Photo: Paul ZimmerFrederico SILVA (POR)
Saturday’s singles semi-final line-up promises to make it a memorable final weekend of the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano in Mexico City after another round of surprises in the quarter-finals.
Eighth-seeded Israeli Bar Tzuf Botzer caused a sizeable upset by knocking out top seed Serbian Nikola Milojevic with a 6-2 6-3 win. Botzer was delighted with his victory, saying: "I felt very well, I played a very solid tennis and I faced a very good player. We played before and Nikola won in tough conditions. This time I was more focused and I improved a lot. I'm happy. This is the first time I went so far in a tournament Grade A so this the best result I've had in the year. The level of competition is very even and therefore anyone can win."
Botzer plays Frederico Ferreira Silva (POR) in the last four. Silva earned his semi-finals spot with a 6-3 6-4 win over Italian Matteo Donati.
Mexican Ricardo Medinilla’s giant-killing run came to an end in the quarter-finals when he was beaten in 6-3 6-4 by Italian Stefano Napolitano, the tenth seed. Napolitano now faces unseeded Argentine Juan Ignacio Galarza, who ran out a surprise 6-2 6-3 winner over American Connor Farren. "My serve was instrumental in the break points,” said Galarza afterwards. “After losing the first set, I felt his game dropped and took advantage of that."
In the girls’ singles, Ukrainian Ganna Poznikhirenko will take on Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) in the semi-finals beating compatriot Daria Salnikova 6-2 6-3. "I enjoyed the match, that's the most important thing to me, and I felt I was able to play my game,” said Poznikhirenko. "There is a good level of tennis here and the competition is very tough.”
Another Russian, Varvara Flink, scored a notable upset by beating second seed Zarah Razafimahatratra 6-2 6-4. Flink, who takes on American Kyle McPhillips in the last four, said: "I tried to defend the ball. She’s a very strong girl so I'm happy to have won. I do not know much about my next opponent but I saw her play. I think I have a chance to win. I am ready to take the title."
McPhillips came from a set down in the quarter-finals to beat Elena Maltseva (RUS) 1-6 6-1 6-3. "I felt good on the court, I started losing the first set but then I recovered and won the next two sets easily. The key to my victory was much more aggressive play,” said McPhillips. “This tournament is amazing and I’ve made some good friends here.”