Winston Salem 2019 Live: Southern Open champion Roger Federer All four Winston-Salem Open singles quarter-finals and both doubles semi-finals will be played on Friday, weather permitting, after nearly a complete washout postponed action on Winston Salem 2019 Thursday at the ATP 250 event. Among the singles quarter-finals to watch, top seed Benoit Paire will face 11th seed Pablo Carreno Busta. Their match was suspended with Winston Salem Paire leading in the first set 4-3 season around in North Carolina.
Denis Shapovalov reached his second semi-final of the season on Friday at the Winston-Salem Open, beating Russian Andrey Rublev 6-3, 7-6(4) to make the last four at the ATP 250 event.
Before this week, the Canadian hadn’t won back-to-back matches since his last semi-final, at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March. But Shapovalov, with former World No. 8 Mikhail Youzhny in his coaching box on a trial basis, has turned his season around in North Carolina.
The 20-year-old hit 10 aces and won 61 per cent of his second-serve points against Rublev, who beat seven-time Western & Southern Open champion Roger Federer last week in Cincinnati.
Shapovalov will face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who beat #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-1. Hurkacz beat Shapovalov in March at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, their lone FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter, and is also trying to reach his first ATP Tour final.
In the other semi-final, top seed Benoit Paire will meet American Steve Johnson. Paire overcame a mid-match dip to beat Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-3. The Frenchman is going for his third ATP Tour title of the season this week.
Johnson, who won an ATP Challenger Tour event in Aptos two weeks ago, is through to his first ATP Tour semi-final of the season. The 29-year-old outlasted 14th seed John Millman of Australia 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Andy Murray isn’t one for moral victories, but the Scot should be encouraged by his first-round match at the Winston-Salem Open, even if it ended in a loss.
American Tennys Sandgren beat Murray 7-6(8), 7-5 to advance to the second round at the ATP 250 tournament. Sandgren fought through a marathon 75-minute first set, but was broken while serving for the match at 5-4. Sandgren, however, broke right back and served it out on his second attempt.
“It was a great atmosphere. Everyone was super excited. Obviously, Andy, his career speaks for itself, so to have him here and playing and to be able to compete against him tonight was a pleasure,” Sandgren said. “The match itself was really close. The first set could have gone either way and to come out with it was a big relief… It was a tight two-set match, long and physical and I’m happy to come through.”
Murray was playing in only his second singles match since January at the Australian Open. After undergoing right hip surgery on 28 January, he began his singles comeback last week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, falling to eventual semi-finalist Richard Gasquet in the first round.
While both matches ended in defeat, Murray showed vast improvement against Sandgren. Gone were the tentative groundstrokes that dominated rallies against the crafty Gasquet, and Murray, who occasionally let balls go against the Frenchman, chased down everything he could and charged forward often against Sandgren. The American, however, was more than happy to pass Murray on the run and on the stretch.
“Some things were a bit better today I think. I was hitting the ball a bit cleaner than I did maybe in Cincinnati… I feel like I moved fairly well to some drop shots, which maybe last week I wasn’t running to. So there’s some good things in there but also some stuff I would like to do better,” Murray said. “Physically, [I feel] OK considering, no pain, no discomfort. Just a little bit more tired than usual.”
Murray, who accepted a late wild card, said he didn’t fear losing during the initial stages of his comeback.
“I’m quite aware of sort of where I’m at just now and what my level is. It’s competitive at this level but it needs to be better,” Murray said. “Maybe I need play a level down to get some matches and build my game up a little bit before I start playing on the Tour again.”
Murray will not compete at next week’s US Open and is considering playing an ATP Challenger Tour event before heading to Asia for the tour-level swing there.