Bublik Cruises Into Phoenix Challenger QFs

Bublik Cruises Into Phoenix Challenger QFs

Fourth seed Alexander Bublik wasted no time on Friday at the Arizona Tennis Classic to advance to the quarter-finals of the Challenger 175 event.

The 25-year-old needed just 53 minutes to defeat China Zhang Zhizhen 6-1, 6-2. Bublik backed up her heavy first serve with a strong return performance, winning 14 of 19 points off Zhang’s second serve.

The Kazakh, who saved all four break points he faced on Friday, will next look to avenge his previous two losses (’18 Budapest, ’21 St. Petersburg) to Jan-Lennard Struff when he meets the German in quarter-finals of the Phoenix Challenger. Qualifier Struff also cruised on Friday, downing Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-3.

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In front of a packed stadium at the Phoenix Country Club, top seed Matteo Berrettini outlasted Aussie qualifier Aleksandar Vukic 7-5, 7-6(5). The Italian next faces Alexander Shevchenko, who won the Tenerife Challenger-1 earlier this year. Shevchenko advanced in qualifying in Phoenix and took out Gael Monfils and Marc-Andrea Huesler to make the last eight.

Three seeded players were upset on Friday, including Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who fell to American Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Kovacevic, 24, will climb into the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings if he beats Quentin Halys tomorrow.

Frenchman Halys scored an upset of his own by knocking off World No. 59 Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Alexei Popyrin also advanced on Friday when he defeated seventh seed Mikael Ymer 6-2, 6-2.

Nuno Borges moved to a perfect 7-0 season record at the Challenger level by defeating Roman Safiullin. Supported by Portuguese No. 1 is his highest-ranked win, which he got on Tuesday night when he defeated second seed Diego Schwartzman.

Due to rain earlier this week, Saturday’s action in Phoenix will feature quarter-final matches in the morning and the semi-finals after a well-deserved break.

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