08 Sep 2017

Unseeded Skatov & Ruusuvuori Reach Semifinals

News Article

By Sandra Harwitt

Photo: Susan MullaneTimofey Skatov (RUS)

NEW YORK - Timofey Skatov of Russia arrived at the U.S. Open having won one singles match at a junior Grand Slam in the two junior Grand Slams he’s played.

Both previous outings were this year, at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and the match he won came at Wimbledon.

Fast forward two months along and the 16-year-old had taken great strides with his game to the point that he’s into the US Open semifinals. On a chilly Friday afternoon in New York, in a match between two unseeded opponents, Skatov downed Danny Thomas of the USA 63 61 to find himself in the final four.

“I’m playing better, relaxed,” said Skatov, of reaching the semifinals. “Today I was so aggressive I was making my points,” “I would go to volley, I made a lot of winners and a lot of first serves in.”

Skatov faced four break points in the match - two in each set -but only faltered once in the first game of the match. At 15-40, he was forced into a forehand error to start the 70-minute outing with a temporary deficit.

Skatov recouped the service break in the fourth game of the first set and backed that up with another service break in the sixth game to gain the advantage.

The Russian first came to notice when he played on the winning 2016 Russian Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Finals team, which upset the top-seeded Canadians for the title. Being that he’s just 16-years-old and still qualifies to play the Junior Davis Cup, he’ll return to team action in Budapest, Hungary later this month.

“It was so exciting because it was a team and a very big tournament,” he said. “And this year we are going to protect our title. It was fun and we had a lot of parties."

In the event there might be the thought that the tennis playing Skatov is the closest thing to a famous person in his family, think again. His first cousin is Russia pop and R&B singer Kristina Si - their moms' are sisters.

Agreeing that she’s like the Madonna of Russia, Skatov said, “She’s famous in Russia. She’s about 24. The last time I see her was about five years ago because she’s so busy. I like her music.”

Skatov will face his second seeded player in the tournament when he takes on top seed Axel Geller of Argentina in the semifinals. In the second round, Skatov upset third seed Jurij Rodionov of Austria in straight sets.

“Tomorrow is the semifinal I’m going to be relaxed and just play,” he said, of the pending match with Geller.

Emil Ruusuvuori is another unseeded player to advance to the boys’ semifinals. The 18-year-old Finn posted a 76 (5) 64 quarterfinal upset over 10th seed Sebastian Baez of Argentina.

“I think I served well and I tried to be as aggressive as possible, and I was able to do that and keep it up,” said Ruusuvuori, of his first meeting with Baez. “It’s a very big thing, it’s a Grand Slam semis and I’m just happy to be here.”

Ruusuvuori’s best previous showing at a major was reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals this year. He fell in the first round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

“I think I was a little bit more relaxed (today) than I was there (in Australia) in the quarters,” he said.