Aptos (California):A tired Prakash Amritraj went down fighting to Italian Andrea Stoppini in a thrilling quarterfinal match of the $75,000 Aptos Challenger tennis tournament.
The Italian defeated Prakash 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, at the Center Court here on Friday in nearly three hours.
Prakash, probably playing the best tennis of his career, won the first set in a tie-breaker, but the 28 year-old Stoppini bounced back to win the second set. In the decider, Stoppinni for the first time in the entire match got his big break to win the match.
"I won just one set break. I'm so tired, but it went really well," said world No. 304 Stoppini, who had to overcome couple of questionable line calls.
Before Stoppini's final breakthrough, both players had forced break points thrice. But armed with monster serves, the Italian was able to step it up and hold the point each time.
"To make the break, we played even for many tries," Stoppini said. "Every time he played very well."
By the end, though, Stoppini may have just worn down his competition.
World No. 204 Prakash, who upset the tournament's top seeded American Amer Delic in the first round, said Stoppini beat him with sound shots.
The 24-year-old Indian admitted that a long stretch of summer tournaments had a bearing on him.
After making the quarters and semi-finals in both singles and doubles in tournaments the previous two weeks, and then playing a three-setter in his opening match in this event, his energy was waning.
"I think all that tennis caught up with me today," he said.
Stoppini will be the only unseeded player in the semi-finals and will play American Scoville Jenkins. The fourth seeded Jenkins overcame compatriot Todd Widom 7-5, 6-3 in the quarter-final.