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British doubles pair reach final at Aegon International

Posted on Thursday, 20 June by

Feliciano Lopez Aegon International

As the mist descended over Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park, eights became fours as the quarter finals cooked up yet more drama on day 6 of the Aegon International. Damp conditions played their part as seeded players continued to fall, with just three of eight advancing to tomorrow’s semi-finals, which feature the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Vesnina, Andreas Seppi and Giles Simon.

After a clean sweep of elimination for all British singles players yesterday, there was finally cause for celebration on home soil from the doubles. Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray advanced to their second grass court final after last year’s Wimbledon, beating Marcin Matkowski and Frederik Nielson 3-6, 6-3 and 11-9 in the final-set tie break. The pair will now meet World No. 15 team Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares tomorrow, the top-seeded duo for the tournament. Elsewhere, the news wasn’t quite so bright for Jamie Murray, who was knocked out in straight sets alongside his Australian partner John Peers.

Throughout the day, conditions were a point of contention and although rain only delayed play for an hour at the beginning, persistent mist meant for slippery surfaces and constant dampness. The issue was no more present than in the all-Spanish clash between Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco. Lopez emerged victorious, beating his close friend and long-time training partner 6-4, 7-6 but not before several heated discussions with the umpire about the wetness of the court.

The pair were forced to continue by the match officials, much to Verdasco’s frustration, who vented his anger after the match: “I felt the conditions were not right to play even before the match started. The court was dangerous for both of us. You could see that when we were moving to the sides, it was pretty slippery.”

When asked if he considered defaulting and leaving the court, Verdasco left no cryptic clues on his attitude towards the ATP power structure: “If I was Rafael Nadal, I can say, I don’t play and I’m pretty sure the ATP will say, ‘Okay, we wait until the court is good’. But because I’m not, I need to do what the ATP wants.”

Pointing to the sky, Verdasco continued: “The ones that are here, they have everything they want. The ones that are not there, you need to what the others want.”

Unsurprisingly, as is often the impact victory or loss has on a players outlook, Lopez didn’t share the same view on the dangers of the court, who instead saw the benefit in his game: “If the court is a little bit wet, it is good for my serve and good for my slice. When I say the court was not 100%, I’m talking about 75%. Still 25% to be dry, but not very dangerous.”

In other news, Jamie Hampton continued her fantastic run at this years event, coming from behind to beat Czech Lucie Safaroza 3-6, 7-6, 6-4. The achievement makes her the first American to reach the semi-final in 10 years.

Hampton, who will rise to USA No.3 behind Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens, remained level headed at the chance of her first singles title: “I still have two matches to go, with two tough opponents coming up. I take one match at a time. I’m playing good, solid tennis but I don’t think I’m playing anywhere near my best.”

She will now face Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Ekaterina Makarova for the sixth consecutive time, for a spot in the final. The World No.9 won nine straight games between the second and third set, after an explosive rant at the umpire for a questionable foot fault call kicked her into gear. Speaking in Polish, she supposedly asked: “Do you even know the rules?” and “She [line judge] just wants to feel important.”

Talking after the match, Wozniacki confirmed her comments, and stood her ground.

“I don’t see a reason other than that [wanting to feel important] on why you wanted to call a foot fault on a second serve that isn’t a foot fault.”

Other results today saw World No. 6 Na Li beaten in straight sets 7-6, 6-3 by Elena Vesnina, who will now meet Yanina Wickmayer in the semi-final, after she won her match against World No. 10 Maria Kirilenko. Seventh seed Andreas Seppi also beat Radek Stapanek to set up a final four match with Giles Simon who beat Bernard Tomic in straight sets.

The Aegon International continues, with the singles semi-finals and the men’s doubles final.

Men’s Singles Semi Finals:
Ivan Dodig (CRO) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP)
Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs Giles Simon (FRA)

Women’s Singles Semi-Finals:
Jamie Hampton (USA) vs Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Elena Vesnina (RUS) vs Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)

Men’s Doubles Final:
Colin Fleming & Jonathan Marray (GBR) vs Alexander Peya (AUS) & Bruno Soares (BRA)

Women’s Doubles Final:
Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) & Kveta Peschke (CZE) vs Flavia Pennetta (ITA) & Elena Vesnina (RUS)

Follow @SQMagazine for live commentary of this year’s Aegon International.

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