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Friday, July 18, 2008
Blake cruises into semis of Indianapolis Championships

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- James Blake made quick work of quarterfinal opponent Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan at the Indianapolis Tennis Championships on Friday, beating the unseeded player 6-2, 6-0 in 45 minutes.

The top-seeded Blake, ranked eighth in the world, was 20-for-20 on first-serve points and finished with seven aces against the overmatched Lu.

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"It's a good feeling to get off that quickly, but it's never expected," Blake said. "Even if it sounds easy, it's never that easy. It's a much shorter span of time, but to play that well you have to be moving your feet very quickly and doing everything effectively."

Blake's second-round match wasn't as easy. He struggled early in the first set and fought off two set points in the second before defeating Jun Woong-sun of South Korea 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday.

"I was more focused on what I could do, how I could play better than [Thursday]," Blake said. "I'm really pleased with the way I made an adjustment."

Blake, who beat Andy Roddick in the 2006 final in Indianapolis and lost in the quarterfinals last year, advanced to play No. 3 seed Dmitry Tursunov in Saturday's semifinal. Tursunov, the defending tournament champion, got past unseeded Paul Capdeville 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

"Tursunov is a great player and ... he's a guy that can give you a hard time," Blake said. "I know he's got a lot of firepower."

Sam Querrey, seeded fourth and ranked No. 45, will play No. 2 seed Gilles Simon of France in the other semifinal on Saturday. The championship match is scheduled for Sunday.

All four top seeds advanced to the semifinal round for the first time since the tournament moved to a hard-court surface in 1988.

"That's strange these days in tennis - top seeds get upset all the time," Blake said. "It's really not easy to go through and beat every guy you're expected to beat. You know anyone can beat you on a given day."

Querrey advanced with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over fellow American Bobby Reynolds.

"I might have gotten a little content or lazy or something and he picked it up in the second set," said Querrey, who finished with 17 aces. "After he got up a break in the third, I got it back together. I put some returns in the court and started picking up my game a little."

Simon, the 25th ranked player, beat fifth-seeded Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening quarterfinal match.

"I was more aggressive and hit the ball harder," Simon said of the final two sets. "When you play Tommy, the hardest thing is to return. He has a second serve that is hard to read and you don't know where it's coming."

Ashley Fisher and Tripp Phillips advanced to the doubles final with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over Rajeev Ram and Reynolds. The other doubles semifinal, which pairs Scott Lipsky and David Martin against Harel Levy and Jim Thomas, is scheduled for Saturday.