HOUSTON: High seeds John Isner and Sam Querrey were sent packing in three sets, while No 1 seed Jack Sock survived a scare at the ATP Tour’s Houston event on Friday. Second-seeded Isner was ousted by fellow American Ernesto Escobedo 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5) and third-seeded Querrey lost 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to Brazilian eight-seeded Thomaz Bellucci in the quarterfinals.
Sock avoided an upset, advancing to the semifinals with a 7-6 (8/6), 1-6, 6-4 victory over Feliciano Lopez of Spain.
The 20-year-old Escobedo beat former tournament winner Isner despite posting just 10 aces to his opponent’s 35.
Fourth seed Steve Johnson eased through to the semis with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Spanish fifth seed Fernando Verdasco.
Escobedo, who is ranked No 91 in the world, will face Bellucci in the semifinals.
Escobedo is competing in his first clay-court tournament and just his ninth ATP Tour event overall.
“I can’t believe it,” Escobedo said. “To do it here in Houston, it’s amazing.
“(It’s) such a relief. Past years I’ve been training so hard and now it’s paying off.”
Isner was trailing 6-5 in the third set when he fought off three match points and then blasted an ace to force the tiebreak. He hammered two consecutive aces in the tiebreak to pull within 6-5 but Escobedo clinched the victory with his 10th ace. “After the second set, I just refocused and told myself to keep on going, be patient and it’s gonna happen,” Escobedo said. — AFP