Probably beginning to tire of his reputation as “the other guy” in Serbian tennis, Janko Tipsarevic was the hot favourite to progress to tomorrow’s Mercedes Cup semi-final in Stuttgart.
However, his opponent – tour veteran Bjorn Phau – must have sensed an upset as he battled to a first set tie break against the top seed. Winning the tie break and proving steadfastly difficult to break down, Phau forced another stalemate in the second.
This time it was Tipsarevic who kept his nerve, winning the second set tie break 7 2 and leaving the match delicately poised at one set all.
Any thoughts of a famous victory over the world number eight quickly disappeared from Phau’s mind as Tipsarevic – determined to get off the court as quickly as possible – closed out the decider 6-4 and booked his place in the semi-final.
As Tipsarevic breathed a sigh of relief, Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci was taking to the court in the day’s concluding quarter-final match-up.
His match against the young German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe was altogether more straight-forward than the one that proceeded it, with Bellucci coming out on top with a comfortable, 6-4 6-1 victory.
Of the three Germans that reached the quarter-finals on home soil, none were able to progress to the last four. Instead, Bellucci and Tipsarevic will face-off against one another in tomorrow’s second semi-final for the honour of joining either Juan Monaco or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the final.