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Fognini To Face Bautista Agut In Semi-finals

Stuttgart, Germany

Bautista© Marcus Lang/X-tremePicturesRoberto Bautista Agut held off a fellow Spaniard in the quarter-finals.

Top seed and defending champion Fabio Fognini cruised into the MercedesCup semi-finals on Friday in Stuttgart with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over seventh seed Santiago Giraldo. The Italian won 70 per cent of his service points and converted two of his six break point chances for victory in 81 minutes.

The 27-year-old Fognini won his first ATP World Tour title 12 months ago in Stuttgart with victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Italian is now looking to lift his fourth trophy, having added to his collection in Hamburg (d. Delbonis) and Vina del Mar (d. Mayer).

As he bids to reach his fourth final of the season, Fognini will face third seed Roberto Bautista Agut, whom he leads 4-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. One of the pair’s five meetings came in the Stuttgart semi-finals last year, with Fognini winning for the loss of just four games.

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"I think I played better than yesterday," said Fognini. "I'm happy I have another opportunity to play tomorrow in the same semi-final as last year. But I think it will be completely different. He's improved a lot in the past year. He's in good shape, but me too. I feel great, especially at this tournament. It's going to be a tough match, but I'm ready."

Third seed Bautista Agut reached the 30-wins milestone as he advanced to the MercedesCup semi-finals on Friday with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) victory over fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

"We played a long, tough match," said Bautista Agut. "Guillermo was playing really good. At the start, I was missing some balls and was not feeling great. I just didn't want to give him the match, so I kept fighting to get my game back and everything changed. In the end, I think I went for it more than him, I was more aggressive in the tie-break."

At a career-high No. 23 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, Bautista Agut is through to his fourth ATP World Tour semi-final of the season. The Spaniard won his first ATP World Tour title on grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (d. Becker) and was a semi-finalist at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament in Madrid (l. to Nadal).

World No. 48 Lukas Rosol edged fourth seed Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) in just under two hours to reach his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season. The Czech hit 11 aces to Lopez’s 16 as he saved six of the eight break points he faced in the pair’s first meeting.

"It was not an easy game," said Rosol. "In the tie-break I was down 1-4 and I was lucky in the end. Feli is a good player. He was serving really good."

The 28-year-old Rosol will face second seed Mikhail Youzhny for a place in the final. Youzhny, the 2002 Stuttgart champion, defeated eighth seed Federico Delbonis 7-6(2), 6-2 in one hour and 41 minutes. The Russian will face Rosol for the first time as he attempts to reach his first ATP World Tour final of the season.

Seeds Fall In Stuttgart QFs
Second seeds Marin Draganja and Florin Mergea were denied their third semi-final of 2014 by Mateusz Kowalczyk and Artem Sitak 2-6, 7-6(3), 10-6 at the MercedesCup on Friday. The unseeded pairing goes on to face German wild cards Michael Berrer and Alexander Zverev, who upset third-seeded Czechs Frantisek Cermak and Lukas Rosol 2-6, 6-3, 10-4.

Fourth seeds Mate Pavic and Andre Sa were defeated in 55 minutes 6-4, 6-2 by Germans Peter Gojowczyk and Dominik Meffert. The pair, in their first ATP World Tour team outing, will play for a spot in the Stuttgart final against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Philipp Oswald, 6-4, 6-4 winners over Marcelo Demoliner and Purav Raja.

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