The ATP’s Bett1HULKS Championship semifinals in Cologne features four of the hottest players on tour. Who moves on to the finals, and who takes the title?
The Bett1HULKS Championships (also known as Cologne 2) semifinals features four of this season’s hottest players. Alexander Zverev leads the list as an Australian Open semifinalist and US Open finalist this year. In addition, he extended his yearly title streak to five in a row with a win last week at Cologne 1.
Diego Schwartzman has had an up-and-down season but. he turned his game up to eleven after suffered a first-round defeat in New York. Since that point, he’s made the Masters 1000 Rome final, the French Open semifinals, and now a run to the Cologne 2 semis. Not to mention, this was all in a row. The current World #9 broke into the top ten after his stunning Paris run (at #8), marking the first time he accomplished this feat in his career.
Jannik Sinner has been one of the most impressive up-and-comers of the year, as he rose nearly 40 spots in the last month and well over 100 spots since this time last year. After a run to the French Open quarterfinals, where he took out David Goffin the aforementioned Zverev, the 19-year-old is continuing his hot streak yet again with his second consecutive tour-level deep run.
Lastly, Felix Auger-Aliassime has been the subject of countless conversations regarding his 0-for-6 record in ATP finals (most recently coming last week against Zverev in Cologne). Take it for what you will, but Auger-Aliassime’s finals run last week marks the third time in 2020 alone that he’s made it to the final round of a tour-level event. Things are looking up, without a doubt.
This week’s top half is certainly an interesting one. While Sinner did best Zverev the last they matched p against one another, a lot has changed. It was clear that the World #7 wasn’t at 100% during their Roland Garros Round of 16 match, but all props go to Sinner (he could’ve beaten just about anyone those two weeks). Zverev is back at full strength and is now looking for the ATP’s first-ever ‘Cologne double’.
Both players had to fight off three-set matches; Zverev lost the second set in a tie break to Adrian Mannarino before winning the decider, and Sinner was bageled in the second by Giles Simon). The way the post-restart tennis world has gone, this match features the two hottest players on tour and will likely be considered the ‘defacto final’.
Is the seventh time the charm for Auger-Aliassime? I’m sure he hopes so. Although having to fight through a three-setter in Round 2 against Egor Gerasimov, he’s coming off of a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Yoshihito Nishioka. Schwartzman, however, put together a wild comeback win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a match where he trailed 2-6, 2-5 before fighting off match point on his way to victory.
"“Tennis sometimes is crazy,” Scwartzman said after the win. “Maybe today I got lucky to be here answering questions. But that is why I am here as well with this ranking, because I am always trying to find a way to win the matches. Today was not the exception to the rule."
Tennis is crazy, Diego. The Cologne 2 semifinals begin at 1PM EST today with Zverev and Sinner, with the Schwartzman-Auger Aliassime bout to follow soon after.