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ATP Tour: Hall of Fame Open semi-finals preview

Damien Kayat previews the two men’s semi-finals coming your way from the Hall of Fame Open.

Kevin Anderson - Hall of Fame Open semi-finals
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Damien Kayat previews selected quarter finals and semi finals at the Hall of Fame Open.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 ATP Tour
ATP 250 Series
Hall of Fame Open
International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, Rhode Island 
Selected Quarterfinal and Semi-Final- 16th-17th July

16th July- Quarterfinal

Jordan Thompson 39/100 | Maxime Cressey 39/20

7th seed Jordan Thompson has looked imperious this week, dropping just six games in his two matches this week. He is really a great dark-horse contender for the Hall of Fame Open. Thompson reached the 2019 Rosmalen final, highlighting his grass-courts talents. This is his 2nd grass-court quarterfinal of the year following his run in Mallorca. He was also excellent at Wimbledon, taking down Casper Rudd and Kei Nishikori before his 3rd round exit. His Round of 16 victory over Yuichi Sugita took his year-to-date grass-court record to 8-4 (that’s far more impressive than his overall 2021 win-loss record of 14-13). This may represent Thompson’s greatest chance to win a maiden ATP Tour title.

Maxime Cressey is coming off one of the biggest wins of his entire career. The big-serving American blasted 16 aces against compatriot Sam Querrey. The 6’6” Cressey is this week’s massive surprise package (he had not won a tour-level match on grass prior to this week’s event). Born in Paris, Cressey was actually kicked out of the French Tennis Federation for some mysterious reason. He was fortunate to have an American mother and he simply moved to the States. His game is fundamentally a throwback to eras past. He has a booming serve that helps to keep points simple. In actual fact, he doesn’t tend to take much off on the 2nd points, resulting in high double-faults counts. He also visits the net more than almost any other player in the modern era. He visited the net 66 times in his US Open first-round victory last year. It’s crazy and offers a nice alternative to protracted baseline affairs.

Verdict: Maxime Cressy 39/20

This will be the first-ever meeting between these two. Jordan Thompson is going in as the obvious favourite given his pedigree and recent grass-court form. But I’m happy to opt for the brash French-American. Cressy has been serving brilliantly and could overpower Thompson.

17th July- Semi-final

Alexander Bublik 79/100 | Kevin Anderson 1/1

It’s been quite painful to watch Anderson’s regression over the past two years. He has been the victim of a series of unfortunate injury issues. The former two-time Grand Slam finalist is now 35 years of age. I don’t see the South African seriously threatening the Grand Slam circuit again. But he will always be a huge threat in these three-set events. Anderson seems to have found something in his game this week, winning three consecutive matches for the first time in ages. He even came from a set down to beat American Jack Sock. He served 20 aces against Sock, winning an incredible 88% of his first serve points. I was impressed by his aggression against Sock’s second serve (he won 12 out of 14 points off the American’s second serve in the final set). Can Anderson possibly keep this form up? His ailing body will be tested to its limit by the energetic Bublik.

Top-seed Alexander Bublik is now in his 3rd semi-final of the year (he’s already amassed a personal best 26 wins this season). He now has a year-to-date win-loss record of 26-17 (he’s been a busy boy). He lost in both the Antalya and Singapore finals. He actually beat recent Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini in his Antalya run. The Kazakh star also has history in this event, losing in the 2019 Newport Final. Bublik is also fresh off his best-ever showing at Wimbledon, where he beat both Kukushkin and Dimitrov before a humbling defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in the 3rd round. Bublik is a solid pro who manages to wear his opponents down with superior physicality. He will just need to find a way to absorb Anderson’s expected service bombardment.

Verdict: Alexander Bublik 79/100

This will also be the first meeting between these two players. I think it may be a stretch to expect Anderson to keep up his newfound momentum. I think that Anderson will take a lot of confidence out of this week, regardless of this result. I think that top seed Bublik will persevere.

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