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Sweden’s Ymer brothers miss out on final spots on two continents

Elias and Mikael Ymer were beaten in their respective semi-finals on Saturday but it’s been a breakthrough week for the two

Mikael Ymer JB Autissier / Panoramic

Sweden has been waiting for this moment for a long time.

Brothers Mikael Ymer and Elias Ymer, tipped for the top ever since their mid-teens when they began playing at the Good to Great Academy, founded by former world No 2 Magnus Norman, Mikael Tillstrom and Niklas Kulti, have taken time to break through, their Tour nous lagging behind their obvious athleticism and ball-striking ability.

On Saturday they each had a chance to reach an ATP final simultaneously on different continents; Mikael in Montpellier and Elias in Pune, India.

It didn’t quite turn out as they would have hoped, though, with Elias missing three match points in defeat to Joao Sousa in Pune and Mikael then going down, unsurprisingly, to top seed Alexander Zverev in Montpellier. But the brothers will still move up the rankings on Monday; Mikael to No 75 and Elias to No 140.

Elias misses three match points in defeat by Sousa in Pune

Ranked No 163, older brother Elias Ymer had to qualify to make the main draw of the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune. But having upset the top seed, Aslan Karatsev, in the second round – his first win over a top-15 player – the 25-year-old maintained his momentum to beat Stefano Travaglia of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (4) to reach the semi-finals.

He pushed Portugal’s Joao Sousa all the way in a brutal semi-final before bowing out 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in a battle that lasted three hours, 15 minutes. Despite the loss, Elias is projected to rise to No 140 in the world rankings. Sousa will play Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland in the final on Sunday.

Zverev a step too far for Mikael in Montpellier

Having beaten an admittedly tired Gael Monfils to make the quarter-finals in Montpellier, younger brother Mikael then took out another of France’s old guard with a hard-fought 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 win over veteran Richard Gasquet to reach the last four of the Open Sud de France.

It was a gruelling battle throughout, the 35-year-old Gasquet saving a match point in the second set to force a decider only for the 23-year-old to cut loose at the start of the third, pulling away for another big scalp and a place in the semi-finals.

Victory over top seed Alexander Zverev – who routed another Frenchman, Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-0 in the quarter-finals – would have put Ymer through to his second ATP final, having finished runner-up in Winston-Salem last year.

But Zverev was in no mood for generosity and the German eased to a 6-1, 6-3 victory to set up a final against Alexander Bublik.

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