Matches start at 5 am EDT
Friday, April 26, 2019
It was quite a day in Budapest yesterday, once again, when the tournament lost its top seed, Marin Cilic, an Aussie favorite who was seeded 6th, John Millman, 8th seeded Molovan Radu Albot, and Slovonian Aljaz Bedene. Left in the draw, and now considered the favorites are 2nd seed Borna Coric and 4th seeded Nikoloz Basilashvilli.
Clay court specialist Pablo Cuevas, a grizzled veteran already at 33-years-old gave the top-seeded and 11th ranked Cilic a battle for the ages that went down to a third set tiebreaker. Just to get to that third set Cuevas had to escape from match point down in the second set tiebreaker, serving at 5-6. But Cuevas came up big when he had to, Cilic erred when he had the match on his racket, and the contest went well over three hours before Cuevas closed out a 5-7, 7-6, 7-6 win. Cuevas now faces off against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini after he topped Slovenia’s Bedene in straight sets 7-6, 6-2. Berrettini also came back from set point down twice in the first set tiebreaker before he exerted his dominance over Bedene. This matchup between Cuevas and Berrettini will be close, tight, long, and exciting, if my crystal ball is right.
Georgian Basilashvili survived getting bageled in the second set in a 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 win over Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk to set up a quarterfinal clash with Laslo Djere. Incredibly, Basilashvilli, in his win, won only eight points in the whole second set, which is almost hard to believe. That set either showed Gojowczyk played in the zone, or Basilashvili played one damn inept set. Whatever it was, the Georgian was fortunate to recover from that and win the match. Djere, an up-and-coming Serbian who is ranked No. 33, had no trouble taking out teenager Jannik Sinner 3 and 1, and looks sharp. Although Basilashvilli is ranked No. 18, he’s going to have his hands full with Djere, the way the Serbian is striking the ball right now.
Millman, more at home on hard courts, went down to 30-year-old Hungarian Attila Balazs, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, much to the delight of the hometown fans. Homeboy now faces off against French doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Herbert had no trouble with German Matthias Bachinger, ranked No. 129, 7-5, 6-2. Interestingly, Herbert didn’t even enter the doubles event here, so he must be starting to take his singles game seriously. It shows.
In the bottom quarter Filip Krajinovic knocked out Albot in a bit of a surprise 7-5, 6-4. Now Krajinovic will test Coric, who survived a tough three setter over Robin Haase, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Here’s how I think the quarters will play out:
Pablo Cuevas over Matteo Berrettini
Laslo Djere over Nikoloz Basilashvilli
Pierre-Hugues Herbert over Attila Balazs
Borna Coric over Filip Krajinovic