Frank Dancevic ended a run of three-straight losses to Dmitry Tursunov, upsetting the top seed 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the ATP hard court event on Friday.
His test against third seed Sam Querrey, a winner over French No. 7 Marc Gicquel 6-4, 7-5, will be a show of strength between two big hitting rising stars. Querrey hammered 19 aces in the win over Gicquel.
The Canadian won their only other meeting in Sydney two years ago, but Querrey has his eye on the prize this weekend.
“I might be favored as the seed, but everybody can play,” said the 22-year-old, who is shadowed at US events by an informal support group of “Samurai” friends complete with body paint and screams of support every time their man makes a winning shot. “I like my chances through, I’m playing well, but Frank is also playing great. This is my third year of reaching the semi-finals, I’m finally hoping to make the jump into the final.”
At the bottom of the draw, 2005 champion Robby Ginepri returned to his glory days by beating fellow American Alex Bogomolov 7-5, 6-1.
Ginepri will play John Isner, who defeated Wayne Odesnik 7-5, 7-5 in the longest match of the tournament at more than two and a half hours. Russian Tursunov, who lives in California, had beaten Dencevic in the final on grass at Eastbourne the week before Wimbledon.
He has also defeated Dancevic in the final at Indianapolis two years ago after winning their first meeting at Queen’s Club in London in 2007.
“This is my first hard court week and I felt a bit nervous, but I’ve been playing well from the first round,” said 24-year-old Dancevic, the world No. 121. “I’m glad I was able to play solid against Dmitry and close it out.”
Dancevic fired nine aces, with 29 winners and three breaks of the patchy Tursunov serve.
The Canadian began imposing himself on the match in the third game of the second set when a Tursunov double-fault led to a break for 2-1, the margin enough to eventually level the sets.
In the third, the man from Niagara Falls took control to run out the winner during a week when he duplicated his 2007 habit of driving to Indiana from his home on the US-Canadian border with his girlfriend.
Dancevic ended a string of success for Tursunov at the tournament where the No. 27 won in 2007, before losing the final a year ago to Gilles Simon.
“He started getting hold of my serve in the second set,” Tursunov said. “I had chances in the second set tie-breaker, but I couldn’t convert them. He got lots of free points — he served well. I didn’t.”
Uruguayan qualifier Pablo Cuevas reached his second tour semi-final of what looks to be his breakthrough season on Friday when he swept past Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 6-4 at the German Open in Hamburg.
Cuevas will meet Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu who led 3-0 in the first set against Viktor Troicki before the Serb retired with a foot injury.
World No. 107 Cuevas sailed through the first set, his lethal topspin backhand landing him two breaks against an opponent ranked 67 places above him.
Last year’s French Open doubles champion then got the break he wanted in the fifth game of the second set, saving two break points in the next game to hold serve and go 4-2 up.
The 23-year-old comfortably held on to his lead to win the match four games later.