Monfils’ withdrawl sends Raonic into the San Jose final.

Gael Monfils withdrew from the San Jose Open after beating American wild card Tim Smyczek 6-4 7-6 in the quarter-finals on Friday. The Frenchman aggravated an injured left wrist when he beat Robert Kendrick on Thursday and decided to pull out after beating Smyczek. “It’s been a month-and-a-half that I’ve had this pain,” Monfils said. “I can’t hit my backhand. I tried, but my backhand is very soft. I have a better backhand than I showed here… more powerful.” Monfils is expected to be on the sidelines for six weeks in all, meaning he will miss tournaments in Memphis and Acapulco as well as a Davis Cup tie.

The decision also means that his semi-final opponent in San Jose, Canada’s Milos Raonic, advances to the final in a walkover. He beat Richard Berankis 6-4 7-6 on Friday. Elsewhere, top seed and defending champion Fernando Verdasco broke once in each set to record a 6-4 6-4 win over fifth seed Denis Istomin. “I tried to play a game he doesn’t like, with a lot of spin, and it went well,” the Spaniard said. “I played well on the important points, like I did yesterday, which was good too. I knew it would be tough. Denis made it to the semi-finals here last year and the conditions benefit him.”

Juan Martin del Potro continued his comeback from the wrist injury that kept him out of action for most of 2010 with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Lleyton Hewitt. The Argentine will next face Verdasco in the only semi-final to be played on Saturday.


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