Dudi Sela 311.
(photo credit: Alastair/AP)
On a day of stunning upsets, Dudi Sela was unable to keep his impressive Queen’s Club run going Friday, losing 7-5, 6-4 to Rainer Schuettler in the quarterfinals.
Sela had been hoping to build on his superb victory over former champion Andy Roddick in the previous round, but was outdone by a professional display by the 34-year-old German.
The fans packing Court 1 had already seen an dazzling pair of matches on Friday afternoon, with top seed and French Open winner Rafael Nadal losing 7-6(5), 6-4 to fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez before great British hope Andy Murray fell 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(2) to America’s Mardy Fish.
However, Sela could not deal with Schuettler’s ability to track down his cross court shots. The Israeli’s insistence on repeatedly slicing his backhand cost him in the end with the German playing on this weakness – one which will have to be improved upon if Sela is to repeat last year’s excellent showing at Wimbledon next week.
Lopez’s victory ended Nadal’s grass-court winning streak at 14 matches.
Third-seeded Murray’s loss in a delayed third-round match ensured the top six seeds were missing from the semifinal lineup in west London, a traditional warmup for Wimbledon, which begins June 21.
Sam Querrey beat Belgium’s Xavier Malisse 6-3, 7-5 in their quarterfinal, while the unseeded Fish earned his semifinal spot by returning later Friday to oust Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4.
Nadal, the 2008 Wimbledon champion, was unable to subdue a lively challenge from Lopez in the first meeting on grass of the two left-handers. It marked Nadal’s first loss to Lopez since 2003.
“He played well,” Nadal said. “I think his serve was very good, and, you know, from the baseline he has very good slice, and with the forehand he can have a very good shot. I just congratulate him.”
After an exchange of breaks in the opening two games, the first set went to a tiebreaker, which Lopez won when Nadal netted a forehand.
In the second set, Lopez broke to lead 3-2 but Nadal broke him in the next game with a winning return. Nadal then faced two break points at 5-4 and double-faulted to leave Lopez serving for the match.
Nadal reported no problems with the thigh injury that was treated on Thursday, but withdrew from the doubles citing a right hamstring strain. He plans to return to Spain for a few days of relaxation before preparing for Wimbledon.
Murray was upset Thursday when the match was halted at 3-3 in the final set because of fading light.
When they resumed on Friday, each player dropped just one point on
serve as the set went to a tiebreaker, which Fish dominated after the
first four points had gone against serve.
“Today was a bit of a shootout,” Murray said. “On grass, especially,
you play one or two bad points in a tiebreak and it’s done.”
On Saturday, Querrey survived his match with Schuettler 6-7 (9), 7-5,
6-3, while Fish defeated Lopez 6-3, 6-3 to set up an all-American final
“I didn’t really think about being in the final,” Querrey said. “I just
wanted to come out here and play well and that’s what I’ve done so far.
You can’t really control the outcome of the other matches. I’ve never
seen this many upsets in one tournament before.”
There will be more than just prize money at stake when the two Americans play in the final.
“It’s never easy to play against a friend,” Fish said. “But we’ll get
out here and it will be business as usual and afterwards we’ll go to
dinner. We’ll probably put dinner on the match and the winner pays.”