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Russell Stuns Fish In Houston; Isner Rallies

Houston, U.S.A.

Russell© Aaron M. SprecherMichael Russell notched his first Top 10 victory Thursday after beating Mardy Fish.

Qualifier Michael Russell stunned World No. 9 Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-1 in the second round of the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in front of a hometown crowd on Thursday.

The 33-year-old Houston resident capitalised on five of his eight break point opportunities, winning 72 per cent of his second serve return points to oust the top seed in 74 minutes. The victory marked Russell’s first over a Top 10 opponent in 13 attempts.

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Russell advances to his first tour-level quarter-final of the season, and next plays countryman Ryan Harrison. The 19 year old beat Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-4, winning 76 per cent of his service points in the 71-minute victory.

Second seed John Isner bounced back after dropping an opening set tie-break to Horacio Zeballos, rallying for a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 win against the Argentine. Isner did not drop serve, firing 16 aces to defeat Zeballos in two hours and 13 minutes.

The 26-year-old American, who led the United States past France in the Davis Cup quarter-finals last weekend, is looking to win his first clay-court title. The 10th-ranked Isner plays Ryan Sweeting for a place in the semi-finals. The defending champion prevailed in an all-American contest, dismissing Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 11 minutes. Sweeting won 32 of his 34 first serve points to take the pair’s first ATP World Tour meeting.

Fifth seed Kevin Anderson topped Sam Querrey 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(2) to reach the quarter-finals. The South African won seven fewer points than Querrey, but surged ahead in the final set tie-break to advance in two hours and 42 minutes.

Anderson improved to 3-5 against the American, claiming victory for the second time in three meetings this year. He is bidding to lift his second trophy of the season, having triumphed at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (d. Matosevic).

In the final eight, Anderson faces No. 4 seed Juan Monaco, who beat Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 6-3, 6-3. The Argentine broke Ito four times to wrap up the win in one hour and 38 minutes.

Monaco is through to his third quarter-final in 2012. He captured his fourth career title at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq) and advanced to the semi-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami (l. to Djokovic).

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