Fish hooks Nalbandian with upset win into semi-finals

March 22nd, 2008 - 12:09 pm ICT by admin  


Indian Wells (California), March 22 (DPA) Mardy Fish lined up a semi-final against top seed Roger Federer at the Indian Wells Masters with an upset win over David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4) here Friday. Fish, ranked 98th, produced the second-best showing of his chequered career at the Masters level after a 2003 final at Cincinnati.

“This week before this match was my third quarterfinal in six tournaments, so it’s a pretty good start for me, pretty good start for anybody,” Fish said.

Federer advanced without firing a shot earlier as German Tommy Haas withdrew for the second time in less than nine months from a match against the Swiss player, pulling from their quarter-final with a sinus illness.

“I was playing my best tennis of the season and looking forward to playing Roger this afternoon,” said the 29-year-old Haas, who has made a strong recovery from November shoulder surgery.

Haas, a former world No.2, who now stands 36th, earlier quit before a Wimbledon fourth round against Federer with an abdominal muscle tear, which sidelined him for a month last summer.

“I’m very sorry for Tommy,” said Federer in a statement. “I was looking forward to another great match with him. I hope he gets better quickly.”

Federer leads the series 8-2, winning the last seven and last losing in January 2002 at the Australian Open.

Fish started to look out of his depth in the final set against Argentine Nalbandian, the second top 10 seed he has faced this week in the desert.

After missing on a pair of match points in the 10th game, the 26-year-old American got a second chance in the final-set tiebreaker, when a forehand error from Nalbandian yielded two more match-winners for Fish.

The crowd-favourite underdog clinched the win to face Federer, winner of all five of their previous matches.

“I obviously don’t feel like I’m the 98th ranked player in the world or playing like that,” said Fish. “I’ve got a lot of self confidence.

“You have to out here to stick with some of these guys. But this is just one tournament. Hopefully I can use this result no matter how it ends, to keep moving on.”

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