2 lucky losers in semis of same ATP tournament for 1st time

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Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon hits return to Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during their third round match on day 7, of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, Saturday, June 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

EASTBOURNE, England (AP) — Lucky losers Max Purcell and Kwon Soon-woo won quarterfinals at the grass-court Eastbourne tournament Thursday, marking the first time in ATP Tour history that more than one man who lost in qualifying reached the semifinals of the same event.

Purcell, a 23-year-old Australian ranked 283rd, got past Andreas Seppi 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in a matchup between lucky losers — players who lost in qualifying but moved into the main draw when someone else withdrew. Purcell defeated two-time Grand Slam runner-up Kevin Anderson in qualifying and top-seeded Gael Monfils in the main draw.

Kwon, a 23-year-old South Korean who is ranked 77th, beat qualifier Ilya Ivashka 6-4, 7-5 to reach his first tour-level semifinal after going 0-7 in previous quarterfinal matches. He made a career-best Grand Slam run at the French Open this month by reaching the third round.

Purcell, who never had played in an ATP singles quarterfinal, next faces No. 3 seed Lorenzo Sonego. Kwon’s opponent will be No. 2 seed Alex de Minaur, a quarterfinalist at last year’s U.S. Open.

Sonego was a 6-1, 7-5 winner Thursday against Alexander Bublik, who repeatedly tried underarm serves. De Minaur beat Vasek Pospisil 6-4, 6-4 to reach the semifinals at a grass tournament for the second consecutive week.

In women’s quarterfinal action, top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka was eliminated by qualifier Camila Giorgi 7-6 (5), 0-6, 6-4.

No. 75 Giorgi, who won despite 11 double-faults, is the lowest-ranked woman left in the field at the tuneup for Wimbledon. Play begins at the Grand Slam tournament on Monday.

Giorgi, who beat 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova earlier in the week, was a quarterfinalist at the All England Club in 2018. This is her first run to the Eastbourne semifinals in six appearances at the event.

In other quarterfinals Thursday, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko defeated Daria Kasatkina 1-6, 7-5, 6-2; Anett Kontaveit edged Viktorija Golubic 2-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5; and Elena Rybakina — who beat Serena Williams at the French Open en route to the quarterfinals there — needed 2 1/2 hours to outlast Anastasija Sevastova 2-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5).

On Friday, Giorgi will play Kontaveit, and Ostapenko will meet Rybakina.

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