TENNIS. Logic was respected at the eighth Challenger Banque Nationale de Drummondville, as five of the top eight favorites reached the quarter-final stage.
The last Canadian players in the streak, Dan Martin (882 in the world) and Benjamin Thomas George (1852 on the ATP) lost during the day on Thursday. Frustrated by injury, Dan Martin was forced to withdraw as he held his own very well in the exchanges against Britain’s Ryan Peniston, the fifth seed. Martin was suffering from back pain so much that he was seen serving with a spoon at the end of the set, which he eventually conceded with a score of 6-2. It was at this point that he told the official that he was not going to go any further. That’s how Peniston reached the quarterfinals.
Benjamin Thomas George thus represented the last Canadian hope in the duel in which he faced the Belgian Zizo Bergs, the sixth favorite of the tournament. Competing quite well with Bergs at the start of the round, George however had difficulty maintaining the rhythm as the situation grew tense. The 20-year-old Ontario man defended well, but Bergs was clearly in full possession of his capabilities. The 24-year-old cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
After a great start to the match, while Australian James Duckworth, the second seed, left only crumbs for his American opponent Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, we saw how the latter rolled up his sleeves and went to work with several bombs. The key in a tiebreak is to serve well and that’s exactly what the American did in the second set. Duckworth, however, cleared his mind during the break before the final round. He quickly broke Kwiatkowski and took the match, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3.
The result of the victory of the first seed Dominik Koepfer (6-4, 6-4) may seem clear, but it must be admitted that the young 19-year-old Polish Olaf Pieczkowski fought very well against the ‘German. Very quickly broken, the “lucky loser” was not impressed, serving the same medicine to the world’s 82nd player. However, we saw the full extent of Koepfer’s experience during important points. Having broken the serve of his young rival twice at 4-4, he managed to destroy all hopes of Pieczkowski in the end of the set. Logic is therefore respected: Dominik Koepfer goes to the quarterfinals.
The favorite of the tournament joined Belgian Zizou Bergs (sixth favorite, who will be his opponent in the quarterfinals), Michael Vrbenski (Czech Republic), Aziz Dougaz (eighth favorite, Tunisia), Ryan Peniston (fifth favorite, Great Britain), James Duckworth (second seed , Australia), Li Tu (Australia) and Joao Sousa (Portugal)
The action will continue on Friday at 11 a.m. in the indoor tennis center René-Verrier. At the end of the day, we will know the four players who will make up the final four in singles, as well as the doubles finalists. (JH)
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