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Rediff.com  » Sports » Tennis round-up: Del Potro sets up Ferrer semis at Auckland

Tennis round-up: Del Potro sets up Ferrer semis at Auckland

January 11, 2018 16:47 IST

Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro plays a forehand in his quarter-final against Russia's Karen Khachanov at the ASB Men's Classic at ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland on Thursday

IMAGE: Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro plays a forehand in his quarter-final against Russia's Karen Khachanov at the ASB Men's Classic at ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland on Thursday. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Juan Martin del Potro kept his Australian Open preparations on track with a 7-6(4), 6-3 win over Russia's Karen Khachanov in the Auckland Classic on Thursday, setting up a semi-final meeting with David Ferrer.

Former US Open champion Del Potro fired down 11 aces and did not face a break point during the one hour, 33 minutes match.

 

The 29-year-old second seed, who won the tournament the last time he played in it in 2009, will now return to the top 10 in the ATP rankings on Monday for the first time since August 2014 after struggling with injuries over the past few years.

Waiting for Del Potro in the last four will be Spaniard Ferrer, who brushed aside ATP NextGen Finals champion Chung Hyeon of South Korea 6-3, 6-2.

Ferrer is yet to drop a set in Auckland and has shown glimpses of his old form that saw him win the tournament in 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Ferrer's countryman Roberto Bautista Agut will play Dutchman Robin Haase in the other semi-final.

2016 champion Bautista Agut defeated Czech Jiri Vesely 7-6(1), 6-2 in the last eight while Hasse beat Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 6-4, 6-4.

Watson to meet defending Hobart champion Mertens in semis

Former champion Heather Watson capitalised on a fast start to race away from Donna Vekic and set up a semi-final encounter against last year's winner Elise Mertens at the Hobart International on Thursday.

Watson needed to register two wins just to make the main draw but the Briton staved off her Croatian opponent's late charge to prevail 6-0 6-4 in the quarter-final contest.

The 2015 champion won the first 11 games as she homed in on a double-bagel (6-0, 6-0) victory before the big-hitting Vekic finally established a foothold in the match.

Vekic reeled off four successive games and came within two points of levelling up the second set before Watson broke for a sixth time to seal the contest in a little more than an hour.

Meanwhile, the repeat of last year's title showdown failed to materialise after losing 2017 finalist Monica Niculescu of Romania pulled out with a neck injury, allowing Belgium's Mertens to advance to the last four without hitting a ball.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Lesia Tsurenko ended Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka's strong run with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph to also secure a place in the last four.

The Ukrainian advances to meet Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu, who secured the last semi-final berth with a 7-6(5), 6-1 win over American Alison Riske.

Bopanna-Vasselin knocked out of Sydney International semis

India's Rohan Bopanna and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who joined forces for the 2018 season, fought their hearts out before losing the semi-final of the ATP Sydney International to world number one team of Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, in Sydney on Wednesday.

The fourth seeded Indo-French pair gave a scare to the top-seeded Polish-Brazilian pair before losing the closely-fought semi-final 4-6, 7-5, 8-10 in one hour and 29 minutes.

There was not much of a difference in the two teams as the winners won 70 points to the 64 of Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin.

They broke each other twice in the contest.

The victors will now fight it out with Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff and Romanian Viktor Troicki, who toppled second seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 7-6(5), 6-1.

It was the last tournament in build up to the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open.

Bopanna had played the season-opening Tata Open Maharashtra with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan in Pune, losing in the quarter-finals.