Friday was the start of finals weekend with the singles quarterfinals and doubles semi-finals taking place. While there are many new players amongst the 2014 draw that have left an impression, previous years winners are also in the mix for the championship matches. 2012 doubles champions duo of Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and America’s Scott Lipsky earned their fourth win of the tournament in the semi-finals Friday afternoon to advance to the doubles finals on Sunday. The pair defeated Austrians Samuel Groth and Chris Guccione in another third set super tiebreaker. They will face the team of John-Patrick Smith (AUS) and Michael Venus (NZL) in Sunday’s finals match.
In singles, Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) defeated American Tim Smyzcek 6-3, 7-6(5) to advance to the singles semi-finals. In 2013, Stakhovsky achieved his most exciting win of his career when he defeated seven-time champion Roger Federer in the second round at Wimbledon, ending the Swiss’ run of 36 straight Grand Slam quarterfinals. Stakhovsky has a career total of four ATP World Tour singles titles, and he is currently 83rd in the Emirates ATP rankings. In the rounds prior to the quarterfinals, Stakhovsky has topped Jesse Huta-Galung (NED) and upset the No. 2 seed Federico Delbonis (ARG).
Stakhovsky will face the No. 3 seed Lukas Rosol (CZE) in Saturday’s singles semi-finals. Rosol advanced to the semi-finals after he defeated American Ryan Harrison 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Friday. The Czech Republic native’s current world ranking is 47, and he is the only seeded player remaining in the tournament. Rosol’s career highlights include defeating Rafael Nadal on Centre Court at Wimbledon and winning the Davis Cup in 2012. In addition to Saturday’s win over Harrison, Rosol has defeated Michael Russell (USA) and Daniel Brands (GER) en route to the semi-finals.
In other singles action, Tobias Kamke (GER) advanced to the semi-finals after Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko retired prior to the start of the second set due to a stomach illness. Kamke finished in the Top 100 for the fourth-consecutive year, which was highlighted by a career-best 17 match wins on the ATP World Tour in 2013. He currently is 94 in the ATP rankings. In his matches prior to the quarterfinals, Kamke defeated both Jan Hajek (CZE) and the No. 5 seed Denis Istomin (UZB). The German native will play American Steve Johnson in the semi-finals on Saturday.
On Friday night, Johnson defeated Germany’s Benjamin Becker to advance to the semi-final round with a dominant 6-3, 6-1 win. The 2013 year marked his first full season on the ATP World Tour, and his current ranking is 119. Prior to joining the Tour, the Californian played four years (2009-12) at the University of Southern California, where he became the first player in school history to win four NCAA team titles and back-to-back singles titles. Johnson defeated Jean Andersen (RSA) and Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) in the two opening rounds of the Irving Tennis Classic.
Also taking part in today’s action was Dallas Mavericks power forward and 2011 NBA Champion Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki came out to the Irving Tennis Classic to cheer on fellow countrymen Kamke and Becker. In between matches, Nowitzki proved his athleticism in a pick-up tennis game with some of the ball kids.
**The singles semi-finals matches are scheduled for Saturday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. If inclement weather is to occur, all matches will be moved to Sunday and tickets purchased for Saturday’s matches will be honored. Please check the website for scheduling updates.