South Africa’s An­der­son ad­vances to semi­fi­nals of the Win­ston-Salem Open

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY BILL KISER

Sec­ond-seeded Kevin An­der­son of South Africa beat eighth-seeded Borna Coric of Croa­tia 6-2, 7-6 (1) on Thurs­day night to ad­vance to the semi­fi­nals in the Win­ston-Salem Open.

An­der­son, ranked 15th, will face 88th-ranked Malek Jaziri of Tu­nisia, a 6-3, 6-2 win­ner over sixth­seeded Thomaz Bel­lucci of Brazil.

An­der­son had 10 aces Thurs­day in im­prov­ing to 6-0 this sea­son in quar­ter­fi­nal matches, broke the 18-year-old Coric’s serve twice and con­verted 85 per­cent of his first serves in win­ning the first set.

“I re­ally played well to­day, es­pe­cially in that first set,” An­der­son said. “It was one of those sets where ev­ery­thing was com­ing off my racket nicely, I was tak­ing care of my ser­vice games and putting my­self in each re­turn game. When I’m able to do that, I play my best and make it as tough as pos­si­ble for my op­po­nent.”

The two were even on serve in the sec­ond set to force the tiebreaker, but Coric mis­played a volley at the net with the score tied 1-1, giv­ing An­der­son the lead and be­gin­ning a run of six con­sec­u­tive points to close out the match.

“It was a bit of a tricky shot,” An­der­son said. “Out of 100 times, you’re go­ing to maybe win that once. I got a lit­tle bit lucky on that point, but it went from 2-1 sud­denly to 4-1. That gave me a bit more of con­fi­dence. Ob­vi­ously, you never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen, but as things turned out, it was in my fa­vor go­ing up that early.”

Amer­i­can Steve John­son ad­vanced when Tai­wan’s Yen-Hsun Lu with­drew be­cause of a back in­jury. John­son, seeded 13th and ranked 49th, will play French qual­i­fier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Lu was hurt late in the third set Wed­nes­day in his 7-6 (1), 1-6, 7-5 vic­tory over South Korea’s Hyeon Chung. He was treated af­ter the match and Thurs­day morn­ing, but the pain and cramp­ing per­sisted dur­ing prac­tice.

“There’s a disk that had some in­flam­ma­tion in­side, and the in­flam­ma­tion got into the mus­cle and got it tight,” Lu said. “It was re­ally af­fect­ing my serve. We’re all look­ing for­ward to next week, but I’m still up­set.

“We did ev­ery­thing we could with the ATP (train­ers). There’s still some sore­ness, and I re­ally couldn’t do any­thing nat­u­ral. It re­ally didn’t make sense to go on the court and play. It’s not smart.”

John­son reached his third ca­reer semi­fi­nal and sec­ond this sea­son. The two-time NCAA cham­pion at South Cal­i­for­nia made his last semi­fi­nal ap­pear­ance three weeks ago in Washington.

“It’s never the way you want to win,” John­son said. “Rendy’s (Lu’s nick­name) a great com­peti­tor, and I was look­ing for­ward to get­ting a chance to play. Un­for­tu­nately, for him, his back isn’t feel­ing 100 per­cent. With the U.S. Open right around the cor­ner, he didn’t want to jeop­ar­dize some­thing to­day for the fol­low­ing week. Now I just take to­day, and get ready for to­mor­row.”

Herbert, ranked 140th, beat Pablo Car­reno Busta of Spain 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 to reach his first semi­fi­nal.

Jaziri ad­vanced to the semi­fi­nals in an ATP World Tour event for the first time this sea­son and the sec­ond in his ca­reer. His last semi­fi­nal ap­pear­ance came in Moscow in 2012.

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