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Querrey Joins Spanish Pair In Houston Semis

Houston, U.S.A.

Verdasco© Aaron M. Sprecher/ROCCFernando Verdasco reaches his first semi-final of the year, and first ever in Houston.

Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco reached his first semi-final of the year after finishing strongly to defeat American Donald Young 7-6(1), 6-1 in Friday’s quarter-final at the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston.

Verdasco said, “He played great tennis in the first set. For me it was uncomfortable but I kept fighting and he didn’t serve well in the game I broke him. After that he started missing a little more, including in the tie-break. After I won the tie-break I took extra confidence and started to be more stable on the court.”

Verdasco will next meet Santiago Giraldo, who emerged a 6-3, 6-4 winner against Alejandro Gonzalez in an all-Colombian clash.

"We played yesterday, had breakfast today together, but you have to be completely focused on the competition," said Giraldo on playing doubles partner and countryman Gonzalez. "That's why there was a lot of tension."

The 26-year-old Giraldo will contest his fifth ATP World Tour semi-final and second of the year, after falling to Leonardo Mayer in Vina del Mar.

Following the match, the Colombian duo met George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. "It was a great experience and a pleasure to meet him," said Gonzalez.

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Sam Querrey will await Nicolas Almagro in Saturday's other semi-final, in what will be their eighth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Almagro leads the series 5-2, most recently prevailing in Miami two weeks ago.

Querrey stayed the course to eliminate Dustin Brown 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-3, firing 15 aces and saving all four break points faced.

The former World No. 17 reached his second Houston semi, having finished runner-up in 2010 (l. to Chela). An American has advanced to the Houston final in 12 of the last 13 years.

"You have to be ready for anything," Querrey said of Brown's varied game. "He might come in, he might stay back, he might serve and volley, slice a forehand, (hit a) drop shot. You have to expect everything and not get frustrated when he wins points."

Almagro won his 236th match on clay with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Jack Sock. The No. 3 seed claimed solo third place on the clay-court match wins list among active players, passing Tommy Robredo.

The Spaniard, who finished runner-up in Houston in 2013, dropped just five points on serve and did not face a break point against Sock. He is seeking his first final berth since advancing as far at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell nearly a year ago.

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