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Andujar, Seppi, Nalbandian Cruise Into Belgrade SFs

Belgrade, Serbia

Top seed Pablo Andujar closed on his second ATP World Tour title of the season on Friday as he defeated Lukas Rosol 6-4, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Serbia Open 2012 in Belgrade. The Spaniard created 13 break point opportunities and was able to convert four as he claimed victory in 86 minutes.

World No. 38 Andujar improved to a 10-5 match record on clay this season (14-10 overall). The 26 year old successfully defended his Casablanca crown (d. Ramos) last month and was a quarter-finalist in Acapulco (l. to Ferrer) in February.

"He was serving better and playing faster and that meant that I had to be aware of those first two or three balls. I was more solid and returned good and that made the difference," reflected Andujar. "I’m very happy to be in the semi-finals. I will try to play my game and I hope I’ll have the chances to win."

For a place in the final of this ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, Andujar will face Benoit Paire. The Frenchman moved through to his first ATP World Tour semi-final, overcoming a slow start to knock off third-seeded Jarkko Nieminen 0-6, 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 39 minutes.

Both players broke serve five times, but Paire’s fifth conversion in the 11th game of the third set proved to be the decider in the pair’s first meeting. He previously reached the quarter-finals in Auckland (l. to Rochus) and Casablanca (l. to Cipolla).

Second seed Andreas Seppi improved to 3-0 against Gilles Muller, defeating the eighth seed 6-4, 6-3. The Italian won 77 per cent of his second serve return points to break Muller three times, wrapping up victory in 69 minutes.

Seppi, aiming to win his second title after lifting his first trophy at the AEGON International in Eastbourne last year (d. Tipsarevic), ended a seven-match losing streak in tour-level quarter-finals. He will next square off against David Nalbandian, after the No. 4 seed dismissed Joao Souza 6-3, 6-2 in 73 minutes to secure his final four berth.

The 30-year-old Argentine capitalised on four of his five break point chances to reach his second semi-final of the season. Nalbandian, winner of four ATP World Tour clay-court titles, is looking to capture his first crown since triumphing in Washington DC in 2010.

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© Juergen Hasenkopf


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