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Friday September 27, 2013 MYT 6:13:00 PM
Saturday September 28, 2013 MYT 1:13:58 AM
by lim teik huat
Austrian Jurgen Melzer defeated Argentina's Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-2 at the Malaysian Open tennis championships at the Putra Stadium on Friday. – Bernama Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will hold fond memories for Portugal’s Joao Sousa after he knocked out top seed and world number four David Ferrer of Spain at the Malaysian Open tennis championship on Friday.
Sousa recorded the biggest win of his career as he stunned Ferrer 6-2, 7-6 (7-6) in the quarter-finals at Juara Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The Portuguese was denied a match point opportunity when he served for victory at 5-4 in the second set but he rallied superbly from a 4-6 deficit in the tie-break to prevail in 98 minutes.
The 24-year-old Sousa is in good form this month. The right-hander is at a career high 77th in the world rankings this week after reaching his first ATP World Tour semi-final in St Petersburg last week, which earned him a special exemption to play in Kuala Lumpur.
And now he has beaten a world top five player, earning him a place in the semi-finals against Jurgen Melzer of Austria and is in contention for a place in his first ATP World Tour final.
“I felt great. I think I played a great match. He did not play his best for sure today but sometimes you play good and sometimes you don’t.
“But I am really happy to be in semi-finals here in Malaysia.
“I felt confident and comfortable today. I did not let the pressure get to me when I made errors.
“It’s a big change in my mind and that was the key to victory,” said Sousa.
Fourth seed Melzer showed his determination to present his wife a memorable first wedding anniversary gift with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Federico Delbonis.
Fourth seed Jurgen Melzer showed his determination to gift his wife a memorable first wedding anniversary present by reaching his third ATP World Tour semi-final of the season as he dismissed Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-2 at the Malaysian Open tennis championships at the Putra Stadium on Friday.
The Austrian broke serve three times as he clinched victory over the Argentinian player in 79 minutes. He will be looking to contest his third final of the year, having won his fifth title at the Winston-Salem Open and finishing runner-up at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors.
The three-time Grand Slam champion tied the knot with Czech Republic’s WTA Tour player Ivena Benesova a year ago.
The couple started dating after claiming the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon in 2011.
Melzer, who is ranked 26th in the world, celebrated his first anniversary on Sept 14 and certainly will not find any better motivation than winning in Kuala Lumpur.
Melzer also played in the doubles with fellow countryman Julien Knowle but they fell 6-2, 5-7, 7-10 to Pablo Cuevas-Horacio Zeballos (Uruguay-Argentina) in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Melzer recorded men’s doubles wins with German Philipp Petzschner at the 2010 Wimbledon and the 2011 US Open.
Melzer, who turned 32 on May 22, however, admitted that it was getting tough to focus on both events.
“I got used to it in the last few years but to be honest this year, it has been tough on my body.
“I am trying to relax as much as possible,” said Melzer.
Friday was the first time he was playing world No. 59 Delbonis and he had to thank his brother Gerard for giving him advice on playing against the Argentine.
“I had never played Delbonis before. He is a young kid. I called my brother Gerard for advice as he had beaten him in three sets in a Challenger event in Panama City earlier this year.
“Playing on hardcourt here also helped me,” Melzer added, who will next take on Sousa.
Fifth seed Julien Benneteau won an all-French clash with Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals.
Benneteau converted five of 14 break points to claim victory in 82 minutes.
The 31-year-old is looking to reach the Kuala Lumpur final for the second year in a row, having finished runner-up last year to Spain’s Juan Monaco.
Tags / Keywords:
tennis, Malaysian Open, Jurgen Melzer, Federico Delbonis, Ivena Benesova, Joao Sousa, David Ferrer
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