Sweeting and Nishikori reach the Houston semifinals.

Ryan Sweeting reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final after he defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in one hour and 41 minutes. World No. 93 Sweeting, who dropped one point on serve in the deciding set, converted five of seven break point opportunities overall to improve to an 8-6 match record on the season.

Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas advanced to his first semi-final since Moscow last October when he won his first meeting with doubles partner, Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3. Former World No. 14 Cuevas has slipped to No. 75 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings. He next plays Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori, a surprise 6-3, 6-2 winner over top-seeded American Mardy Fish. Fish, who won his lone ATP World Tour clay court title in Houston in 2006, hit just one ace and did not earn a break point on Nishikori’s serve. At No. 11 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, Fish would have broken into the Top 10 for the first time in his career had he won a second Houston title. Nishikori was appearing in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final on clay.

“He didn’t give me too much and seemed pretty comfortable with his backhand,” Fish said. “I struggle at night; sometimes I feel I can’t necessarily do some of the things I want to do because I don’t have that split second to pick the ball up earlier than I normally do. I love to stay more agressive; standing 15-20 feet behind the baseline trying to stay in the points is not my game. [But tonight] that was strategic as I thought that was the best way to have a good clean hit on the ball… he seemd to enjoy that. On missing the chance to break into the Top 10, Fish said, “It’s disappointing, especially at a place like Houston where I have great memories. It would have been a nice place to do it, especially in the States. And being the No. 1 American is a responsibility each time you step on the court.”



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