Kobelt, who defeated 18-year-old Gilbert Soares Junior of Brazil 7-5, 6-4, powering down 17 aces in the 90-minute contest.
Soares Junior had opened a 4-1 lead in the first set, but squandered it, as Kobelt stepped back in to clinch it. The 28-year-old American broke in the fifth game of the second set and held firm to close out the match.
It wasn’t the best of days for the Brazilians, as Pedro Sorgi, also, was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by fourth seed, Tom Jomby. Jomby, who won the first leg of the Lagos Open in October last year, will take on 20-year-old Dan Added in an all-French semi-final showdown.
Added needed just 60 minutes on Court 1 to beat 23-year-old Burundian, Guy Orly Iradukunda, 6-3, 6-2.
In the doubles event, the French pair of Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul will go all out for their second straight doubles title in Abuja when they meet the French-Greek duo of Dan Added and Michail Pervolarakis in Saturday’s final.
Doumbia and Reboul had combined excellently to rally from an opening set loss and beat the pair of Tom Jomby and Peter Kobelt 2-6, 6-3, 11-9, while Added and Pervolarakis proved too hot for Benjamin Lock and John Lock, as they ran out 6-4, 6-0 victors in just under an hour.