Bangkok: World No. 6 and third seed Carlos Moya was bundled out of the $550,000 Thailand Open on Friday. Jarkko Nieminen, the fifth seed from Finland, ousted Moya 6-7 (7/5), 6-4, 6-4.
Moya’s countryman, world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, had to work hard to escape the same fate, struggling at times to defeat Gregory Carraz of France 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7/2) at the Impact Arena in the suburb of Nonthaburi.
In the day’s first match, Nieminen led the first set 6-5 on set point before Moya fought back to force the tie-break.
The pair slugged it out over the next two sets, delivering powerful groundstroke rallies.
In the final set, Nieminen broke Moya right from the start to lead 3-1, but the stubborn Spaniard broke back to draw level at 3-3. At 4-4, Nieminen took the fourth break point opportunity for a 5-4 lead, before Moya hit a backhand out of court to lose the set 4-6.
“I was satisfied with the way I played from the first point,” Nieminen said. “I could have won in two sets but it doesn’t matter now that I have won.”
Nieminen will play Taylor Dent of the United States in the semi-final on Saturday. Dent was leading Nicolas Thomann 6-3 when the Frenchman withdrew with a right foot injury.
Ferrero won his first set 6-4 in 34 minutes but Carraz, the world No. 85, served and volleyed effectively to take the second set 6-3 in 41 minutes to force the third set.
Carraz broke the top-seeded Spaniard in the eighth game of the final set to lead 5-3, and was serving for the match at 5-4.
Ferrero fired several fine passing shots to break back at 5-5, and sharpened up his game in the tie-break to take the set 7-6 (2) and win the match. In the semi-final, Ferrero will take on Croatian Ivan Ljubicic who beat local favourite Paradorn Srichaphan 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.
Scud shoots into semis
Meanwhile, in Shanghai, Australian Mark Philippoussis battled his way to a semi-final spot defeating Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), in the 380,000-dollar ATP meet there.
Third seed Philippoussis overpowerd the hard-hitting Canas with his booming serve, as the ATP 15th rank failed to capitalise on numerous break opportunities in the second set that would have forced the match to a third set.
“I’m happy with the way I played. I think I could have done a couple of things a bit better, but I’m happy with the way I served,” Philippoussis said.
Philippoussis will meet Sweden’s Robin Soderling, who toughed it out against Scott Draper of Australia, to earn his first-ever berth in an ATP semi-final, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/1).