Denis Kudla extended his grass-court streak to 10 straight sets with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Yuichi Sugita on Friday in Halle. The win puts the world No. 109-ranked qualifier into the first ATP 500 semifinal of his career.
He's got far more grass matches under his belt than most players on the tour, having also qualified in Stuttgart last week. His grass record so far, including qualifying matches, stands at 7-1.
Kudla's career breakthroughs have come on grass, which, unfortunately for him, is the shortest part of the season. In 2015, he reached the fourth round of Wimbledon as a wildcard with wins over Alexander Zverev and Pablo Cuevas. He would rise to a career-high ranking of No. 53 in 2016, before dipping back outside of the Top 200. He hasn't made it beyond the second round of a major since.
In 2017, Kudla failed to qualify for any Grand Slam main draw, but then at this year's Australian Open he reached the second round and successfully qualified in Paris. With his week in Halle, he's already guaranteed to rise back into the Top 90. It's quite a turn of events for Kudla as he wasn't even sure if he would make it into the qualifying draw:
All signs point to a strong Wimbledon showing for the 25-year-old. He will test his newly reestablished footing on grass on Saturday against the best grass-court player in the world, Roger Federer.
A LANDMARK DOCUMENTARY DURING THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS EVENT IN SPORTS, CELEBRATING THE UNPARALLELED FEDERER-RIVALRY AND 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREATEST MATCH EVER PLAYED.
In association with All England Lawn & Tennis Club, Rock Paper Scissors Entertainment and Amblin Television. Directed by Andrew Douglas.