Jurgen Melzer, playing with a broken big toe on his right foot, upset top-seeded John Isner 6-3, 7-6 (6) on Friday in the quarter-finals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships.
The Austrian, who broke his toe a week earlier in his hotel room, has won three straight matches at The Racquet Club to reach the semi-finals. He will next play Radek Stepanek, a 7-6 (5), 6-0 winner over American Sam Querrey.
Defending champion Milos Raonic of Canada also moved into the semi-finals with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win over Belgian Olivier Rochus.
Raonic, who has already won two titles this year, will be favorite to win his semi against Benjamin Becker of Germany, who beat Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 7-5, 7-6 (5).
On the women’s side, Marina Erakovic of New Zealand beat Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 and was to play Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden in yesterday’s Memphis International final. Arvidsson defeated Alberta Brianti of Italy 6-3, 7-5.
Arvidsson is a previous winner in Memphis, while Erakovic will be looking for her first WTA-level title.
Isner came in as the top seed in a tournament for only the second time in his career. He was 6-2 this year and ranked 13th in the world, and the 2.05m American had served up 48 aces while winning his first two matches.
Now, Isner is taking leave of Memphis still looking for his first title of this year.
Melzer has three titles in his career and is working his way back toward a top-10 ranking after back troubles last year. He’s played well enough last week that not even the toe he caught up in a bedspread is bothering him.
Melzer broke in the first and last games of the opening set to win the opening frame comfortably, but it was a tighter struggle in the second.
Isner saved two match points down 4-5 and trailing 15-40, serving three aces to hold and keep the match on serve. Having won all his tiebreakers this year, Isner would have been confident of leveling at a set all, and he did have a set point but could not close it out.
Stepanek came to Memphis after spending four days in bed at home in Florida sick and not practicing. Now he’s back in his third semi-final in Memphis with his first win over Querrey in three matches.
The Czech was up 5-2 with a chance to close out Querrey in the first set. Querrey recovered to force the tiebreaker and was ahead 4-1 before Stepanek took over. He needed a moment to fix a contact lens, then won six of the final seven points.
Dispirited by that surrender, Querrey was poor in the second set, winning only two return points and failing to hold serve once.
Raonic improved to 14-1 this year, and he nearly closed out his latest match leading 5-4 in the second set when Rochus broke.