Australian Jordan Thompson has roared into another pre-Wimbledon grass-court final at the Nottingham Open, just a week after winning the Surbiton Trophy.
Thompson, who often thrives when the grass-court season comes around, defeated his fellow Sydneysider Alexei Popyrin in straight sets in Saturday’s semi-final to record his ninth straight victory in less than a fortnight.
After winning the Surbiton event in London last Sunday with victory over American Denis Kudla, Thompson went straight to Nottingham where his excellent form has now carried him to a second consecutive Challenger final.
If he triumphs for a second straight Sunday, Thompson is set to take over as Australia’s No.2 men’s player behind Alex de Minaur.
With his fairly routine 6-4 6-2 win over Popyrin in the friends’ first-ever match at tour-level, Thompson, who was quite dominant behind his impressive serving, has set up an ‘Ashes’ final with England’s Dan Evans.
Big-serving Popyrin, who’s found it difficult to successfully build on his breakthrough 2021 season, had his delivery broken three times but Thompson only lost eight points behind his serve in the entire 70-minute procession.
British No.2 and top seed Evans should start as favourite in the final following his 7-5 6-3 win over experienced American Jack Sock.
Yet the confidence of 28-year-old Thompson, unbeaten since his first-round mauling by Rafael Nadal at the French Open and fresh from his first tournament triumph in three-and-a-half years last weekend, makes it a tough one to call.
‘Tommo’ has dropped just two sets during his striking run, bringing back memories of his famous victory over Andy Murray at Queen’s when the Scot was the defending champion in 2017.
Other Australians in action as the build-up to Wimbledon gathered momentum had mixed results.
James Duckworth’s bid to qualify for next week’s most prestigious Wimbledon warm-up event at Queen’s ended at the first hurdle as he was beaten by young Briton Paul Jubb 7-6 (7-0) 4-6 6-1.
But Chris O’Connell’s hopes of making the main draw at the Halle ATP event in Germany look promising after he beat Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-1 6-1 to reach a final qualifier against Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler.
Two Australian women have made it into the final round of qualification for the WTA’s German Open in Berlin.
Storm Sanders beat Nastasja Mariana Schunk 6-1 6-2 while Daria Saville, the leading Australian singles player at the French Open, defeated Germany’s Noma Akugue Noha 7-5 6-4.
Astra Sharma and Kimberly Birrell were both knocked out of qualifying for the Birmingham Classic in the first round but Maddison Inglis, the Australia’s No.3 ranked woman, has made it into Sunday’s final qualifier against American Caty McNally.