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Monaco, Tipsarevic Close On Stuttgart Final

Stuttgart, Germany

Monaco© AFP/Getty ImagesJuan Monaco will play Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the semi-finals.

Second seed Juan Monaco defeated Slovakian qualifier Pavol Cervenak 6-1, 7-5 in one hour and 37 minutes on Friday for a place in the MercedesCup semi-finals.

"I think I started very well, but then in the second set he started to play a little better," assessed Monaco. "I was 1-5 down but I came back for 7-5, so I'm very happy."

Monaco, 28, is bidding to lift his third clay-court ATP World Tour title of the year after successes at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq) and the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston (d. Isner).

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Monaco will next play Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who saved all three break points he faced to beat German wild card Dustin Brown 6-0, 6-3 in 59 minutes. Brown won 10 points in the first set.

Looking ahead to the clash, Monaco commented, "He has the game typical of Spanish guys. I've played him many times and I know his game. It will be a difficult one for me."

Garcia-Lopez last reached an ATP World Tour semi-final in February 2011 at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors.

Top seed Janko Tipsarevic was tested in his quarter-final clash with 32-year-old German Bjorn Phau, saving four match points as he claimed a 6-7(6), 7-6(2), 6-4 victory in just under three hours. The Serbian faced four match points when Phau served for the match at 6-5 in the second set, and had to rally from 0/40 before closing out victory in the final game of the match. He notched his 34th win of the season.

"I’m a little bit lucky that I managed to win [the second set] and save four match points," admitted Tipsarevic. "I kept calm in the third set and I was playing good. We were out on the court so long and it’s not easy to close out the match no matter who you’re playing. He went for a little bit too much on two occasions, but on the other two match points I think I played well."

The 28-year-old Tipsarevic is looking to reach his second ATP World Tour final of the season after finishing runner-up to Milos Raonic at the Aircel Chennai Open in January. The Belgrade native has never won a clay-court title and is the only Top 10 player to be trophy-less so far this season.

Tipsarevic will face Thomaz Bellucci in the semi-finals after the Brazilian defeated Germany’s Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-4, 6-1. World No. 64 Bellucci advanced in 70 minutes, breaking serve five times and dropping just three points on serve in the second set.

The 24-year-old Bellucci is playing in Stuttgart for the first time and is through to his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season after reaching the last four at the Brasil Open 2012 (l. to Volandri). He has a 4-13 record against Top 10 players.

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