Quarterfinal action began with a pair of upsets Friday afternoon at the Farmers Classic at UCLA’s L.A. Tennis Center.
Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania defeated France’s fourth-seeded Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 6-4, to reach his first ATP tour semifinal. He is the first qualifier to reach the semifinals at the Farmers Classic since Carsten Ball in 2009. Ball advanced to the championship before losing to Sam Querrey.
Rajeev Ram advanced with a 7-6, 6-3 victory over third-seeded Leonardo Mayer of Argentina. The unseeded American advances to the semifinals to face the winner of tonight’s Querrey-Xavier Malisse match.
“It feels really good,” Ram said. “I’ve been doing pretty well lately.
“His serve really got to me for a while. He had a huge pace on it and I just had to focus on holding my own serve. I think I served really well today and that was the biggest key of the match.”
In the second set, Ram trailed Mayer, 3-1, after dropping a service game before winning five consecutive games to take the match.
“I felt like I was getting a little negative out there because I lost my serve early there in the second set,” Ram said. “I didn’t want to do that, because I knew he’d be tough to break, so I just stayed a little more positive and tried to block out any negative energy I had.”
Ram will play a doubles match this evening before having the luxury of watching Querrey and Malisse as they square off.
“I think it’s going to be a great match tonight,” Ram said. “They’re really experienced and play really well. I’ve played Sam a ton.”
Michael Russell’s tournament run ended in a 6-2, 6-3 loss to sixth-seeded Marinko Matosevic. Russell, 34, knocked off top-seeded Benoit Paire on Thursday night. Matosevic and Berankis will play in Saturday’s semifinals.