Sun, Feb 04, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Local boy Spadea defeats Haas to advance in Florida

AP , DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA

Florian Mayer of Germany reacts after losing a point to James Blake at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Florida, on Friday. Blake won 6-3, 6-4.

PHOTO: AP

Local favorite Vince Spadea upset defending champion Tommy Haas 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships on Friday.

Top seed James Blake fared better than second-seeded Haas on Friday night, winning 6-3, 6-4 over fifth-seeded Florian Mayer of Germany.

In yesterday's semifinals, Spadea was scheduled to face 2005 Delray Beach champion Xavier Malisse, who cruised past seventh-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-1, 6-1.

Blake will play fourth-seeded Benjamin Becker of Germany, who posted a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over 2002 champion Davide Sanguinetti.

Spadea's win over world No. 9 Haas was his first victory against a top-10 player in nearly three years. Spadea last beat a top-10 player in 2004 when he upset Germany's Rainer Schuettler in the third round at Wimbledon. Since then, Spadea, now world No. 93, had lost 11 straight against players ranked in the top 10.

"I had to earn everything I got out there," Spadea said. "I stayed composed even though he played great tennis in the second set. I keep proving to myself that I can do things I used to not be able to do."

Spadea, from nearby Boca Raton, has reached the Delray Beach semifinals for four consecutive years.

Spadea owned the first set, but the second-seeded Haas looked strong in the second set, breaking serve in the fourth and eighth games.

Spadea kept control of his emotions and worked his way to victory in the final set, breaking Haas in the fifth game and holding on to the service break for the remainder of the match.

"The first set I didn't get off to a good start and he found his range pretty quickly," Haas said. "I think he's a pretty good wind player. He stays close to the baseline, takes the balls early and just kind of goes for his shots."

Spadea will next face Malisse, who he has not beaten in four career outings.

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