Canberra ATP Challenger: Ivan Dodig powers into semi-final with impressive victory

Croatia’s Ivan Dodig upset No.2 seed Santiago Giraldo 7-6, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Canberra ATP Challenger at the Canberra Tennis Centre on Thursday. Photo: Jay CronanCroatian No.5 seed Ivan Dodig continued his impressive start to the Australian summer to progress to the last four at the $75,000 Canberra ATP Challenger.

Dodig made it seven victories from eight matches with a straight sets upset of second seed Santiago Giraldo in their quarter-final at the Canberra Tennis Centre on Thursday.

Dodig will now face Spanish third seed Daniel Munoz de la Nava on Friday, while top seed Paolo Lorenzi takes on fourth seed Marcel Granollers in the other semi-final.

“It was a good match for me and I played some of my best tennis,” Dodig said.

“I know [Santiago] well and I knew it was going to be a very tough match for me and for him as well.

“I’m playing quite well and I’m happy with the way I’m playing.”

Dodig is playing with plenty of confidence heading into the Australian Open.

The 31-year-old won three straight matches in qualifying and his first-round encounter at the Brisbane International before going down to eventual champion Milos Raonic in three sets.

He has carried on that momentum into Canberra this week with victories against Australian Dayne Kelly (7-6, 6-4), Daniel Gimeno-Traver (6-3, 6-2) and Munoz de la Nava (7-6, 6-3).

Dodig used his powerful serve to full effect to prevail 7-5 in the tie-break against world No.70 Giraldo before securing an early break in the second set.

“My confidence is up from the way I played at the end of last year, I played very good and won a couple of tough matches,” Dodig said.

“Even today, I was a break down in the first set and then I was able to break him back and then in the tie-break I was able to play some very good shots.

“That’s the most important part – to be able to play very good in crucial points.”

No.1 seed Lorenzi was just as clinical in disposing of Russian No.7 seed Evgeny Donskey 6-4, 6-1, continuing his return from a calf injury suffered at last week’s ATP event in Doha.

“The match was closer than what the scoreboard shows,” Lorenzi said.

“In the second set, I was 1-0 up, but it was 0-40 on my serve, so we had a few good rallies.

“After Doha I wasn’t sure about my preparations for the Australian Open, but now I’m happy that I’m playing against good players.”

The world No.68 he faces a step up against former world No.19 Granollers if he wants to grab a spot in the final.

“Marcel is a very good player, he was top 30 last year and top 10 in doubles,” Lorenzi said.

“Tomorrow will be a very tough match, but it’s also a great test.”

Granollers will be fresh after his opponent Quentin Halys retired after losing the first set 6-3, while Diego Schwartzman also retired after conceding the opening set to Munoz de la Nava 6-4.

The Australian duo of Maverick Banes and Jarryd Chaplin will take on top seeds Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Santiago Gonzalez in the doubles final.

Canberra ATP Challenger: Quarter-finals: 3-Daniel Munoz de la Nava (ESP) bt 6-Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 6-4 ret. 4-Marcel Granollers (ESP) bt Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-3 ret. 5-Ivan Dodig (CRO) bt 2-Santiago Giraldo (COL) 7-6, 6-3. 1-Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) bt 7-Evgeny Donskey (RUS) 6-4, 6-1.

FRIDAY: Men’s singles semi-finals: Centre Court: 11am: 3-Daniel Munoz De La Nava (ESP) v 5-Ivan Dodig (CRO). Followed by: 1-Paolo Lorenzi (ITA) v 4-Marcel Granollers (ESP). Not before 2pm: Men’s doubles final: 1-Mariusz Fyrstenberg (POL)/Santiago Gonzalez (MEX) v Maverick Banes (AUS)/Jarryd Chaplin (AUS).

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