The possibility of two Australians reaching the Viking International final at Eastbourne, could well come to pass with Max Purcell and Alex de Minaur both having successfully made it into the semi-finals of the ATP 250 event.
You have to believe, or who would want to go out there? I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity. This just happens to be the week where I’m making a little bit of a start. Max Purcell
Seeded second and clearly favourite to win on the south coast, De Minaur, who hasn’t dropped a set all week, sailed past Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4 to reach his second tour level semi in as many weeks.
“Very happy,” De Minaur said of his form. “This is a part of the season which I look forward to every year, and I feel like I have been able to gradually improve and play better and better, so I am very happy with where my game is at. You know, obviously the big goal is always going to be to try and go as deep as I can at Wimby.”
The 22-year-old plays Korean Soonwoo Kwon, who entered the draw as a Lucky Loser in place of the fifth seed from the US, Reilly Opelka, who in turn beat the Belarussian qualifier, Ilya Ivashka, 6-4 7-5.
Meanwhile in the top half, the unseeded Purcell, who dispatched the top seed Gael Monfils in round two, outlasted the veteran Italian Andreas Seppi 6-4 1-6 6-4 in what was a battle between two Lucky Losers!
Contesting his first ATP-level quarterfinal, the 23-year-old Purcell was never intimidated by the tournament’s 2011 champion.
“I’m over the moon. I managed to get through my last three main-draw matches after being a break down in the third set, which in itself is pretty hard to break back and win the match, especially on a surface where it’s so hard to return. But I’m really pumped, and I still have two more matches to get the job done.
“You have to believe, or who would want to go out there?” Purcell added. “I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity. This just happens to be the week where I’m making a little bit of a start.”
To reach the final Purcell will have to get past another Italian Lorezo Sonego, the third seed, who put up an impressive performance to beat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 6-1 7-5.
“I am really happy with the match because it is not easy playing against Bublik, because he is an amazing talent,” Sonego said. “Especially in the second set, it was really tough, but I am happy with the match.
“I am full of energy because I like playing here. My serve is good for the grass court, and I like playing in Eastbourne. There are a lot of Italian fans, and it is good for me”.
Britain’s Joe Salisbury and his partner Rajeev Ram have reached the final of the men’s doubles after winning back-to-back matches on the same day.
In the semi-finals they put up an excellent display to beat second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-0 6-7(0), 10-6.
They will play the in-form Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic – who defeated the British American duo in the final in Rome this year – for a shot at the title.