Struff and Draper Set for Clash in Sofia Open Semi-Finals
Jan-Lennard Struff and Jack Draper are gearing up for an intense showdown in the semi-finals of the Sofia Open. The pair secured contrasting victories in the quarter-finals of the indoor ATP 250 tournament.
Struff Overcomes Marozsan in Thrilling Battle
Third-seeded Struff battled his way to a hard-fought victory against Fabian Marozsan, prevailing 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 in a grueling one-hour, 58-minute match. This win marks Struff’s first hard-court ATP Tour semi-final since 2021. The 33-year-old German showcased his resilience by rallying from a 0-2 deficit in the deciding set. This victory also marked his maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with Marozsan.
“I think it was a great match of very high intensity and a good level,” said Struff. “I felt like both of us played a very good first set. In the second set, I made an unexpected double fault that cost me a break. However, in the third set, despite Marozsan taking the lead, I managed to stay focused, fight for every point, and be aggressive on my returns.”
Draper Dominates Ilkel to Secure Semi-Final Spot
Draper, on the other hand, cruised to victory against wild card Cem Ilkel with a commanding 6-2, 6-2 win. This triumph follows his second-round upset against top seed Lorenzo Musetti. The 21-year-old British player converted four of nine break points, earning him a spot in his third ATP Tour semi-final appearance. Draper previously reached the semi-finals in Eastbourne in 2022 and Adelaide-2 in 2023.
“I think he is a really solid player,” commented Draper about Ilkel. “It was difficult during the rallies, but I felt strong, and my ball speed was very good. I was able to turn defense into attack effectively, so I’m pleased with my performance.”
Anticipated Clash of Clean Ballstrikers
The upcoming semi-final between Struff and Draper will not only be their first encounter in the Lexus ATP Head2Head series but also a collision between two of the cleanest ballstrikers on the Tour. Both players possess powerful games, promising an exciting match for tennis enthusiasts.
“He’s someone who has had an amazing season and won a lot of matches,” acknowledged Draper about Struff. “He plays a really big game, so it will be two big hitters facing off, and hopefully, it will be a thrilling match.”
Mannarino and Kotov to Battle in Second Semi-Final
In the other semi-final of the Sofia Open, second seed Adrian Mannarino will face Pavel Kotov. Mannarino showcased his resilience by recovering from a tense opening set to secure a 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-3 victory against Sebastian Ofner. The Frenchman aims to maintain his flawless record in tour-level semi-finals this year, having triumphed in all three previous encounters.
World No. 80 Kotov, who recently reached his first ATP Tour championship match in Stockholm, emerged victorious against Marton Fucsovics with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win.
The stage is set for an exhilarating semi-final showdown in the Sofia Open as these talented players vie for a spot in the tournament’s final.