The semifinal stage of the ATP event in Pune might be devoid of any star power, but it promises great entertainment and we are guaranteed a first-time finalist.
Who will advance to the final? Let’s look at the matches.
ATP Pune Semifinal Predictions
Jiri Vesely vs Ricardas Berankis
Head-to-head: First meeting
Jiri Vesely secured his best result since Antalya 2018 after besting Ilya Ivashka of Belarus in a tense, see-saw quarterfinal. The Czech left-hander was a nervous wreck for much of the afternoon on Friday before winning 2-6 6-1 7-6. He admitted afterwards that the opportunity to earn enough rankings points to guarantee him automatic entry ranking for the French Open did not give the luxury of playing controlled tennis from the back of the court. Vesely survived a complete breakdown of his forehand, then saw four match points of his own fly by and snuffed out two of his opponent before sealing victory that now puts him back into the world’s top 100.
It wasn’t just Vesely who put together a great feat of escapology from a set down in the quarterfinals. But Ricardas Berankis, the Lithuanian no.1, fought back from the jaws of defeat against Yuichi Sugita. The second seed trailed by a set and a break before he found a way out of the Japanese’s pockets, to win 4-6 7-6 6-2.
Vesely had one goal in his mind this week, and that was to re-enter the Top 100. Given how he invested his energy both physically and emotionally in a two-and-a-half hour tussle, he is likely to fall short here against an opponent who has played inspired tennis this week.
Prediction: Berankis in 3
James Duckworth vs Egor Gerasimov
Head-to-head: Duckworth 1-0 Gerasimov
James Duckworth ended the fairytale run of Italian journeyman Roberto Marcora in the quarterfinals in straight sets. The Australian is bidding to win his second title in Pune in as many months after capturing the Challenger title at the same city last November. He has never won a tour-level title before, but he seems to have found a second wind in his career.
After dropping outside the Top 1000 following a succession of elbow injuries and a foot surgery which saw him spend the entire 2017 season convalescing on the treatment table, he has achieved decent success on the Challenger circuit since his return. But can he put a seal on a perfect week by reaching his first senior ATP final?
Egor Gerasimov will definitely be the toughest hurdle that the Australian will have to overcome this week. The Belorussian is continuing to build on his breakthrough season in 2019 when he scored a memorable win over Matteo Berrettini in St. Petersburg en route to the semifinals. He also achieved a Top 100 year-end ranking for the first time in his decade-long career.
A lot will be at stake in this one including the opportunity to vie for a maiden ATP title, and this contest will likely come to down to a few a close points. Expect this to go the distance, and judging by how well the Belorussian has bounced back from losing positions during the week, he should have the mettle to see this one out.
Prediction: Gerasimov in 3
Main Photo from Getty.