Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori improved their positions reaching the semifinals at their respective events in Shenzhen and Kuala Lumpur.
Murray, who’s currently down at 11th, beat Lukas Lacko 6-3, 7-5 to reach the Shenzhen semifinals where he’ll meet Juan Monaco, an upset winner over Richard Gasquet. The second semifinal pits Tommy Robredo against Santiago Giraldo.
Murray, who has never played Monaco, is seeking his first final since his 2013 Wimbledon triumph.
“I was a little bit frustrated at the start of the second set because I had chances to break and didn’t take them,” said Murray. “It allowed him to get back into the match. He started playing better, was creating some chances. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, when I have chances to get myself ahead, I can do that a bit better.
“I enjoy it when I’m over here in Asia. I’ve played some of my best tennis. The people are incredibly friendly. It’s a good place to be and the fans are extremely passionate.”
In Kuala Lumpur, Nishikori resumed his strong play reaching the semifinals after defeating Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-0. The US Open finalist will meet Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen. The other semifinal features Ernests Gulbis against Julien Benneteau who is still seeking his first career ATP title after holding a matchpoint in the 2013 final.
“I hope I can make the final again. We’ll see what happens tomorrow,” said Benneteau. “It will be difficult. But I will try to be back in the final again and play better.”
In Wuhan, after a week of upsets – just 4 of the Top 16 seeds made the quarterfinals – Petra Kvitova and Genie Bouchard will clash in a rematch of the Wimbledon rematch.
“It’s going to be nice to play Genie in the final, so we can have a repeat match of the final at Wimbledon,” said Kvitova who is a stellar 13-4 in WTA finals. “She’s a very good mover and plays very aggressively from the baseline – she takes the balls very early and returns very well. Those are some of the things she does great.
“My first practice here was with her, so it’s quite funny, and it’s always nice.”
The winner of the final will also clinch a berth into the Singapore Finals.
Bouchard, who has never beaten the Czech in two previous meetings, is enjoying her best week since that Wimbledon final run after beating Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-3.
“I think I played very aggressively, and it was all about trying to maintain it,” Bouchard said. “Of course I expected some resistance, and she definitely made me fight for every point, but I was happy with the way I was serving and stepping in and the way I kind of regathered by concentration.
“I feel like I played very, very well, maybe up there with Wimbledon, maybe better.”
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