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Santoro, Spadea to Face Off in Newport Semifinals

Newport, R.I., U.S.A.

Vince SpadeaMike BazVince Spadea In Action

Frenchman Fabrice Santoro stayed on track for the title defense at the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, securing his place in the semifinals with a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Spaniard Ivan Navarro on Friday.

Santoro, the No. 2 seed this week, took his Newport record to a perfect 7-0 as he converted on his second match point of the second set tie-break against Navarro. He said: "I don't know if [the serve] was the key, but it was an important point. My rhythm was better and it was less windy today."

Navarro, playing in his first ATP quarterfinal this season, had high praise for his opponent: "Many times I said 'wow'. I was playing and sometimes waiting for him to make an unbelievable shot instead of trying to just win the match."

The 35-year-old Santoro advances to his second ATP semifinal this season, and his first since January at Sydney (l. to Tursunov). By reaching the final this week, Santoro would notch his 450th career match win.

Santoro takes a 2-1 lifetime record into his semifinal match against American Vince Spadea (pictured), most recently winning at the Australian Open two years ago, but this will be their first meeting on grass.

Spadea reached his first ATP semifinal of the season by defeating Austrian qualifier Alexander Peya 7-6(3), 7-5. Spadea capitalized on his two break point chances in the second set to close out the win in one hour and 44 minutes.

"I played well at the right times, and he let down at the right times for me," said Spadea. "I got back to the simple goal of serving well. I pretended like I was serving in practice."

He improves to a 10-13 season record, and will be appearing in his first semifinal since January 2007 at Delray Beach (l. to Malisse). Prior to this week, Spadea had not won consecutive ATP matches since February at Delray Beach when he reached the quarterfinals (l. to Querrey). He reached the Nottingham quarterfinals last month with a walkover against Radek Stepanek in his second round match.

Spadea, who celebrates his 34th birthday next week, is making his seventh career appearance in Newport and now stands at a 12-6 event record. He was a finalist in 2005 (l. to Rusedski) and quarterfinalist in 2004 (l. to Popp) and '07 (l. to Moodie). He will be looking to reach an ATP final for the first time since his runner-up effort three years ago. Spadea said: "I think I am playing well enough to beat anyone here."

Peya, who picked up his first ATP match wins of the season this week in Newport, said: "Of course it is a really good week, but it is very disappointing. I felt like I had a chance in both sets and a chance to win the match."

 

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