Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine overcame a knuckle injury on his left hand to beat Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 on Thursday in the quarter-finals of the Winston-Salem Open.
The right-handed Dolgopolov, No. 38 in the world, had to take an injury timeout in the fifth game of the second set after hitting his left thumb with the frame of his racket on a forehand shot.
“I couldn’t feel it much for a few games,” Dolgopolov said. “It just aches — not a hard pain, but it threw off my concentration a bit. Stuff like that happens. You have to deal with it and get back as fast as you can.”
Dolgopolov, who had a cut on the first knuckle of his left thumb, lost serve in that game, but he broke right back in the sixth game, then registered another service break two games later.
“I wasn’t happy I lost the break,” said Dolgopolov, who had nine aces against the 62nd-ranked Lu. “I was serving pretty solid all match, but after that, I gave away three points that he didn’t do much to break. After that, I did pretty well for a few games.”
Dolgopolov dealt Lu his ninth career quarter-final defeat in 1 hour, 38 minutes. The Taiwanese has yet to reach the semi-finals of an ATP Tour event.
Gael Monfils won an error-filled match against Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (8/10), 6-4, 6-4 to join Dolgopolov in the semi-finals.
The Frenchman and seventh seeded Verdasco seemed to play their third match as if neither wanted to win in the closing stages.
The Frenchman could not take advantage of many of the mistakes by Verdasco, whose unforced error count totalled well over 60 in the more than 2 hour contest.
He had not played since reaching the Umag clay court final last month.
“I lost two weeks of training because I sprained my ankle,” Monfils said. “This week means a lot to me. I was playing well before the ankle and had done well on clay in Europe. I was doing well when I got hurt.”
“It’s good to be winning matches to finally get set for the US Open,” added Monfils, who has returned to the top 50 in the world after falling as low as 108 on Feb. 2.
Monfils improved to 3-0 over Verdasco in the match-up between the pair of former top 10 players in the final tune-up event before the US Open, which begins on Monday.
Verdasco failed to impress in his first hardcourt quarter-final of the season. Of his five previous quarter-finals this year, two came on grass and three on clay.
The Spaniard, who suffered a neck injury earlier in the year, produced 11 aces, but had a dozen double-faults in a patchy performance. At times it looked as if both players were struggling for energy.
Austrian Jurgen Melzer came through three rain interruptions to take out Russian Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-3 to earn a showdown against sixth seed Sam Querrey, a winner over Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4.