Fernando Verdasco continued his torrid ascent back to the Top 10 today edging countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the semifinal of the clay event in Bastad.
After not reaching a quarterfinals all year, Verdasco, ranked No. 34, has now been to at least that stage at his last three events. He’ll now face Bulgarian sensation Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals on Saturday. Dimitrov advanced after an easy straight set win over Juan Monaco.
In the other semi, Thiemo de Bakker, an upset 7-5, 7-5 winner today over top seeded Tomas Berdych, meets Carlos Berlocq. It was the 104th-ranked de Bakker’s third career Top 10 win. The 24-year-old Dutchman has never been to an ATP final.
On the red clay in Stuttgart, the event which will go green as a Wimbledon warmup in 2015, lost its prime star in German favorite Tommy Haas. The 35-year-old Haas was sent off by Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4 today in the quarterfinals. Fognini meets Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agat while Victor Hanescu clashes with Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The grass season’s final stop is in Newport, home of the tennis Hall of Fame. It’s also home to John Isner who has won the title the last two years and today he took a closer step to a third beating fellow tower Ivo Karlovic in two breakers.
The two combined for a total of 37 aces, but in the end it was Isner’s confidence in the breakers.
“I said the other day that this match would come down to a few points here and there and those few points were in the tie-break,” Isner said. “I felt like I got a lot of good returns back and he came up with some good volleys. I made some good shots when I needed to.
“When I get ahead in tie-breaks I know that the match is really on my serve at that point. I was able to close it out.”
Isner will meet former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals tomorrow. The Australian has won three of four with Isner, but he knows the 6-foot-9 giant is playing well in Newport.
“He’s playing well this week, I just have to go out there and play my game. When I get those small opportunities, I have to try and take them but he can take them out of your hands as well. I’ve just got to try and bide my time, and take care of my service games,” said Hewitt.
In the earlier semi it’s Nicolas Mahut against Michael Russell.
The matches will be preceded by the Hall of Fame induction ceremony which this year will admit the 2013 class of Martina Hingis, Thelma Coyne Long, Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell and Ion Tiriac.
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