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Monfils Sets Washington SF Clash With Isner

Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Young© Getty ImagesDonald Young advanced to his first ATP World Tour semi-final on Friday.

Top seed Gael Monfils dismissed sixth seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on Friday evening to set up a semi-final showdown with American John Isner.

The World No. 7 won 70 per cent of his service points, dropping serve just once to win his third match in a row against the Serbian.

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Monfils is looking to progress to his first final of the year after reaching the semi-finals in San Jose (withdrew) and Halle (l. to Kohlschreiber), and can do so with a win over Isner on Saturday. "I need to focus on my serve, as it will be very important to [hold] it," assessed Monfils on his matchup with Isner. "I also have to be relaxed as playing against John is tough, because he gets so many free points. quick points. When I get an opportunity [to break], I need to take it."

The 11th-seeded Isner advanced to his third straight semi-final this summer, upending third-seeded Viktor Troicki 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1 in a quarter-final clash.

The 6’ 9’’ American broke the match open in the third set, breaking Troicki’s serve three times to notch his first victory in three meetings against the Serbian. Troicki did not face a break point in the first two sets, but won just 36 per cent of his service points in the deciding set. "When we got into that third set, I told myself I need to try and get ahead, with a 0-15, or 15-30 [lead on Troicki's serve]. If I can do that, I kind of know that my opponent will feel pressure, and that's what happened in the second game of the third set," Isner said.

Watch Interviews: Isner | Monfils | Young | Stepanek

Isner, who reached the final in Washington D.C. four years ago, improves to an 11-1 record since losing in the second round of Wimbledon, highlighted by a title at the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport (d. Rochus), and a runner-up finish at the Atlanta Tennis Championships (l. to Fish).

The 26 year old holds a 3-2 head-to-head advantage over Monfils, which includes a semi-final victory over the Frenchman at this tournament in 2007. All of their encounters have come on hard courts.

Radek Stepanek advanced to his first semi-final in Washington D.C. by defeating No. 5 seed Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 51 minutes.

The 32-year-old Czech saved eight of nine break points against his serve and overcame a 0-3 hole in the second set to end a three-match losing streak to the Spaniard. Verdasco outlasted Stepanek 9-7 in the final set of a first-round thriller at Wimbledon this year. “Every match is different, so I was trying to forget about it and concentrate on [today’s] match," said Stepanek.

“I wanted to be aggressive from the first point on. In the key moments, I was aggressive and it paid off. I’m very happy with the way I played and now I can forget about the match at Wimbledon.”

The win puts Stepanek into his third semi-final of the season, after final four appearances in Brisbane (l. to Soderling) and Munich (l. to Davydenko). He will aim to reach his first final of the year when he takes on American Donald Young on Saturday.

The 22 year old ousted 2010 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 7-6(4) to reach his first ATP World Tour semi-final. Young never trailed in the tie-break and won the final three points to clinch the upset over the No. 7 seed in one hour and 27 minutes. "It feels great to make it to my first semi-final," a pleased Young said after. "To come through [against] the quality players I've beat this week is great. I'm excited and hopefully I can keep moving forward."

With his victory Friday, Young improves to an even 10-10 record on the ATP World Tour in 2011.

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Lionel Maltese


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