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Saturday, July 19, 2008
Tursunov upsets Blake for finals berth against Simon

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Top-seeded James Blake struggled after a rain delay and was upset by defending champion Dimitry Tursunov 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 Saturday in the semifinals of the Indianapolis Tennis Championships.

Tursunov, the third seed, will meet second-seeded Gilles Simon of France in the championship match Sunday. Simon outlasted fourth-seeded American Sam Querrey 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in Saturday's other semifinal.

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Tursunov was leading Blake 2-1 in the second set when rain forced a 32-minute delay.

"I had time to think about the match, what I had to do. I picked my level up a bit. He dropped his level a little bit," Tursunov said of the delay.

When the players returned, Tursunov focused on just keeping the ball in play. Blake struggled with his serve after the delay.

"He was clubbing his forehand. I had to tone it down a bit and not match his power level. I concentrated on keeping the ball in the court," Tursunov said.

Tursunov, leading 4-3 in the second set, won four of five points on Blake's serve, then held service to win the set.

Tursunov broke Blake's opening serve in the third set. Blake broke back in the sixth game, but Tursunov broke Blake in the next game for a decisive 4-3 lead.

The Russian won all three break points he had and saved three of five.

"My serve went flat after the rain delay. He came out playing a little better. I came out missing first serves," Blake said.

In the first semifinal, Simon dominated the first set, but Querrey found his powerful forehand in the second set, fighting off two game points to break Simon in the ninth game, then holding service for the win. But Querrey obviously grew tired in the two-hour, five-minute match in heat and humidity, leaning on his racket and hanging his head at the end of most points.

The two fought on in the third set, with Querrey appearing to get the upper hand by leading 40-0 against Simon's serve in the ninth game.

But Simon, attacking the net, battled back. The two played to deuce four times, with Simon fighting off three break points to win the last two points with his serve.

Querrey won just one point on his final service game.

Simon called the match one that he'll remember for a long time.

"It was not a great match, but the fight was unbelievable for me. He managed to play unbelievable shots with his forehand. But I saw him at the end of every point like this," Simon said, hanging his head. "That's why I kept fighting."

Simon totaled 11 aces to three for his opponent. He saved 16 of 19 break points and won five of eight.