Romanian Victor Hanescu clinched his place in the semi-finals of the ATP Challenger Tour Finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Italian Paolo Lorenzi on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
He saved all three break points faced on serve and needed a break in each set for the one hour, 32-minute victory.
“It’s been a great start for me, I’m really happy,” said Hanescu. “I managed to play a lot better than the first day. It’s good to know I’m in the semi-finals, but I still have one match to play.”
Lorenzi still has a chance to advance to the semi-finals and will play Slovenian Aljaz Bedene in his final round-robin match Thursday. “[Hanescu] was serving really well today,” said the Italian. “I didn’t have many chances but I think it was a good match. Let’s see what happens against Bedene.”
Bedene, who was edged out by Hanescu in two tie-break sets Tuesday, prevailed against Portugal’s Gastao Elias in a hard-fought Yellow Group round-robin match. He rallied from a break down in the third set for a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory in two hours and 26 minutes.
“It was hard to play against a friend like Gastao,” said Bedene. “I played better during the first set, but the tie-breaker in the second was bad. I was able to turn things around in the third and I knew he was tired, so I used that to play even better. It was an important match for me.”
Romanian Adrian Ungur moved to the top of the Green Group after defeating Argentine Guido Pella 4-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(5) in two hours and 27 minutes. Ungur had opened with a three-sets win over Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo on Tuesday.
Ramirez Hidalgo completed the day’s action with a 6-3, 7-6(3) win over Brazilian Thiago Alves. The Spaniard twice failed to serve out the match, at 5-4 and 6-5, double-faulting to concede a break each time before wrapping up the win in the tie-break.
Alves had taken countryman Thomaz Bellucci’s place in the field after the top seed withdrew with a left shoulder injury earlier in the day.
The ATP Challenger Tour Finals features the top seven players in the 2012 ATP Year-To-Date Challenger Rankings (determined by players’ best 10 Challenger results of the season) plus one wild card in a round-robin tournament.