Slovakia’s Alex Molcan backed up his upset of Marrakech top seed Felix Auger-Aliassime with another three-set victory over sixth seed Botic van de Zandschulp on Friday at the Grand Prix Hassan II.
After beating the Canadian in a third-set tie-break, Molcan scored a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Van de Zandschulp to reach his second ATP Tour semi-final. After getting broken twice in the opening set, the Slovak did not face a break point in the last two stanzas.
“Botic is a really good player so I knew it was going to be really tough,” Molcan said post-match. “He was playing very fast with an amazing serve.
“In the second set I was trying to stay focused on the game and to play every point and of course try to win. It went as I planned it. The third set was a battle of course.”
Alex Molcan completes the SF line-up ✅
🇸🇰 Molcan vs Djere 🇷🇸
🇦🇷 Coria vs Goffin 🇧🇪#Marrakech #GrandPrixHassanII pic.twitter.com/yGOFkyyzgz
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) April 8, 2022
The 24-year-old’s previous tour-level semi-final appearance came in 2021 at the Belgrade 2 event, where he qualified and earned his first four ATP Tour wins before losing to home favourite Novak Djokovic in the final. Molcan’s quarter-final opponent also has history going deep as a qualifier, with Botic making his breakthrough run to the 2021 US Open quarter-finals after qualifying.
Molcan is making his Marrakech debut at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 65, and is now set to break into the Top 60 following his semi-final run.
He will face eighth seed Laslo Djere in the semi-finals, after the Serbian secured a 6-3, 6-2 win over #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti. The 26-year-old is through to his first tour-level semi-final of the 2022 season thanks to a strong performance in the closing stages of both sets.
After saving the first three break points of the match, Djere took the lone break of the opening set in the sixth game. He then trailed 0-2 in the second before rattling off six games on the trot to seal his progress. He broke serve four times in 12 chances, converting in all four games in which he had break points.
In the opposite half of the draw, David Goffin and Federico Coria each came back from a set down to reach the semi-finals.
Goffin got past Roberto Carballes Baena, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-0, defeating the Spaniard for the second time in as many tournaments following his win in the Miami opening round. The former World No. 7 is through to his first ATP Tour semi-final in over a year, since he won the 2021 Montpellier title.
After coming back from a set down against Pablo Andujar to earn his 300th tour-level win on Thursday, Goffin kept that number ticking up with a repeat performance against Andujar’s countryman.
“It’s already a good week but it’s not over yet,” said the Belgian. “We try to go for more. It’s another long match against a Spaniard on the clay.
“I felt that today I had everything in my racquet to be aggressive and to make damage during the rallies,” he assessed. “That’s what I did at the beginning of the second set. It gave me some confidence to continue and to stay mentally in the match. When I won the second set with a good service game to finish it, it gave me even more confidence to start well in the third. And then I was just playing better and better.”
Argentina’s Coria also dropped an opening-set tie-break in a 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet. Sitting at a career-high ATP Ranking of World No. 60, the Marrakech debutant was down an early break in the final set but closed out the win by taking six of the last eight games, including the last three in a row from 3-4, closing out with a love hold.
The 30-year-old Coria and the 31-year-old Goffin will open their ATP Head2Head series in Saturday’s semis.