Sun, Jan 08, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Qualifier Soeda upsets Wawrinka in Chennai

AFP, CHENNAI, INDIA

Go Soeda from Japan serves against his Swiss opponent Stanislas Wawrinka in their quarter-final match at the Chennai Open in Chennai, India, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Japanese qualifier Go Soeda upset defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland to storm into the semi-finals of the ATP Chennai Open on Friday.

The 120th-ranked Soeda outwitted world No. 17 Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4 to enter his first semi-final on the tour, where he is set to play top-seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

World No. 9 Tipsarevic overcame Belgian wildcard David Goffin 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in a late night match that lasted two hours.

The other semi-final today is scheduled to feature second seed Nicolas Almagro of Spain against No. 4, Milos Raonic of Canada.

World No. 10 Almagro saved three match points in the second set and wasted three himself in the third before beating another Japanese qualifier, Yuichi Sugita 4-6, 7-6 (10/8), 6-4.

Big-serving Raonic blasted 15 aces to oust Israel’s No. 1 Dudi Sela 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Soeda said he was living a dream after winning six matches in a row — three in the qualifying and three more in the main draw.

“I am so excited to be in a semi-final and that too after beating such a high-ranked player,” the 27-year-old Soeda said.

“Hope I get to play on the center court now. All my matches so far have all been on the outside court,” he added.

Wawrinka, who beat Xavier Malisse of Belgium in last year’s final, said he was short of confidence at the start of the season.

“You win some, you lose some, that is life,” he said.

“He [Soeda] played really well, but I am not confident enough yet. I am sure I will improve as the season goes on,” he added.

Sugita was a step away from joining compatriot Soeda in the semi-finals when he secured three match points in the tie-breaker of the second set, but failed to convert any.

Almagro seized the chance to win the tie-breaker and then also took the decider, despite wasting three match points on 5-4.

The Spaniard, who was given a bye in the first round and earned a walk-over in the second, was delighted to come through unscathed.

“It was tough out there and I am happy to win my first match this year,” Almagro said. “I took time to settle down, but he played really well.”

Raonic, who was named the ATP’s newcomer last year after rising from No. 156 to No. 31, was relieved to defeat Sela.

“There were lots of things to be happy about, but also a lot of things still to be addressed,” the 21-year-old said.

“I served better today than in my previous match, but I struggled with my overall game. I was a bit hesitant in deciding when to attack. There was a lot of confusion in my mind,” he said.

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