Radu Albot is the first Moldovan to win an ATP Tour title and, keen to add to that tally, he has negotiated his way to the semi-finals of the Singapore Tennis Open with a straight sets victory over the top seed, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
It's not easy (to become a good athlete in my country). One important thing is you need to leave the country and practise elsewhere where tennis is more developed... with better coaches and better facilities Radu Albot
Albot, ranked 76, had only just recovered from his previous days effort which involved a tw-hour 42-minute marathon where he saved three match points to progress past Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann.
But Albot shook off whatever weariness he felt to collect another high profile scalp by beating the world number 35 at the OCB Arena 6-3 6-4.
Albot, the sixth seed at the ATP 250 tournament, said: “Yesterday was a tough match that I almost lost. It was a tiring one and I didn’t feel very fresh this morning.
“But I had a good warm-up and a good physio session then I think I switched on and didn’t feel tired anymore.”
Albot was two breaks up in the second set but had to hold off a spirited Mannarino fightback including saving five match points before capitulating.
The Moldovan who originates from the country’s capital Chisinau, added: “I just do my thing. If I have a match tomorrow, I focus on this match. If I win, good. If I don’t, I focus on the next one and keep practising and improving.
“It’s not easy (to become a good athlete in my country). One important thing is you need to leave the country and practise elsewhere where tennis is more developed… with better coaches and better facilities.”
For a spot in his second ATP singles final, he will have to first play Kazakh fourth seed Alexander Bublik who beat Japanese fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-2.
In another quarter-final clash, 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic was put through the mill before claiming a 6-2 2-6 7-5 victory over South Korean Kwon Soon-woo.
“I need several more matches to get onto a good level of my game and be consistent. Consistency wins matches and that’s something that’s missing at the moment,” the big Croat said.
“I’m in the semi-finals but there’s still a long way to go and I have to keep my head down and work as much as I can and it would be best if I can come through tomorrow and hopefully in the final as well.”
Cilic has to get past Australian world No. 114 Alexei Popyrin first to achieve his goal.
Popyrin, 21, has reached his first top-level semi-final after beating compatriot Matthew Ebden 6-4 7-6(7) in a tight match including saving two set points in the second set tie-break.