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Sousa Shocks Ferrer; Melzer, Wawrinka Advance

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Melzer© Nick Freyer/Malaysian OpenJurgen Melzer is chasing his second ATP World Tour title of the season.

World No. 77 Joao Sousa recorded the biggest win of his career on Friday as he stunned No. 4-ranked David Ferrer 6-2, 7-6(6) in the quarter-finals of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur. 

The Portuguese player was denied a match point opportunity when he served for victory at 5-4 in the second set, before rallying from a 4-6 deficit in the tie-break to prevail in one hour and 38 minutes.

"David is a good player," said Sousa. "He probably didn't play his best today, but tennis is like this. Sometimes you have great days, sometimes you don't. I think I played a great match and I'm really happy to be in the semi-finals here."

The 24-year-old Sousa is enjoying a breakthrough pair of weeks. The right-hander jumped to a career-high No. 77 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week after reaching his first ATP World Tour semi-final in St. Petersburg last week (l. to Garcia-Lopez). He will play Jurgen Melzer for a place in his first ATP World Tour final.

"Jurgen is a great player," said Sousa. "I played him on clay this year in Acapulco and I won it, but tomorrow is going to be a tough match for me. I'm going to try and recover and be good for tomorrow."

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Ferrer was bidding to win his third ATP World Tour title of the season this week and boost his points total in the Emirates ATP Race To London. Currently fourth, the Spaniard is on the cusp of securing one of the remaining five places in the elite eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. 

"Of course to lose a match is disappointing, but now I'll focus on the next tournament," said Ferrer. "Joao played a great match and that's it. I'll stay positive."

Fourth seed Melzer reached his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the season as he dismissed Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-2. The Austrian broke serve three times as he clinched victory in 79 minutes. He is looking to contest his third final of the year, having won his fifth title at the Winston-Salem Open (d. Monfils) and finished runner-up at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors (l. to Cilic). 

"I feel like I played really well compared to yesterday," said Melzer. "I was much more aggressive and was on top of the points as soon as I got the chance. That's when I play my best tennis and I'm really happy with my performance today."

Fifth seed Julien Benneteau won an all-French clash with Adrian Mannarino, 6-3, 6-3, to reach the semi-finals. Benneteau converted five of 14 break points to claim victory in 82 minutes. The 31 year old is looking to reach the Kuala Lumpur final for the second year in a row, having finished runner-up last year against Juan Monaco.

For a place in his second ATP World Tour final of the season, Benneteau will challenge Stanislas Wawrinka. Benneteau, runner-up at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam in February (l. to del Potro), has a 0-8 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Second seed Wawrinka was made to work hard for his semi-final berth, edging sixth seed Dmitry Tursunov 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) in just over two hours. "[I had] to fight with myself to find a different game and a better game," reflected the Swiss after his match. Wawrinka won just one point more than Tursunov as he levelled their FedEx ATP Head2Head series at 1-1.

Like Ferrer, Wawrinka is in the hunt for valuable points this week as he bids to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time. The right-hander, who reached his first major semi-final at the US Open at the start of the month (l. to Djokovic), has a 1-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Benneteau. "I need to serve well and play an aggressive game," said Wawrinka about his strategy for playing the Frenchman.

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