One week ago, former NCAA standout Brayden Schnur entered qualifying at the New York Open looking for his first tour-level win having previously gone 0-5 in attempts.
Fast forward to today.
After two qualifying wins and two more in the main draw of the ATP 250 event on New York’s Long Island, the Canadian World No. 153 continued his tour-level breakthrough with a thrilling 6-7(7), 7-6(5), 7-5 win over Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi to reach his first ATP Tour semi-final.
Both players defended their service games with little difficult throughout the match, with Schnur knocking down aces left, right and centre – 24 in total – and the 37-year-old Lorenzi using his wealth of experience to play the big moments with fearlessness. Despite Schnur jumping out to a 6-2 lead in the first-set tiebreak, the Italian clawed his way back to claim the set, while Schnur got his payback in the second set as a crucial Lorenzi error earned the 23-year-old from Pickering the mini-break he needed to level the match.
Back to business. pic.twitter.com/NqcvdAWbEa
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) February 15, 2019
The decisive set followed a similar script to the first two: a battle of wills with both players and their contrasting styles separated by the thinnest of margins. Displaying improved fitness and confidence in his game, Schnur secured the first and only break of the match in the tenth game and, with surprising ease, served it out to claim the most important victory of his young career.
“I’m talking to my buddies and they’re saying your breakthrough week is going to come when you least expect it,” recounted Schnur after the match. “Sure enough this week, I show up here, I’m pretty tired, came off having the flu… and now I’m in the semi-finals. It’s pretty crazy.”
In the semis, the Canadian will face off against American No. 6 seed Sam Querrey, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 winner over Jason Jung.
(Photo: New York Open)