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Ferrero To Face Qualifier Del Bonis In Stuttgart Semis

Stuttgart, Germany

del Bonis© MercedesCup/P. ZimmerFederico del Bonis is playing his first ATP World Tour-level event.

Former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final in nearly a year on Friday as he dismissed fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-3 at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

The 31-year-old former Roland Garros champion is playing in just his third ATP World Tour event of the season after struggling with wrist and knee injuries, and was too strong for his No. 52-ranked opponent in the quarter-finals. Ferrero broke serve five times from 10 opportunities, to combat losing his own serve on three occasions, and claimed victory in 87 minutes.

"Today I felt better than in the other matches, maybe I played my best tennis of the tournament," said Ferrero. "I know Granollers very well and I knew how I had to play against him. I still think I need to be more solid during the points and I have to be a little more consistent."

The right-hander last reached an ATP World Tour semi-final at Umag in July 2010, when he went on to win his 15th tour-level title (d. Starace). Since then he has played just three tournaments, reaching the third round at the US Open, the quarter-finals at Barcelona, and losing in the first round at Madrid.

Next up, Ferrer faces World No. 240 Federico del Bonis, who booked a place in his first ATP World Tour semi-final after he defeated fellow qualifier Pavol Cervenak, the World No. 287, 6-1, 6-2 in 72 minutes. The 20-year-old Argentinean, who beat Florian Mayer in the first round, dropped 15 points on serve and converted four of 13 break point opportunities.

“It was a very good match. I played well; I played my tennis and served very well,” said del Bonis. “It feels like a dream. I played the first round with Mayer, I won, which was a surprise. Then I played another game and felt better. Now I’m in the semi-finals! Ferrero was the No. 1 player in the world; it will be very difficult and very tough.”

Spaniard Pablo Andujar ended Cedrik-Marcel Stebe’s campaign, defeating the German wild card 6-2, 6-1 in 66 minutes, having converted all six of his break point opportunities. The No. 197-ranked Stebe had recorded his first two ATP World Tour-level wins to reach the quarter-finals, including a first-round win over sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko.

"I think I played really intelligently," reflected Andujar. "I played solid. I played high balls and he started to miss and tried to make some very difficult shots. So I’m really happy with that win. I think I’m playing good. I’m happy and enjoying tennis. I have to keep focussed in every match and we’ll see."

World No. 55 Andujar won his first ATP World Tour title on the clay courts in Casablanca (d. Starace) in April and is through to his second semi-final of the season. He goes on to face Polish wild card Lukasz Kubot, who battled past Colombian Santiago Giraldo 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes.

World No. 69 Kubot is coming off a fourth-round showing at Wimbledon and is through to his first ATP World Tour semi-final since February 2010, when he finished runner-up at Costa do Sauipe (l. to Ferrero).

It is the first time since Houston in April 2009 that no seeded players have reached the quarter-finals of an ATP World Tour tournament. 

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