Saturday, 28 July 2012
Australian Marinko Matosevic advanced to the semi-finals of the ATP's Los Angeles Open on Friday when he scored a comfortable straight-sets win over American Michael Russell.
World No.81 Matosevic was far too good for the crowd favourite in a 6-2 6-3 victory to set up a clash with Lithuanian qualifier Richard Berankis.
Russell had upset top seeded Frenchman Benoit Paire in the second round, but was outgunned by the 26-year-old Melbourne-based right-hander at the UCLA venue.
Sam Querrey and Rajeev Ram will meet in the other semi-final after both won their quarter-finals to guarantee an American in the final for the sixth straight year.
Two-time LA Open champion Querrey won his 11th consecutive match at the tournament and needed just 36 minutes on court to post a 6-2 3-1 triumph over Xavier Malisse after the Belgian fifth seed retired with a knee injury.
Ram upset Argentine third seed Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (7-3) 6-3, while 22-year-old Berankis stunned French fourth seed Nicolas Mahut 6-4 6-4.
Berankis is the first Los Angeles qualifier in three years to get this far, following in the footsteps of Australian Carsten Ball, who lost to Querrey in the 2009 final.
Querrey had a huge day on serve in his abbreviated match, losing just one point on his serve in the 22-minute opening set. The second set lasted only 14 minutes before the 32-year-old Malisse packed it in.
"It was a good win for me, but I'm sorry Xavier had to quit," said Querrey, who has not lost in Los Angeles in five years.
"I was serving great for the set and a half that it lasted.
"I just love playing at home in front of my family and friends."
World No.66 Mahut exited in just under 90 minutes as he lost serve once in each set to Berankis.
"It was a great match for me, we both played well," said Berankis. "I was lucky on some returns. Somehow I won today, I'm really happy about it."
Ram will be playing in his second semi-final this month after a strong performance at Newport on grass the week after Wimbledon.
He rallied from 3-1 down in the second set, winning the last five games to advance over Mayer.
"I'm feeling really good about my game," said Ram. "I've been doing well lately, and I just hope to keep it going. I just had to concentrate to hold my own serve, that was the key to the match."
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