Sun, Jul 19, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Robredo to face Monaco after Verdasco retires

REUTERS , BASTAD, SWEDEN

Juan Monaco of Argentina returns to Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their Swedish Open quarter-final in Bastad, Sweden, on Friday.

PHOTO: EPA

Holder Tommy Robredo moved toward a third Swedish Open title on Friday by disposing of Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-0 to reach the semi-finals.

The Spaniard, who won his first title on the Swedish clay in 2006, will now face Juan Monaco after Spanish top seed Fernando Verdasco retired against the Argentine at 6-1, 3-1 down. The world No. 9 quit after struggling with a calf injury.

“I pulled [the calf muscle] in the first game of the match and it was really hard to play after that,” said Verdasco, who was dominated by Monaco in the baseline rallies.

Robredo took a 3-0 lead, having broken Gabashvili’s opening service game, and never looked back. The Russian fought bravely to get back into the set, but failed and then ran out of steam.

The other semi-final will be an all-Swedish affair.

French Open finalist Robin Soderling continued his good run of form by beating clay-court specialist Nicolas Almagro 7-5, 6-3 and will now face wild card Andreas Vinciguerra, who beat Austrian fourth seed Juergen Melzer 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The 460th ranked Vinciguerra, a finalist in 1999 and 2000, has struggled for years with injuries and it will be his first semi-final appearance in eight years.

■MERCEDES CUP

REUTERS, BERLIN

Fabio Fognini upset world No. 11 Nikolay Davydenko to reach his first semi-final this year as the Italian’s dream run in Stuttgart continued on Friday.

The 22-year-old, ranked 67th and yet to win a title on the main ATP Tour, beat the Russian 6-1, 3-6, 7-5.

Fognini was flawless in the first set, firing forehand winners at will as his 28-year-old opponent littered the court with errors.

Fognini, who overcame seventh seed Fabrice Santoro and Paul-Henri Mathieu in the previous rounds, lost the second set as Davydenko twice broke his serve, before a 20-minute rain delay interrupted play at 4-4 in the third.

However, the interruption did not rattle Fognini, who quickly grabbed two match points when his opponent, trailing 6-5, double-faulted.

The Italian, who next faces fourth-seeded Romanian Victor Hanescu, won on his second match point when Davydenko sent a backhand wide just before heavy rain returned.

Earlier, Hanescu had booked his place in the last four with a 7-6, 6-4 win over Frenchman Alexandre Sidorenko.

Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer is scheduled to play Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot, while Mischa Zverev faces Frenchman Jeremy Chardy for a place in the last four.

■PRAGUE OPEN

AFP, PRAGUE

The top three seeds — Francesca Schiavone, Sybille Bammer and Iveta Benesova — all clinched a spot in the semi-finals of the Prague WTA Open on Friday.

The fourth semi-finalist is Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, who beat the tournament’s fourth seed, Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-4, 6-4 in the last quarter-final disrupted by a heavy downpour.

In the first game of the day, a nervous Bammer, the tournament’s second seed from Austria, needed 2 hours, 45 minutes to topple Czech Lucie Hradecka 7-5, 5-7, 7-5.

Another Czech, Benesova, seeded three, eased past the tournament’s teenage sensation, 16-year-old Zarina Diyas from Kazakhstan, 6-4, 6-1.

Italian top-seed Schiavone swept Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko 6-1, 6-1.

In the semi-finals, Benesova will take on Bammer and Schiavone will face Bacsinszky.

■PALERMO OPEN

AP, PALERMO, ITALY

An Italian was assured of reaching the Palermo Open final after three advanced to the last four on Friday.

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