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ATP Tel Aviv: Constant Lestienne defeats Maxime Cressy (7-6, 2-6, 7-6) and qualifies for his first semi-final

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ATP Tel Aviv: Constant Lestienne defeats Maxime Cressy (7-6, 2-6, 7-6) and qualifies for his first semi-final
Written by madishthestylebar

Undeniably, something happened in his head. Constant Lestienne had a click this summer (three titles and a final on the Challenger circuit) and he is now totally uninhibited. After his first quarter-final on the ATP circuit last week in San Diego, this is now his first half. Friday in Tel Aviv, he had the nerves to triumph over Maxime Cressy, and his now atypical style of server-volleyball player, in the tie-break of the third set (6-7, 6-3, 7-6) after 2:26 fight. In the half, he will be opposed to Marin Cilic, who did not need to hit a single ball since Liam Broady forfeited, for an even greater challenge.

The pleasure he takes in playing at the moment is palpable. Even against Maxime Cressy’s serve, which he struggled to return, as he joked in his post-match interview. Nevertheless: Constant Lestienne is the only one to have managed a break in this part: it was during the 8th game of the second set, which allowed him to equalize with one set everywhere in stride. Because to the server-volleyball qualities of his opponent, the Frenchman opposed an impeccable ground cover, a certain ability to counter and above all an ability to take the ball early on his commitments to overflow.

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Nerves of steel despite a frustrating start

However, Lestienne could have been frustrated with the scenario of the first set. If neither of the two players obtained the slightest break point in this inaugural act, the native of Amiens found himself at 0/30 and 15/30 twice on the restart, without being able to take advantage of it because of the excellence of the first opponents. And in the tie-break, Cressy’s constant pressure at the net paid off. And the scenario seemed likely to repeat itself in the third inning. Except that Lestienne had learned the lesson and kept his cool.

A winning backhand passing line launched him in this second deciding game of the match. Feeling that he was dominated from the baseline, Cressy, on the contrary, broke down. Two consecutive double faults thus condemned the Franco-American, giving Lestienne a fateful double mini-break 4 points to 1. On his third match point, he saw the opposing return escape and let out a loud cry of joy . Here he is provisionally 61st player in the world and it may not be over…

muffled Rinderknech

Second French in the running in these quarter-finals on Israeli soil, Arthur Rinderknech did not experience the same happiness. Opposed to Roman Safiullin, 104th player in the world, he never found his rhythm. He thus lowered the flag quickly, saving only five small games (6-4, 6-1) in just over an hour (1h08 precisely). Already defeated by Hugo Grenier in the 1st round, the Russian could face Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals if the latter defeats the Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

Often overwhelmed by the opponent’s aggressiveness, Rinderknech nevertheless held his serve – saving no less than four break points – until 5-4 against him. But he then gave up his white engagement and the first set, the start of a real black hole since between 4-4 and 6-4, 5-0, the native of Gassin lost seven games in a row. Difficult in these conditions to reverse the dynamic. He will never have found the key to return the first opposing ball: Safiullin won 90% of the points behind, or 26 out of 29 played.

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