Sports Emcee. Andy Taylor. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2018
Guido Pella (ARG) def [Q] Mirza Basic (BIH) 62 63
Guido Pella was at the Draw Ceremony on Saturday. When Tournament Supervisor Lars Graff drew Guido to play the 4-seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Pella started planning his trip Down Under for the Oz Open. Last year, Guido came-up short twice against the World #23, both in deciding sets. Pella lost their first clash in Buenos Aires 8-6 in the deciding tiebreak, then fell 4-6 in the third during Sao Paolo’s Quarterfinals.
But on Tuesday, Guido proved he could beat the Spaniard. After losing the first set 2-6, something clicked with the Argentine. Pella rallied, winning sets two and three (7-5), then went on to score straight-sets wins over Qualifiers Stefano Travaglia and Mirza Basic.
On Friday, he’ll compete in his third Tour-level Semifinal in a year. Last season, he reached his second career Final in Munich. At the Chengdu Open, he upset World #7 Dominic Thiem en route to the Semifinals.
A Tough First Test, then smooth sailing
Needless to say, once past Ramos-Vinolas, Pella had a fortunate draw. Facing a pair of Qualifiers to earn a spot in a Tour-level Semifinal is a dream come true for any player, and he took full advantage.
After downing Travaglia 76(4) 63, he faced Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Mirza Basic, who was playing his fifth match in six days. Basic had little left in the tank for Pella, who steamrolled through the match, winning 62 63.
Next up: Semifinals. Andrey Rublev
On Friday, Guido will get his first look at ATP Next Gen young-gun Andrey Rublev. The Russian was on-fire against Borna Coric Thursday, dictating play from ball-up, and blasting winners with ridiculous accuracy.
Rublev’s 1st-Round opponent Cedrik-Marcel Stebe retired with an elevated heart-rate shortly after Andrey took the first set 6-1. Fernando Verdasco and the wind gave him fits in the Round of 16, but he was on-point in the Quarterfinals.
Pella will have to play insanely creative tennis Friday to earn a win over the surging 20-year-old. Stranger things have happened. With a victory, Guido Pella will become a 3-time Tour-level finalist.
THIS 27-YEAR-OLD, DAVIS CUP CHAMPION REACHED HIS FIRST ATP TOUR-LEVEL FINAL AT THE 2016 RIO OPEN, WHERE HE SAVED THREE MATCH POINTS TO DEFEAT WORLD #11 JOHN ISNER IN THE FIRST ROUND. LAST MAY, AS A QUALIFIER IN MUNICH, HE WON SIX SUCCESSIVE MATCHES TO REACH CAREER-FINAL NUMBER-TWO. IN JUNE, HE CAPTURED HIS 11TH ATP CHALLENGER TOUR SINGLES TITLE IN MILAN, WON HIS 12TH JUST 2-MONTHS LATER IN COLUMBIA; THEN IN SEPTEMBER, EARNED HIS SECOND CAREER TOP-10 VICTORY, DEFEATING WORLD #7 DOMINIC THIEM EN-ROUTE TO THE SEMIFINALS OF THE CHENGDU OPEN. CHAMPION OF THE 2012 YEAR-END ATP CHALLENGER TOUR FINALS; TWO-YEARS-AGO, WITH VICTORIES IN THE FIRST ROUND, QUARTERFINALS AND SEMIFINALS, HE HELPED LIFT ARGENTINA TO ITS HISTORIC, FIRST-EVER DAVIS CUP TITLE. COMPETING IN HIS FIRST QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, FROM ARGENTINA, PLEASE WELCOME – GUIDO PELLA
IN THE FINAL ROUND OF QUALIFYING ON SUNDAY, THIS 26-YEAR-OLD DEFEATED 2015 SEMIFINALIST ANDREAS SEPPI IN 3 TIEBREAK SETS TO REACH DOHA’S MAIN DRAW FOR THE FIRST TIME. YESTERDAY, HE UPSET FORMER WORLD #12 FELICIANO LOPEZ TO REACH TODAY’S QUARTERFINAL; JUST THE SECOND TOUR-LEVEL QUARTERFINAL OF HIS CAREER. HIS FIRST CAME LAST OCTOBER, WHERE HE DEFEATED DANIIL MEDVEDEV TO REACH THE SEMIFINALS OF THE KREMLIN CUP IN MOSCOW. A SIX TIME FINALIST ON THE ATP CHALLENGER TOUR, LAST YEAR, HE WON HIS 2ND CHALLENGER TITLE IN GUADALAJARA, DEFEATING DENIS SHAPOVALOV IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH. 2-YEARS-AGO, HE CLIMBED TO A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF WORLD #109, AFTER REACHING THE SECOND ROUND OF A MAJOR FOR THE FIRST TIME, AT THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN. MAKING HIS DOHA QUARTERFINAL DEBUT, FROM BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – PLEASE WELCOME MIRZA BASIC