Top seeds Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen booked their spot in the inaugural Astana Open quarter-finals, while the second seeds Max Purcell and Luke Saville became the first team to reach the final four after an action-packed day in Nur-Sultan.
The Belgian duo faced Americans Mackenzie McDonald and Tommy Paul in the second round, and had to fend off three break chances across both sets. But Gille and Vliegen responded emphatically, never dropping serve and breaking McDonald and Paul immediately afterwards each time en route to a 6-3, 6-4 victory in 64 minutes.
In the quarter-finals, Gille and Vliegen will take on Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski after the Israeli-Belarussian duo defeated Mohamed Safwat and Denis Yevseyev 6-3, 6-3 to eliminate the last Kazakh player left standing in the doubles draw. Yevseyev’s countryman Mikhail Kukushkin has reached the singles quarter-finals after taking down top seed Benoit Paire in a rollercoaster three-set battle earlier in the day.
Gille and Vliegen are still on the hunt for their first trophy of the season as they seek to back up a breakthrough 2019 that saw the pair claim three ATP Tour titles, winning in Bastad, Gstaad and Zhuhai. Since the Tour’s resumption, the pair have picked up steam with a quarter-final run at the US Open and a semi-final at Antwerp in the lead up to Nur-Sultan.
Second seeds Purcell and Saville continued to make their case in the FedEx ATP Battle For London as they defeated Luke Bambridge and Divij Sharan to capture the first semi-final spot at the Astana Open. The Australian Open finalists edged through in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 as Saville and Bambridge combined for seven double faults in the opening set. Purcell and Saville began the week in ninth place in the Battle as they pursue their first Nitto ATP Finals qualification.
Also in action in Nur-Sultan, fourth seeds Ben McLachlan and Franko Skugor joined Marcelo Arevalo and Tomislav Brkic in the quarter-finals after both teams needed Match Tie-breaks to advance. McLachlan and Skugor edged past Matwe Middelkoop and Hugo Nys 7-6(4), 6-7(8), 12-10, while Arevalo and Brkic came from a set down to oust Rohan Bopanna and Frederik Nielsen 6-7(5), 7-6(3), 10-5.
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Top Two Seeded Teams Out In Vienna
At the Erste Bank Open, the doubles field is wide open as the top two seeded teams bowed out after a day full of surprises in Vienna.
Two-time French Open winners Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies came out on top in a battle between 2020 Grand Slam champions against Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares, who triumphed at the US Open earlier in the season.
In a rematch of the 2020 Roland Garros final, Krawietz and Mies repeated the same result, breaking Pavic and Soares four times to record a 6-1, 4-6, 10-8 victory over the top seeds and book their spot in the semi-finals.
The second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury also exited Vienna after Ram was forced to withdraw due to a leg injury, sending Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski into the semi-finals.
Third seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo dodged St. Petersburg champions Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in straight sets 7-5, 6-3 to become the lone seeds through to the final four in Vienna. The pair currently sit in 11th place in the Battle For London, and are hoping to make their fourth consecutive appearance as a team at the Nitto ATP Finals.