August 20-28, 2022

Diallo survives again to reach first Challenger semifinal

August 26, 2022
Gabriel Diallo raises his fist in the air in celebration.

Photo : Sarah-Jade Champagne

Gabriel Diallo is quickly establishing a reputation as a player who can never be counted out.

The 20-year-old Canadian is through to his first ATP Challenger semifinal after winning in a third-set tiebreak for the second day in a row, beating Aziz Dougaz 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) at the National Bank Championships.

Already having a achieved a career-best result by reaching a Challenger quarter-final, Diallo had to dig deep to go a step further. He bounced back quickly after dropping the opening set by breaking early in the second, but then let a break lead slip away in the decider.

No setback seemed to phase the young Canadian though. He trailed in the tiebreak and was two points away from defeat at 3-5, but Diallo strung together four points in a row to book his place in the final four.

Rain once again caused problems on Friday in Granby, interrupting the first slate of men’s quarter-final matches for almost three hours.

It was not a problem for Junchang Shang, who still managed to put away third seed Jordan Thompson in straight sets 7-5, 6-4.

Shang led by a set and a break when the pair were forced to retreat to the locker rooms. He immediately broke serve for a 3-0 upon the restart which proved a sufficient cushion, even though his Australian opponent reclaimed one of the breaks, as he became the first man to reach the semifinals.

Adrian Mayo was in the same position as Shang heading into the delay, having won the first set and being up a break at 3-2 in the second, but the rain appeared to blunt his momentum as he lost six straight games after returning to the court to lose the second set and go down a break in the decider against Nicolas Mejia.

The American was able to recover, however, rallying to win a wild third set that saw six breaks of serve in the last seven games, including as Mejia served to stay in the match at 4-5. Mayo’s 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win sends him into his first ATP Challenger semifinal.

Hiroki Moriya completes the final four, having pulled a minor upset over former world No. 25 Ugo Humbert. The ninth seed from Japan edged out Humbert in a two-and-a-half-hour 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-5 thriller.

Humbert had his chances in the match, twice leading by a break in the first set only to be broken back immediately. He then served for the match at 5-4 in the third, only to lose three games in a row and surrender the match.

Moriya will face Diallo in the top-half semifinal, while Mayo and Shang will meet in the bottom.

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