UTS Day 8: Semifinals are set – Tsitsipas #1, Goffin slips into 4th

The semifinals have been clinched at the UTS, with Stefanos Tsitsipas claiming the #1 overall spot moving into next week. Goffin slipped in at the end, beating out Lopez and Moutet.

Match #1: The Underdog (Elliot Benchetrit) def. The Artist (Dustin Brown) 3-1

Benchetrit needed a few things to happen in order for him to slip into the final semifinal spot and he’s already checked one of those off the list: a win. He served magnificently in the match, totaling 15 aces en route to his 3-1 win (including 5 aces in the first quarter and 6 clutch ones in the fourth).

With a win, Brown would’ve spoiled the French Underdog’s hopes of playing past today but couldn’t claim the final set to send the match to sudden death. He did, however, put together a few wizard-like points as the match went on. He’ll leave the UTS on a high note; he played his best weekend of the event these past two days.

Benchetrit is going to need a huge break from his fellow competitors. He needs a victory by Benoit Paire (currently 2-5) over David Goffin (4-3) to secure a spot in the semifinals. If everything goes his way, we’ll be seeing The Underdog fighting another weekend at the UTS.

Match 2: The Greek God (Stefanos Tsitsipas) def. The Tornado (Corentin Moutet) 3-2

Tsitsipas came back from two quarters down for the second time in two days. This time against Corentin Moutet, the #1-ranked UTS player outscored him 34-16 in the final two quarters to tie the match. Moutet faltered towards the end, committing 22 unforced errors for the match and 10 in the final two sets.

With the loss, Moutet officially played his final match of the event. His 0-2 record over the last two days ruined his chances of playing in the semifinals.

Tsitsipas has been unstoppable throughout the entire tournament. He’s lost only one match (to Dominic Thiem two weeks ago). It was his only misstep throughout the last four weeks. The Greek God finished the group stage at 7-1 and secured the #1 spot moving into the semifinals. Unless Berrettini or Gasquet regain their top forms, it looks like Tsitsipas won’t be beaten.

Match #3: The Hammer (Matteo Berrettini) def. The Sniper (Alexei Popyrin) 4-0

After two losses in a row, Berrettini regained control with a crushing win over Alexei Popyrin. The Hammer served very well in the match (71% 1st serve percentage) and didn’t allow Popyrin to get close to winning a set.

Popyin’s loss takes him out of contention from attaining the final semifinal spot moving forward. At 3-5, he just wasn’t consistent enough down the stretch and didn’t put together a solid weekend to boost him above the middle of the pack.

Berrettini rebounded nicely after losing to Tsitsipas yesterday and Thiem last Sunday. He finishes group play at 5-3, which will place him anywhere from 2nd to 4th (depending on how Gasquet and Goffin finish today). Berrettini was ahead from beginning to end today, outscoring Popyrin 64-42. It’s great momentum for him as he moves into the semifinals.

Match #4: The Virtuoso (Richard Gasquet) def. The Torero (Feliciano Lopez) 3-2 

Gasquet has officially clinched the second spot in the semifinals with a win over Lopez. On the other hand, the Spaniard’s loss pushed him out of contention for the 4th semifinal spot. It was a back and forth match the entire way through but Gasquet was able to stop Lopez’s comeback in sudden death.

Gasquet clinched the #2 spot in the semifinals with his win and moved ahead of Berrettini in the process. He’s had a number of tough matches throughout the last four weeks (3 of his 8 matches have gone into sudden death; the most by any player in the field). However, he’s shown that he’s able to compete with the top players and will be a tough task to face for the other members of the semifinals.

Lopez’s loss knocked him out of contention for the semifinals. If Goffin wins his match, he’ll take the 4th spot. If not, it’ll be Moutet taking it.

Match #5: The Wall (David Goffin) def. The Rebel (Benoit Paire) 3-1

Goffin has clinched the final semifinal spot with his victory over Paire. After narrowly losing the first quarter 15-13, Goffin outscored The Rebel 51-34 over the final three quarters, including a 20-8 win in the second.

Goffin and Berrettini ended tied in match record at 5-3; Berrettini had a better quarter record (21-12 to Goffin’s  20-14). The bottom three in the semifinals have certainly slipped up slightly over the last two weeks; Goffin will need to play flawless tennis to overcome the outstanding play of Tsitsipas.

Official UTS Semifinal Standings

  1. Stefanos Tsitsipas (7-1, 19-12, +85)
  2. Richard Gasquet (6-2, 21-14, +63)
  3. Matteo Berrettini (5-3, 21-12, +72)
  4. David Goffin (5-3, 20-14, +62)

The semifinals of the UTS begins next Sunday (July 12th).