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Thursday, February 9, 2012
Challenger of Dallas reaches semis

ESPNDallas.com

Carsten Ball's run of five straight wins at the $100,000 yp Challenger of Dallas men's tennis tournament, which included three victories in qualifying and a first-round upset of top-seeded Ryan Sweeting, is over.

The Australian left-hander was finally ousted Thursday in the quarterfinals by fellow lefty Jesse Levine, whose 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 triumph ensured that at least one American reached the semifinal stage.

Levine, ranked No. 160 in the world, will face Germany's Stefan Seifert in Friday's semifinals. Seifert, ranked No. 285, advanced with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph over Denis Kudla, who was the other remaining American still alive.

No. 2 seed Steve Darcis of Belgium (No. 82 in the world) and No. 6 Izak Van Der Merwe (No. 138) will meet in Friday's other singles semifinal. Darcis held off No. 8 seed Ricardas Berankas in a three-setter (6-4, 2-6, 6-3) in their quarterfinal, with Van Der Merwe ousting qualifier Clement Reix by a more comfortable scoreline of 6-4, 6-3.

Ball also suffered a narrow defeat in Thursday's doubles when he and Canadian partner Adil Shamasdin -- seeded No. 1 in the doubles draw -- couldn't convert two match points against Robert Kendrick and the highly successful Mark Knowles.

A former Grand Slam doubles winner at the Australian, French and U.S. Opens and now a DFW-area resident, Knowles ultimately teamed with Kendrick to claim a 4-6, 7-5, 11-9 win and a semifinal berth against the British pair of Chris Eaton and Dominic Inglot.

Highly touted American teenager Jack Sock and Nick Monroe, seeded No. 4, will face Alex Kuznetzov and Mischa Zverev in Friday's other doubles semifinal.