Istanbul Open: Semifinals Preview

Only one out of the top four seeds have failed to reach their appointed places in the last four of the Inaugural TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul open as the top three led by the second ranked Roger Federer, Grigor Dmitrov and Pablo Cuevas won their quarter-final matches on Friday while the Colombian fourth seed Santiago Giraldo fell to the Argentine eighth seed Diego Schwartzman.

The semi-final line-up with my picks are mentioned first along with their head to head records:-

Roger Federer (1) v. Diego Schwartzman (8); Federer leads 2-0.
Grigor Dmitrov (2) v. Pablo Cuevas (3); Dmitrov leads 1-0.

Federer won his 200th match on clay on Wednesday was made to fight all the way by the Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver as he came through the 2 hour 27 minute long battle, 7-6(3),6-7(5),6-3. The Swiss converted only 3 out of the 13 break point opportunities and had to battle back from a 2-5 deficit to force a second set tie-break. The Spaniard who had finished runner up in Casablanca (loss to Martin Klizan) and a semi-finalist last week in Bucharest won it to force the decider and Federer broke  through in the eighth game rallying from 40-15 on his opponents serve and clinched his 19th win of the season serving out the third set 6-3. He will face the Argentine Diego Schwartzman ranked 63rd who caused the only upset of the day as he rallied from a disastrous first set in which he won only seven points, the scoreline 0-6,6-2,6-2.

The third seeded Argentina born Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas defeated the southpaw from Brazil Thomaz Bellucci 7-5,6-3 avenging his recent loss in Miami to the 73rd ranked Bellucci. The 23rd ranked Cuevas faces the Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov ranked 11th, who had a routine 6-4,6-3 win over the 107th ranked Croat Ivan Dodig better known for his doubles skills. Both Cuevas and Dimitrov have 14 match wins in 2015.  While Cuevas won the ATP 250 in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Dmitrov is still searching for his maiden title this year. Should the top two seeds take their appointed places in the final it would be a battle between Federer and baby Federer as the Bulgarian has been referred to on the tour. Federer leads the rivalry 3-0. He also has won two events this year, the ATP 250 in Brisbane and then in February he claimed the Dubai Dutyfree ATP 500 title.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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