GRASS court events in Berlin and London continued overnight, with the Noventi Open and cinch Championships showcasing increasingly intriguing results. Another top talent fell in Germany, with German number one, and third seed Alexander Zverev going down to Frenchman Ugo Humbert, really opening up the competition with just one seed heading into the quarter finals.
While Zverev hit a whopping 20 aces throughout the 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 encounter, he could not command control with his opposition more effective winning 76 per cent of his first serve points off an 80 per cent clip, hitting 10 aces. Humbert marginally claimed more points than his higher ranked opposition, winning 51 per cent to Zverev’s 49 per cent.
“I don’t particularly know what I could have done differently, to be honest,” Zverev said. “Ugo was serving incredibly well in the first set, we both barely won points on each other’s serve. “Then in the third set, I think he found his rhythm from the baseline. “He was outplaying me. “It is not a great result for me, but I don’t know what I could have done differently.”
Humbert is next set to take on Sebastian Korda, who also required three sets to overcome former champion Kei Nishikori, 2-6 6-3 7-5. The 20-year-old American hit eight aces to Nishikori’s three throughout the two hour and 40 minute clash, and while he also hit four double faults to zero, it was his risk-taking that paid off.
“We know each other’s games so well, and he has watched me play since I started playing tennis, so there were definitely no secrets during our match,” Korda said. “It was just a mental battle and I stayed really calm in the big moments, saving lots of break points, and then I managed to win one at 5-5 and serve it out.”
“I would say it was a good level from both of us,” Nishikori said. “I think I played almost too good in the first set. “He then started making more balls and changed his position and started playing better in the second, and I think the third set could go both ways. “I had many chances, but he played good points and he deserved to win as he took risks.”
Nikoloz Basilashvili and Lloyd Harris will go head-to-head in the last quarter final, after the Georgian overcame fellow qualifier Arthur Rinderknech 6-2 7-5, while Harris recorded a similar 6-3 7-5 result over Slovakian Lukas Lacko.
At Cinch, results were much more predictable as all three seeds collected wins, and all four clashes complete in two sets. Top seed Matteo Berrettini took down former world number one Andy Murray, tasked with another Brit up next in sixth seed Daniel Evans who overcame Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.
“This was really hard. We all know who Andy is, he is a great player and he was always there even until the last point,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy for my performance.
“I know how tough it is to come back from an injury, so I wish him the best of luck. I think he played great today. I played better. I am just happy that he is back.”
Berrettini hit 14 aces and won 83 per cent of his first serve points throughout the 85-minute, 6-3 6-3 clash, and also saved all three of Murray’s break point opportunities. Evans was dealt a tougher time from Mannarino, but made the most of his second serve to fend off the Frenchman’s advances to come away with the 6-4 7-6(7) victory.
“I’m just pleased to come through. I knew that he was good on grass, I knew that it was going to be a difficult match, but I didn’t envision it being that tight and obviously I didn’t want it that tight either,” Evans said. “It was a tough match, mentally more than anything, trying to hold my nerve when I was down a set point.”
The second quarter final will play out between second seed Canadian Denis Shapovalov and American Frances Tiafoe, with 22-year-old Shapovalov overcoming fellow left-hander Feliciano Lopez – for a second time in two weeks – as the American outlasted qualifying Serbian Viktor Troicki.
“It’s never easy playing Feliciano, especially on these courts on grass,” Shapovalov said in an on-court interview. “I’m super happy to get the win… When you have a big server like Feliciano, you kind of have to guess [on the return] and hopefully you get a racquet on it. I was hoping for a lot of second serves today.”
Whilst Lopez won 87 per cent of his first serve points, the Spaniard struggled to maintain intensity and consistency off his second serve winning just 10 points and failing to challenge Shapovalov with a break point opportunity, eventually falling 6-2 6-3.
“I’ve always really liked playing on grass,” Tiafoe said. “It suits my game; I have a really flat backhand and I’m a guy who really loves to play with intangibles. I’m just really enjoying myself right now. I’m trying to enjoy the game and just have fun with it and not take it so seriously and putting too much pressure on myself. It’s been working out pretty well.”
NOVENTI OPEN ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:
Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated  Alexander Zverev (GER) 7-6 3-6 6-3
Lloyd Harris (RSA) defeated [Q] Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-3 7-6
Sebastian Korda (USA) defeated Kei Nishikori (JPN) 2-6 6-3 7-5
[Q] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) defeated [Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 6-2 7-5
CINCH CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:
 Matteo Berrettini (ITA) defeated [WC] Andy Murray (GBR) 6-3 6-3
 Denis Shapovalov (CAN) defeated Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-2 6-3
 Daniel Evans (GBR) defeated Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4 7-6
Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [Q] Viktor Troicki (SRB) 6-3 7-6