Taiwanese fourth seed Lu Yen-hsun advanced to reach the semi-finals of the US$647,000 ATP Indoor Championships on Friday, ousting US qualifier Alex Kuznetsov 6-1, 6-4 in 74 minutes to set up a semi-final against Croatian Ivo Karlovic.
Defending champion Kei Nishikori also won, but Australian third seed Lleyton Hewitt was eliminated by American Michael Russell.
Nishikori battled back to defeat Russian Alex Bogomolov 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to book a last-four berth against Russell, who downed Hewitt 6-3, 7-6 (8/6).
Russell earned his first victory in four career meetings with the Australian in one hour, 48 minutes.
Nishikori, an ATP top seed for the first time, saved all four break points he faced in the final set to win after two hours and 18 minutes.
“It wasn’t easy,” Nishikori said. “My tennis level is not quite 100 percent yet, so I hope I can get better. I have a lot of confidence and my goal is to win the tournament.”
Nishikori, ranked 16th, has never before played Russell, who is ranked 98th and has never won an ATP title.
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AFP, ROTTERDAM, Netherlands
Ernests Gulbis ended Juan Martin del Potro’s winning run when he beat the top seed 6-3, 6-4 in a quarter-final upset at the Rotterdam World Tennis on Friday.
Gulbis, the world No. 24 from Latvia, will face third seed Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals after the Czech defeated Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 6-7 (9/11), 6-2, 6-4 in a hard-fought victory which took nearly two-and-a-half hours.
In his last five tournaments as the top seed, defending champion Del Potro had won five titles and 23 straight matches.
Wimbledon winner Andy Murray was trying to maintain the honor of seeds as the No. 2 faced former top 10 competitor Marin Cilic of Croatia in the quarter-finals.
German Philipp Kohlschreiber was playing the last surviving Dutchman, Igor Sijsling.
Gulbis, who can be brilliant or less than impressive depending on his mood, preyed upon Del Potro as the Argentine took treatment before the start of the second set on the left wrist which has been posing problems since last month in Australia.
Del Potro came to the match without much ability to hit a penetrating backhand as he plays with medical permission while trying to clear up his wrist problem.
Gulbis is to play in his first semi-final at the event after advancing in 81 minutes with a dozen aces as he forced Del Potro to save seven of nine break points.
“It was a tough match mentally I had to stay in control,” Gulbis said. “I’m really happy to reach the semi-finals. Both Tomas and I will be trying everything in the next round.”
AFP, BUENOS AIRES, Argentina
Results from Friday in the Buenos Aires ATP tournament quarter-finals were: David Ferrer beat Albert Ramos 6-1, 6-2; Nicolas Almagro beat Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (9/7), 6-3; Tommy Robredo beat Robin Haase 6-1, 2-0 - retired and Fabio Fognini beat Pablo Andzjar 6-4, 6-3.