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Tursunov battles past Wang to reach Thai semis

BANGKOK, Sep 28 (Reuters) Sixth seed Dmitry Tursunov survived a scare to reach the Thailand Open semi-finals after beating wildcard Wang Yeu-tzuoo 4-6 6-2 6-4 today.

After losing the first set, Tursonov hit back to take the second but his Taiwanese opponent, appearing in only his second career quarter-final, battled hard throughout the decider and frustrated the Russian with some solid returns.

''It was a difficult match. I could have easily lost, the important thing is I'm through,'' said Tursunov, the world number 29, who won his second career title in Indianapolis in July.

''Not only were my serves coming back, but coming back as penetrating shots. It was demoralising for me when he returned everything.'' Tursunov will meet Fernando Verdasco in the last four after the Spaniard's 4-6 7-6 6-4 victory over unseeded Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

In a fiercely-contested match, Mahut took the first set and was on the verge of victory in the second when he broke the eighth-seeded Spaniard at 5-4.

But Verdasco battled back, capitalising on some sloppy returns from the 71-ranked Frenchman to force a tiebreak, where he overpowered Mahut 7-2.

Verdasco returned for the third set full of confidence, sealing victory with some neat backhands and stinging forehand drives from the backcourt.

ALL-GERMAN BATTLE ''I was so tired all the match, but in the second set he gave me that break and I was thinking 'win it, or I'm out,''' Verdasco told reporters.

''I used all my power to win that game. That gave me confidence to win the tiebreak. Now, my focus is winning my semi-final, maybe the tournament too.'' Benjamin Becker won an all-German battle with unseeded Dominik Meffert 7-6 7-5 to reach the final four.

The 228-ranked Meffert had not won a single match on the tour this year prior to this tournament but he gave Becker a stern test and refused to let him dictate the match, which lasted almost two hours.

A relieved Becker shook both fists in the air and breathed a huge sigh of relief after delivering the winning shot, ending Meffert's dream of reaching a first tour semi-final.

Becker will play the winner of the last quarter-final between third-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych and Croatian Ivo Karlovic.

Reuters PDS DB2124

Story first published: Saturday, September 29, 2007, 11:24 [IST]
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