The semi-finals take place at the Rothesay International at the ATP Eastbourne event on Friday as four men look to win the one match they need to book a place in the final of the Wimbledon warm-up competition on Saturday.
In many ways we have a pair of lop-sided semi-finals here with two men competing at this stage of an ATP event for the first time in the opening one before the last two champions at Devonshire Park collide in the second one.
Maxime Cressy vs Jack Draper
The opening semi-final sees the big serving American player Maxime Cressy looking to take care of a third British opponent in as many days when he goes up against the young wildcard Jack Draper, for whom a bright future is expected.
Cressy has looked very good so far in this tournament. You could argue how deep the form of his more established wins against Reilly Opelka and Cameron Norrie is with both not exactly carrying great grass court pedigrees but they still needed to be beaten and Cressy did it well. I guess you could say the same about the standout win for Draper this week too given that Diego Schwartzman is ordinary on the grass but his win over Taylor Fritz at Queens carries more weight, as does his performance against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year. If I was forced to bet on this one I’d just give Draper the edge but with nerves likely to play a part I’m happy to leave this one alone.
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Taylor Fritz vs Alex de Minaur
The second semi-final looks a beauty as the last two winners of this tournament collide when the 2019 winner Taylor Fritz bids to add to his Indian Wells title which he won earlier in the year when he goes up against the defending champion Alex de Minaur.
Both these players have good pedigree on the grass. De Minaur won here last year but he also made the semi-final of Queens the week before and now he is back in the semi-final here too. You could argue the draw opened up for the Australian with Tommy Paul taking out the big seed Jannik Sinner from his quarter but there is no hiding away from how well de Minaur is hitting the ball and moving on the surface. I guess the same opening of the draw argument could be levelled at Fritz too given that his toughest opponent to date was Alexander Bublik who flipped his lid when the umpire had words with him and pretty much handed that win to the American on a plate. Nevertheless, Fritz still had to keep his concentration, which he did and he’s here to tell the tale.
This looks a real 50:50 match between two very good players. I was a little concerned about the movement of Fritz heading into that Bublik clash but he looked much more assured in that game which makes me think we could be in for a three-set contest here. Both men will be eager to win to give themselves one more match leading into Wimbledon and matches between the two have been tight recently. Fritz won their last meeting at Indian Wells in a deciding tiebreak earlier in the year and while things might not be that tight here, I do fancy a third set or a couple of tight sets so I like over 23.5 games in this semi-final.
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