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Isner, Lopez To Clash In Houston SFs; Russell Beats Harrison

Houston, U.S.A.

Monaco© Aaron M. SprecherJuan Monaco advanced to his third semi-final of the season Friday.

World No. 10 John Isner defeated reigning Houston champion Ryan Sweeting 7-6(1), 7-6(4) in the quarter-finals of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston Friday.

The No. 2 seed hit 11 aces, saving all six break points he faced to seal his second straight victory over Sweeting this year.

“I’ve always wanted to do well here, so I’m glad I’ve improved on my previous results,” said Isner. “But if I want to get to the final and win this tournament, I’m going to have to play better. Tonight, I don’t think either of us played well. I was just luckier.”

Isner improved to a 19-6 season record, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (l. to Federer). The 26-year-old American is bidding to lift his first clay-court trophy, and will look to advance to the final on Saturday when he plays third seed Feliciano Lopez.

The Spaniard led Carlos Berlocq 6-4, 2-2 when the No. 6 seed retired due to a left calf injury. Lopez is seeking his third career trophy and first on clay.

View TV Schedule | Watch Houston Videos

Fourth seed Juan Monaco reached his third semi-final of the season, edging fifth-seeded wild card Kevin Anderson 7-6(4), 7-5. Monaco won 83 per cent of his first serve points and converted the lone break of serve in the second set to get past the South African in two hours and eight minutes.

The 16th-ranked Argentine is aiming to win his second clay-court title of the year, having triumphed at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq). He also reached his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami (l. to Djokovic).

In the semi-finals, Monaco will face 33-year-old Michael Russell, who topped countryman Ryan Harrison 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 to advance to his first ATP World Tour semi-final. Russell capitalised on five of his 10 break point opportunities, claiming victory in two hours and 15 minutes to even his FedEx ATP Head 2 Head record against Harrison to a 1-1 mark.

Watch Monaco Interview | Watch Russell Interview

Russell, a resident of Houston, lost his only previous meeting with Monaco five years ago in Poertschach, Austria.

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Aaron M. Sprecher


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