Hamburg Masters : Ancic through to semis

Mario Ancic rallied from a set and a break down to topple Nikolay Davydenko 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3 and reach the semifinals of the Hamburg Masters on Friday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Mario Ancic rallied from a set and a break down to topple Nikolay Davydenko 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3 and reach the semifinals of the Hamburg Masters on Friday. ''A win is a win. It doesn't matter how it comes,'' Ancic said. ''Though it would be nice to get off the court a bit faster. But these are top-10 guys and you have to expect hard matches if you are going to come out the winner.'' It was his second straight win over a top-10 player, and fourth this year. The Croatian will face eighth-seeded Tommy Robredo on Saturday, while the other semifinal pits the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek against unseeded Argentine Jose Acasuso. For the first time since 1997, the quarterfinals featured nobody who had won a Masters Series event. Ancic's fortitude has been impressive lately. He earned a dramatic three-set victory over fifth-seeded James Blake to reach the quarterfinals, and came from behind to beat Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second round. Last week in Rome, Ancic saved three match points against both France's Florent Serra and Spain's Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo. ''To be there with the best players you have to be really tough. I showed the last couple of weeks I can come back from tough situations,'' Ancic said. ''This builds confidence, knowing when you are down and nothing is going your way you can still turn it around. Even better for my self-belief is I did it with top-10 guys, on clay, which I wouldn't pick as my first surface.'' Davydenko led by a set and 3-0. ''I'm shocked I lost this match,'' the Russian said. ''I lost concentration in the second set and he broke back. He was fighting and fighting. I lost confidence after the tiebreak. In my head I was a bit crazy. Sometimes he was hitting balls and I didn't know how.'' Robredo, the highest remaining seed at No. 8, defeated Spanish countryman David Ferrer 7-6 (8), 6-4. Robredo reached the Barcelona final last month. He lost his only previous meeting with Ancic. Stepanek defeated Max Mirnyi of Belarus 7-6 (5), 6-1, while Acasuso beat Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-3. Stepanek missed serving out the first set at 5-4, but won the last three points of the tiebreaker. ''That was the deciding moment of the match,'' Stepanek said. ''I showed him I'm the one who will go for it. And maybe his confidence dropped.'' He has a 2-1 record against Acasuso. Acasuso improved to 16-4 on clay this year, including his third career title at Vina del Mar, Chile. He squandered a match point against Verdasco in the second set tiebreaker but rolled through the final set. ''I have been playing well since the beginning of the year,'' Acasuso said. ''In my two previous Masters on clay, in Monte Carlo and Rome, I lost in the second round but I had chances in both matches. So I knew that a week like this would come around for me. ''But obviously I want to take advantage of this moment because I don't want to stop here.'' (AP)