Eighteen-year-old Dominic Stephan Stricker is proving himself the tie-break king in Stuttgart.
One day after winning two tie-breaks to defeat Radu Albot, the Swiss teen stunned second seed Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(5), 7-6(5) to reach the quarter-finals at the MercedesCup. Stricker will play American Sam Querrey, who ousted Aussie James Duckworth 6-4, 7-6(7), for a spot in the semi-finals.
Following Federer’s Advice, Stricker Serves Up Geneva Breakthrough
The World No. 335 received a wild card into this ATP 250, and he has made the most of it in the first grass-court tournament of the season. The Swiss also reached the quarter-finals on his ATP Tour main draw debut three weeks ago in Geneva.
At the start of the season, Stricker was No. 1,168 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The former junior World No. 3 hit eight aces and saved five of the six break points he faced against Hurkacz, who won his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title this year in Miami.
Sixth seed Ugo Humbert advanced with a 7-6(9), 6-2 victory against home favourite Yannick Hanfmann. The Frenchman was on a four-match losing streak when he arrived in Stuttgart, but the lefty has not dropped a set on the German grass.
Also moving on in Stuttgart was former World No. 3 Marin Cilic, who beat fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-2 in 57 minutes. The Croatian has not lost a first-serve point through two matches (62/62).