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Melzer Ousts Isner In Memphis QFs; Stepanek Up Next

Memphis, U.S.A.

Jurgen Melzer ousted top seed John Isner at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis Friday, taking their quarter-final clash 6-3, 7-6(6).

The Austrian converted both of his break point chances against Isner to win the first set. Leading 5-4 in the second set, Melzer had two match points on Isner’s serve, but the American saved them both to level. In the ensuing tie-break, a Melzer double fault handed the World No. 13 a set point, but Melzer fought back to win the final three points, and the match, in 81 minutes.

Melzer is now 2-0 versus Isner, having also defeated him in Memphis four years ago. Ranked 38th in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Melzer is through to his first semi-final since reaching the final four at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters last year (l. to Ferrer).

In the semi-finals, Melzer will face Radek Stepanek. The third seed eased past 2010 champion Sam Querrey 7-6(5), 6-0.

After edging the wild card in a first set tie-break, Stepanek broke the match wide open, converting all three of his break point opportunities in the second set to beat the American in 80 minutes. The win marked the Czech’s first in three meetings with Querrey.

Stepanek improved to 12-4 at the ATP World Tour 500 event and is into his third semi-final, having finished runner-up in 2009 to Andy Roddick. He is looking to win his sixth ATP World Tour title, with his most recent triumph coming at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington DC (d. Monfils) in 2011.

Elsewhere, No. 4 seed, and last year’s runner-up, Canadian Milos Raonic triumphed in his first meeting with World No. 51 Belgian Olivier Rochus 6-3, 7-6(3).

The World No. 35, on a eight-match winning streak following his repeat title effort in San Jose last week, fired 26 aces and converted two of three break point opportunities to advance in 83 minutes. "I did a lot of things well today," said Raonic. "I felt like their were a few games where I let up a little bit, but in the end of it [there was] not much I could do better. I just wish I could have kept the intensity up. I’m hitting better and I’m playing better tennis match by match. I’m creating my opportunities and taking care of my serve really well."

Raonic, the only seed remaining in the bottom half of the draw, now faces unseeded Benjamin Becker in his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the season.

World No. 284 Becker, appearing in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since St. Peterburg 2010 (l. to Marchenko), ousted Lukasz Kubot 7-5, 7-6(5) in the first ATP meeting between the pair. Winning 71 per cent of first service points in two hours and 7 minutes, Becker is yet to drop a set this week.

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