Monday, June 17, 2024

Libema Open: Home hope Griekspoor stuns Ruusuvuori, charges to Final against Thompson

‘ Tallon Griekspoor rode a wave of home support to the championship match on Saturday at the Libema Open, the Dutchman surging ahead with an impressive 6-4, 7-5 semifinal win against Emil Ruusuvuori.

The sixth seed claimed a solitary break in each set to hold off the hard-hitting World No. 42 Ruusuvuori and reached his second ATP Tour final. Griekspoor broke the Finn’s serve in the opening game of the match and saved all four break points he faced from then on to wrap up an 89-minute triumph and advance to play Jordan Thompson for the trophy at the grass-court ATP 250.

Griekspoor’s victory ensured there would be a Dutchman in the ‘s-Hertogenbosch final for the second consecutive year. His countryman Tim van Rijthoven upset Daniil Medvedev to claim the title a year ago, and Griekspoor admitted that he has the opportunity to fulfil a long-held ambition when he steps on court to face Thompson on Sunday.

“Winning an ATP event at home is a dream,” the World No. 38, who won his maiden ATP Tour title at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune in January, was quoted as saying by the ATP. “First you start dreaming about winning an ATP [event] and I got that one. I’m close to the next [dream]. Let’s try to go one more match and try to take the title at home.”

Thompson earlier booked his spot in the final by prevailing 7-6(5), 6-3 in an all-Australian clash with Rinky Hijikata. It was his fourth tour-level semifinal, all four of which have come on grass, and his experience showed as he held his nerve for a one-hour, 56-minute victory to end the 22-year-old Hijikata’s dream run.

Thompson saved the only break point he faced in what was the first all-Australian tour-level semi-final since Patrick Rafter defeated Lleyton Hewitt at the 2001 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. With his run to a second championship match in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (he also reached that stage in 2019), the 29-year-old Thompson has risen 27 spots to No. 76 in the ATP Live Rankings.

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