Washington: John Isner hit 18 aces and never faced a break point during a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on Friday that put the American in the Citi Open semi-finals. Isner won for the 10th time in his past 11 matches as he gets ready for the US Open, which starts August 26 on hard courts similar to those used in Washington.
"I'm in a good rhythm and I'm serving well," said Isner, who has 49 aces and was broken only once in three matches this week. "I'd like to think I can hold my serve no matter what's under my feet, but I do think this (surface) helps my serve."
The 20th-ranked and eighth-seeded Isner, who won the hard-court title at Atlanta last week, will face unseeded Dmitry Tursunov of Russia for a berth in Sunday's final. The 61st-ranked Tursunov overcame 13 double-faults with the help of 15 aces to beat a cramping Marinko Matosevic of Australia 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (4).
Saturday's match against Isner - who won the longest match in tennis history, 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in 2010 - will be only Tursunov's second semi-final of the season, and his first at Washington since 2006.
On the other side of the men's draw, No. 3-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany defeated No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3). The 35-year-old Haas' semifinal opponent will be top-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, a two-time champion in Washington, or No. 7-seeded Kevin Anderson. Del Potro was scheduled to face Anderson on Friday night in the last quarter-final.
Defending women's champion Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia returned to the semi-finals by beating top-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 7-6 (0), 3-6, 6-3, and now will play No. 3 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. No. 4 Alize Cornet of France meets 64th-ranked Andrea Petkovic of Germany in the other semi-final.
Makarova played only four points - winning all of them - and moved on when her quarter-final opponent, Monica Niculescu of Romania, stopped after one game because of a left wrist injury. Cornet eliminated No. 5 Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (5), 6-2, and Petkovic advanced with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over 79th-ranked Paula Ormaechea of Argentina.
Petkovic is a former top-10 player whose career was sidetracked by injuries, including a stress fracture in her lower back and ankle and knee operations.
"I'm just so grateful for the second chance," Petkovic said. "I really think of it as a second chance."