Portugal’s Gastao Elias handed Victor Hanescu his first loss at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals, defeating the Romanian 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in their final round-robin match Thursday in Sao Paulo.
Though the eighth-seeded Elias was broken at 5-1 in the third set, he served out the victory at the second time of asking.
“It was important to finish the tournament this way,” said Elias. “My first two matches didn’t go how I expected, but I’m happy that I showed a little more of my game to get this victory.”
Despite the loss, Hanescu did enough earlier this week - winning his first two Yellow Group matches in straight sets - to guarantee his place in the semi-finals. “Being in the semis was my main focus,” he said. “Today I lost to Elias. It was a good match but I didn’t play my best. I’m looking forward to play good tennis and see what happens tomorrow.”
Slovenian Aljaz Bedene emerged as the other semi-finalist from the Yellow Group after cruising past No. 2 seed Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-1, 6-3. He capitalised on four of his nine break point opportunities for the one hour, 20-minute victory.
Bedene had rebounded from a loss to Hanescu in his opening match to defeat Elias in three sets on Wednesday. “I’m happy to recover after losing the first match,” he said. “I did a good job, had my chances and that’s tennis. This tournament gives you the opportunity of staying alive after a defeat and I'm glad to be in the semi-finals.”
The 23 year old, a winner of four ATP Challenger Tour titles this season, next faces Romanian Adrian Ungur, who won his first two round-robin matches in the Green Group to secure his semi-final spot. “I know him very well and he knows me as well, so I believe it’s going to be a good semi-final,” said Bedene.
Brazilian Thiago Alves prevented Ungur from finishing the round-robin stage with a 3-0 record, taking one hour and 35 minutes to record a 7-6(6), 6-2 win.
Argentine Guido Pella, the No. 7 seed, completed the semi-final line-up after beating Spaniard Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 7-6(4), 6-2 and will face Hanescu for a place in the title match.