Chennai Open: Soeda puts out champ Wawrinka, Raonic also reaches semisJanuary 6th, 2012 - 11:51 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Jan 6 (IANS) Unheralded Japanese journeyman Go Soeda pulled off the biggest win of his career by knocking out defending champion and World No.17 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4, at the Aircel Chennai Open to enter his maiden ATP tour semifinals, here on Friday.
Soeda was all but joined by compatriot and fellow-qualifier Yuichi Sugita who blew three match points and lost a two-hour, 44-minute marathon 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-4 to second seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who next takes on the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the fourth seed, a 7-6 (4), 6-3, winner over Dudi Sela of Israel.
Incidentally, it was the first time since 1973 that two Japanese had even made it to an ATP tournament quarter-finals and World No.10 Almagro, playing his first match after receiving a bye and a walk-over, spoilt the Nippon party after surviving a great fight by Sugita.
The 27-year old Soeda, ranked 120 and who came through the qualifying competition, kept his nerves in the tight second set that witnessed seven service breaks while Wawrinka, looking increasingly unsettled and distracted, yielded to an opponent who played the big points better.
In contrast, there was just one break in the first set by Soeda though Wawrinka struggled to hold serve almost throughout the match. The Japanese awaits the winner of the fourth quarterfinal between top seed Janko Tipsarevic and David Goffin.
“Obviously, I am very happy to have beaten a great player like Warwinka. Having played the qualifying rounds and a couple of tough matches in the main draw, I was a bit tired,” said Soeda who perhaps found it more difficult to articulate his thoughts in English than beating Warinka.
Regarding the topsy-turvy second set marked by service breaks virtually in every game, Soeda, who played all his matches on the outside court, said: “I was very nervous, but now I am looking forward to playing my first match on the Centre Court.”
On his part, Wawrinka praised Soeda for playing better tennis, but conceded that having to play on the outside court for the first time did make it difficult to adjust to new conditions, though he hastened to add that it did not really impact his performance.
“I didn’t deserve to win today. He played much better. The first tournament of the year is always difficult. It happens that when you are not playing well, the guy on the other side of the net is better. But that’s tennis,” said Wawrinka.
The 20-year old Raonic, winner of ATP’s Newcomer of the Year award in 2011 in recognition of his meteoric progress through the rankings from 152 to 25 before finishing at 31 following hip surgery, was far from clinical in his execution, but had sufficient power to get past Sela.
The 26-year old Sela, ranked 83, blew some great chances in the second set when he repeatedly wrong-footed Raonic with clever placements and well-angled shots and paid the price for the lapses.
After clinching the first set on tie-break, Raonic broke Sela in the sixth game and later survived a couple of breakpoints before serving out the match.
However, Sela was far from finished. He held serve for 3-5 and in the ninth, had two breakpoints at 40-15 on a couple of great winners, notably a volley with soft hands to go 40-15 up. But Raonic’s big serves turned the tide as he blasted three aces in a row to close the match.
“I am happy with the result today. A lot of things went right for me, but there are a lot of things I have to address for tomorrow. I served better than in the previous round, but was hesitating a lot on what shots to play when I had the options. I never really got a grasp of it.
“He also served well and that put pressure on my returns. I was not hitting far away from him and he was taking the ball early,” summed up Raonic after making the third semifinals of his fledgling career.
The results (quarter-finals):
Singles: 4-Milos Raonic (CAN) bt Dudi Sela (ISR) 7-6 (4), 6-3; Q-Go Soeda (JPN) bt 3-Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 6-4, 6-4; 2-Nicolas Almagro (ESP) bt Q-Yuichi Sugita (JPN) 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4.
- Chennai Open: Soeda stuns Wawrinka; Tipsy survives Belgian challenge - Jan 07, 2012
- Chennai Open: Tipsarevic too good for Bhambri (Lead) - Jan 05, 2012
- Chennai Open: Raonic to meet Tipsarevic in final (Lead) - Jan 07, 2012
- Chennai Open: Wawrinka survives a scare - Jan 05, 2012
- Chennai Open: Raonic blasts Almagro to enter final - Jan 07, 2012
- Aircel ATP Tennis: Nishikori eliminates champ Cilic - Jan 03, 2011
- Chennai Open: Raonic too good for Hanescu - Jan 04, 2012
- Indians knocked out of Chennai Open singles (Roundup) - Jan 05, 2011
- Yuki advances; Vishnu flatters to deceive (Lead) - Jan 02, 2012
- Aircel ATP: Tipsarevic through to last 8 - Jan 06, 2011
- Chennai Open: Goffin ousts Malisse - Jan 03, 2012
- Chennai Open: Indians bow out in qualifying rounds - Jan 02, 2011
- Wawrinka survives Goffin scare - Jan 07, 2011
- Chennai Open: Somdev to face Frenchman Prodon in first round - Dec 31, 2011
- Chennai Open: Yuki puts out fancied Beck - Jan 02, 2012
Tags: aircel, atp tour, atp tournament, compatriot, david goffin, defending champion, janko tipsarevic, journeyman, match points, milos, minute marathon, nicolas almagro, nippon, quarter finals, quarterfinal, sela, semis, spaniard, stanislas wawrinka, sugita