BINGHAMTON — Austin Krajicek faced down the brutal heat Friday, perhaps aided by being a native Floridian.
With the thermometer approaching triple digits, Krajicek advanced to the semifinals in the Levene, Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger, beating No. 2 seed Mischa Zverev of Germany 6-3, 3-6 and 6-4.
“Almost everybody at these tournaments kind of knows each other so we know how tough the competition is and how little the difference is between winning and losing,” Krajicek said.
Ranked No. 270 in the world, Krajicek is coming off a win two weeks ago in Canada. Looking to keep his momentum going, the former Texas A&M University star showcased a wide array of shots.
His best weapon was his serve, good for eight aces against Zverev, who had five in comparison.
Krajicek, 23, took the first set before stumbling in the second.
“I was able to regroup,” Krajicek said. “Getting those games at the end of the second (set) really helped me to get my confidence back for third, especially holding serve.”
Zverev played with poise and power early on, but started to tire. In the third set, Zverev had his serve broken to fall behind 2-0 and ultimately fell short on a break point.
“Physically I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be,” Zverev said. “I was pretty tired since this morning, I don’t know why. I wasn’t moving well, wasn’t serving well, didn’t play well all together.”
Part of the fatigue may have had something to do with a sore neck and shoulder, which caused a medical timeout between the second and third sets. Afterward, Zverev wouldn’t use it as an excuse, but admitted it has caused him pain for the past few weeks.
“I felt like I had a chance, but I never felt like I was in control,” Zverev said.
Krajicek will face Bradley Klahn in Saturday’s semifinals. Krajicek and Jarmere Jenkins were defeated by Michael Venus and Klahn, 7-5, 6-3, in Friday’s doubles semifinals. Venus and Klahn will face Australians Adam Feeney and John-Patrick Smith in Sunday’s final.