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Youzhny Battles Past Karlovic In Zagreb; Baghdatis Ousts Dodig

Zagreb, Croatia

Baghdatis© PBZ Zagreb IndoorsMarcos Baghdatis beat Ivan Dodig in a meeting between past champions.

Third seed Mikhail Youzhny earned a hard-fought win over eight-seeded Croatian Ivo Karlovic, prevailing 7-6(10), 3-6, 7-6(6) after two hours and 42 minutes on Friday at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors.

Youzhny won 10 less points than Karlovic, but survived 22 aces and edged the home favourite in the tie-breaks to reach the Zagreb semi-finals for the second time. He improved to a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against his opponent, including a win at Doha earlier this season.

"It was a very close match, very tough match for both," said the Russian. "I think I was a bit lucky. When you win in two tie-break sets, two points difference, you have to have luck on your side."

Youzhny next faces German Michael Berrer, who stayed on course to reach his third straight final at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament after rallying past former World No. 8 Jurgen Melzer of Austria 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and three minutes.

"I knew it’d be a very difficult match and I’d have to play on top," said Berrer. "In the beginning I was 1-4 down and I felt like, I’m playing not bad, but he’s just too good. But then I got a little bit more offensive, tried to get him away from the baseline, pushed him back a little bit, and then I went to chip and charge returns. I was able to put him down a little bit."

The 105th-ranked Berrer is making his first tour-level appearance since last October in St. Petersburg.

Sixth seed Marcos Baghdatis ensured a Croatian player would not lift the Zagreb trophy for a fifth time in seven years after he knocked out defending champion and No. 4 seed Ivan Dodig 6-4, 7-5 in the last match Friday. The Cypriot, who won the Zagreb title in 2007, improves to an 8-0 record at this tournament. 

Baghdatis is through to his second semi-final of the 2012 season, also advancing to this stage in Sydney (l. to Benneteau), and will be attempting to reach his 12th tour-level final.

Slovakian Lukas Lacko booked a place in his first ATP World Tour semi-final on Friday after he beat seventh seed Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-4 in 70 minutes.

Lacko, 24, is full of confidence after reaching the Australian Open third round (l. to Nadal) as a qualifier last month. The World No. 97 played in five quarter-finals in 2010 (at Chennai, Zagreb, Memphis, Halle and Atlanta).  

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