Two-time defending champion Fabrice Santoro continued his dominance at the Hall of Fame Championships on Friday, winning two matches to advance to the semi-finals.
Santoro, 36, the oldest singles player on the ATP Tour, raised his record to 12-0 on Newport’s grass courts. He has lost just one set at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Santoro will face third-seeded Sam Querrey, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over seventh-seeded fellow American Kevin Kim.
After rallying to beat American Taylor Dent 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in a contrast of styles earlier, Santoro frustrated countryman and doubles partner Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4 with an array of two-handed cuts, slices and drops.
Santoro took control by breaking Mahut in the third game of the first set. He broke in the ninth game of the second, going up 5-4, before closing it out.
Playing in sparkling sunshine with bright blue skies that made up for two days of heavy rain, there were eight second-round matches followed by the four quarter-finals.
The other semi-finalists were lucky loser Rajeev Ram, who beat fellow American Jessie Levine 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3) and qualifier Olivier Rochus of Belgium, who beat Brendan Evans of the US 6-4, 6-4.
Earlier in the day, Querrey beat wild card Prakash Amritraj of India, Levine ousted sixth-seeded Philipp Petzschiner of Germany, Ram eliminated Samuel Groth of Austria, Kim got past Germany’s Daniel Brands, Evans beat Robby Ginepri, Rochus downed Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine and Mahut beat American Alex Bogomolov Jr.
AP, BASTAD, SWEDEN
Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 on Friday to reach the Swedish Open final for the first time.
Wozniacki will play unseeded Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the final. Martinez Sanchez defeated Gisela Dulko 7-5, 6-4 in the other semi-final.
Ninth-ranked Wozniacki broke Pennetta’s serve twice in the third set, wrapping up the match on her second match point when the Italian player netted a backhand return.
Pennetta, seeded third in the clay-court tournament, forced a decisive set when she broke Wozniacki’s serve in the 10th game of the second set, hitting a superb volley that the Dane could not return.
It was the first time in four matches that Wozniacki dropped a set in the tournament.
Wozniacki, who turned 19 yesterday, has won five WTA titles, including two this year — at Ponte Vedra and Eastbourne. She reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
The final will be the first meeting between Martinez Sanchez and Wozniacki.
“My game is difficult for my opponents, it’s not easy to read me,” Martinez Sanchez said after coming back from a 4-2 deficit in the second set to beat Dulko.
■BUDAPEST GRAND PRIX
Fourth-seeded Agnes Szavay of Hungary defeated qualifier Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Budapest Grand Prix.
Szavay won the last four games of the first set after breaking Bacsinszky for a 3-2 lead and continued to control the play in the second.
Szavay will next face sixth-seeded Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine, who trailed 5-1 against Shahar Peer of Israel before winning 10 games in a row for a 7-5, 6-1 win.
Edina Gallovits of Romania also advanced by beating Petra Martic of Croatia, 6-3, 7-6 (7/6), while the last quarter-final between top-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland and fifth-seeded Alisa Kleybanova of Russia was suspended because of rain with Schnyder leading 4-3 in the first set.