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James Blake Into Semis In Delray Beach, Flordia

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Top-seeded James Blake advanced to the semifinals in the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach for the second straight year Friday night, beating Russia's Igor Kunitsyn 6-2, 6-4.

Blake will face Robby Ginepri on Saturday, while third-seeded Sam Querrey will play 18-year-old qualifier Kei Nishikori, the first Japanese player to reach an ATP semifinal since Shuzo Matsuoka at Beijing in October 1995.

"I definitely feel each match I'm playing better and better," said Blake, who lost to Xavier Malisse in the final last year. "It will be an all-American battle tomorrow. I just hope the crowd a little bit favors me."

The 169th-ranked Ginepri, playing in his first ATP main draw of the year, beat eighth-seeded Mardy Fish 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

Querrey reached his second career tour semifinal, beating fellow American Vince Spadea 6-2, 6-4. The 224-ranked Nishikori advanced to his first career semifinal with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over American Bobby Reynolds.

Blake, who has yet to lose a set all week, fell behind 2-0 in the opening set, but quickly picked up the pace to take control, Ginepri, a 2005 U.S. Open semifinalist and once ranked as high as No. 15, is struggling to find consistency to his game.

"When you're losing so much you get into a routine of losing out there," said Ginepri, last in a semifinal in Indianapolis in 2006. "I didn't remember how good it feels out there to win. It's addictive."

Posted by Shelia

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