Blake blasts past Lu, Simon into Indianapolis semis

July 19th, 2008 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Roger Federer
Indianapolis (Indiana), July 19 (DPA) Former winner James Blake and second-seed Gilles Simon paced the quarter-final field at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships with the 2006 champion crushing his Taiwanese opponent to advance. Blake, world number eight, spent just 45 minutes in overwhelming Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan, 6-2, 6-0 Friday.

“This was my best match of the tournament,” Blake said. “It’s exciting to get back on hard court. This is the part of the season where I play my best.”

Blake next meets third-seeded Russian holder Dmitry Tursunov Saturday, who played his first match since Monday after a bye, beating Chile’s Paul Capdeville 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Simon was equally impressive as the Frenchman took advantage of a temperamental collapse from Tommy Haas to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Simon moved into a match with last year’s breakthrough semi-finalist Sam Querrey. The big-serving US youngster, ranked 45th, fired 17 aces to get past Bobby Reynolds 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

“I played well in the first set, and he was not on top of his game,” said Querrey, headed to Beijing with Blake for the Olympics. “He came back in the second, and in the third I got it together again and picked up my game.”

Blake needed to gather his reserves after struggling to beat 293rd-ranked Korean Woong-Sun Jun the day before. But it was all business for the top seed against Lu.

“I didn’t want to look up when I led 6-2, 3-0. I just wanted to concentrate on playing well,” said Blake, winner of 10 of his last 11 Indianapolis matches.

Haas lost his focus after a point penalty and handed over victory to Simon, 25th in the world. The 30-year-old German was penalised in the second game of the final set as he broke a racquet and let loose with a few choice obscenities.

The former world number two was beaten as he played his first quarter-final since March, after withdrawing with a sinus infection against Roger Federer at Indian Wells, California.

Haas admitted that his motivation began draining away after losing his break to Simon in the ninth game of the second set, 4-5.

“My confidence and motivation suffered when I got broken back,” said Haas. “I was struggling to finish points and lost some focus on my technique. It was a frustrating afternoon, one of those where things just don’t go your way.”

Simon, who won a third career title in May in Casablanca, was playing his fifth quarter-final of the season.

“I could tell Tommy was getting frustrated, and I tried from the second set to hit the ball harder,” Simon said. “My game is coming along.”

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