Fernando Verdasco booked his first ATP semi-final of the year on Friday, powering home to beat Donald Young 7-6 (7/1), 6-1 in the US Men’s Clay Court Championship.
The fourth-seeded Spanish veteran said Young’s solid play had him feeling “uncomfortable” in the opening set, but once he had pocketed the tiebreaker, he was on his way.
“He played great tennis in the first set,” Verdasco said. “I kept fighting and he didn’t serve well in the game I broke him. After that, he started missing a little more, including in the tie-break. After I won the tiebreak, I took extra confidence and started to be more stable on the court.”
Verdasco next faces Santiago Giraldo, who defeated Alejandro Gonzalez 6-3, 6-4.
The 26-year-old Giraldo will be playing the fifth ATP semi-final of his career and his second this year. He fell to Leonardo Mayer in the semis at Vina del Mar earlier this year.
Third-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro also advanced, downing American Jack Sock 6-2, 6-4.
Almagro will face American Sam Querrey, who fired 15 aces and saved all four break-points he faced in a 6-3, 6-7 (8/10), 6-3, victory over Germany’s Dustin Brown.
Querrey, a former world No. 17, is in the final four in Houston for the second time. He finished runner-up in 2010.
Almagro will be trying to improve on his runner-up finish in Houston last year, when he lost to American John Isner in the final.
GRAND PRIX HASSAN II
AP, CASABLANCA, Morocco
Eighth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain beat third-seeded Benoit Paire of France 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Grand Prix Hassan II.
Garcia-Lopez served for the match after breaking Paire for the fifth time, but the Frenchman broke straight back to force a tiebreaker. However, Garcia-Lopez prevailed, and next faces qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain, who defeated Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-4, 6-2.
Also, fourth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain had nine aces as he rallied to beat Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-0 in an all-Spanish match, breaking his opponent’s serve six times.