In a wild week of upsets at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, Daniel Elahi Galan provided the biggest one of all on Thursday. The Colombian, a wild card into the qualifying draw, reached his first ATP quarter-final by shocking top seed and two-time defending champion Steve Johnson of the United States 6-3, 6-3.
The top six seeds in the draw have all been eliminated before the quarter-finals.
“He was clearly the favourite and I was a little nervous at the beginning, but I knew what I had to do,” said Galan. “I wasn’t winning so many matches lately, so this week is a relief for me. I’m playing better and better every day.”
The 22-year-old, ranked No. 241 in the ATP Rankings, wasn’t overwhelmed by the occasion. Striking his returns with authority and using his forehand to open up the court, he broke the American three times to advance in 74 minutes.
Galan’s win over Johnson marks his first victory over a player inside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings. He has primarily competed on the ATP Challenger Tour over the past 12 months and won his first Challenger title last July in San Benedetto, Italy.
He will now play seventh seed Jordan Thompson of Australia, who fought back from 3-5 in the final set to defeat Colombian qualifier Santiago Giraldo 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5 in two hours and 53 minutes. Thompson is through to his third ATP Tour quarter-final of the season and will look to reach the first semi-final of his career at this level.
Janko Tipsarevic continued his comeback from injury with a 6-3, 6-4 win over third seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain. The Serbian, a wild card entry, broke his opponent six times to reach his first ATP quarter-final since Shenzhen in October 2016.
He’ll take on eighth seed Sam Querrey, who required just 73 minutes to defeat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4, 6-3. The American is a two-time finalist in Houston (2010, 2015) and displayed a brand of aggressive hitting that showed he’s ready to make it back to Sunday’s championship match.
Bryan Brothers Move Closer To Seventh Houston Title
Top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan didn’t face a break point in their quarter-final win over Indian pair Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja 7-6(5), 6-3. The six-time champions have a lifetime 42-10 record in Houston. Next up for them is Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan.
Fourth seeds Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski of Great Britain saved four match points to reach the semi-finals over French duo Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin 3-6, 6-3, 14-12. The Skupskis rallied from 6/9 in the Match Tie-break and saved a fourth match point at 10/11. They eventually converted on their third match point to prevail in 73 minutes.