Tommy Hass Enters LA Semi-Final
Top seed Tommy Haas entered the Los Angeles Open semi-finals on Saturday defeating Marat Safin by 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
The German with two titles at UCLA from 2004 and 2006 overcame 24 unforced errors in the 64-minute opener, hanging on after saving three set points for the soon-to-retire Russian. Safin plans to end his career after seven more events at the Paris Masters in November.
This was fifth win of Haas, over Safin against two losses. Haas converted on a quarter of his 16 break points in the contest lasting just under two hours.
The 29-year-old Safin was making his first appearance in an ATP quarter-final this season.
Safin managed to save five break points to open the second set with a hold as the pair of veterans who stood one (Safin) and two (Haas) in the world rankings continued their career battle.
The scene changed in the second set, with Haas running away to victory with two breaks of the fading Russian.
Haas will next play against American sixth seed Sam Querrey, who upset fourth seed Dudi Sela of Israel 6-3, 7-5 with the loss of just two points on his serve.
Querrey reached semis at his last two events, losing title matches at Newport and Indianapolis.
"It's really great to get the semi-finals here again," said Haas. "I have a tough opponent in Sam. He's playing well and he has his (Samurai) support group.
"I'll have to play well to beat him."
Second seed Mardy Fish made a precautionary pullout with an existing abdominal strain to hand Argentine Leonardo Mayer a walkover to join another untried semi-finalist, Carsten Ball.
Australian-American Ball defeated John Isner 6-4, 6-4 with the American favouring a previously-injured right ankle but insisting it was not the cause of his downfall.
Both the 205th-ranked Ball and Mayer, former junior rivals, are in their first-ever ATP semis.
Ball has never before even competed in a main draw said “A bit of confidence goes a long way; I was not noticing Isner today and didn't know if he was injured."
Fish had originally suffered his injury during a Davis Cup loss to Croatia nearly a month ago.
"It only bothers me on serve but I don't want to take any chances. To be healthy is the most important thing. It's a day-to-day thing and I decided to pull out after treatment late last night."
Mayer is hoping to duplicate the achievement of Argentine compatriot Juan Del Potro, who won the tournament last year said “I'm two matches away from keeping the LA trophy in home soil.”
"I'm surprised to reach my first career semi-final with a withdrawal. I was ready to play today, expecting a tough match against Mardy who is a great player."