Blake Battles Tursunov Today in Indianapolis Semifinals

Posted on July 19, 2008

For the first time since the Indianapolis Tennis Championships switched to hard courts (from clay) in 1988 the top four seeds have advanced to the semifinals. The last time the top four reached the semis in Indy came in 1986 when the tourney was played on clay. That year, Thierry Tulasne, Andres Gomez, Jimmy Arias and Martin Jaite advanced to the semifinals.

This year’s foursome includes top seed and ’06 champion James Blake, No. 2 Gilles Simon of France, No. 3 seed and defending champion Dmitry Tursunov of Russia and No. 4 Sam Querrey, who is appearing in the semifinals for the second straight year. Blake is the only semifinalist yet to win an ATP title this year although he’s reached two finals. In the first match, Querrey takes on Simon for the first time.

Querrey, 20, reached his first ATP semifinal in Indy (d. No. 10 Blake in QF, l. to Tursunov) last year. He is appearing in his third ATP semifinal (or better) this season and his 22-15 match record (17-8 on hard) already surpasses last year’s mark of 19-22. He captured his first ATP title in Las Vegas in March (d. Anderson) and reached the semifinals in Delray Beach (l. to Nishikori) in February. The last 20-year-old to reach the final/win the Indy title was Andy Roddick in 2003 (d. Srichaphan).

Simon, 23, is making his first career ATP semifinal on U.S. soil (his previous best was the QFs in New Haven last year). The No. 4 Frenchman, ranked a career-high No. 25 this week, is appearing in his third ATP semifinal (or better). He won his third career ATP title in Casablanca in May (d. Benneteau) and reached the semifinals in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) in February. He enters with a 24-16 match record on the season (13-8 on hard). The last Frenchman to reach the Indy final was Olivier Delaitre in 1994 (l. to W. Ferreira). In the second semifinal between the tournament’s last two champions, Blake and Tursunov meet for the second time. Last December, Blake prevailed 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a dead rubber in the U.S.-Russia Davis Cup final in Portland.

Blake, 28, is through to his fourth ATP semifinal (or better). The Tampa, Fla. resident, who was winless in his first three visits to Indy, has won 10 of his last 11 matches since winning the title two years ago (d. Roddick). He comes into the semis with a 34-15 match record on the season (21-6 on hard). His best results were runner-up showings in Delray Beach (l. to Nishikori) in February and Houston (l. to Granollers) in April. This is his first tournament since a five-set second round loss to Rainer Schuettler at Wimbledon

Tursunov, 25, is making his first ATP semifinal showing since January when he captured his fourth career ATP title in Sydney (d. Guccione). The defending Indy champion enters with a 22-14 match record on the season (14-7 on hard) and No. 32 ranking. He also is 9-2 lifetime in Indy. His best Grand Slam results this year were third round results at Roland Garros (l. to Chardy) and Wimbledon (l. to Tipsarevic). (ATP Digital Services)