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Blake Defeats Calleri, Into Houston Semifinals

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Top seed James Blake advanced to the semifinals for the second straight year at the US Men's Clay Court Championships with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 5 seed Agustin Calleri on Friday.

The No. 2 American lost only 12 points in 10 service games and broke the Argentine twice in the 67-minute match. Blake saved the only two break points he faced while converting both break points, in the 10th game of the first set, and second game of the second set.

Blake improved his career record to 15-7 in his eighth straight appearance in Houston. He also evened his career mark to 34-34 on clay with his third consecutive straight-sets victory this week.

Blake is hoping his experience will pay off a first ATP clay court title this weekend. The remaining three players are appearing in their first career ATP semifinal on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Tampa, Fla. resident takes on No. 8 seed Oscar Hernandez for the second time in his career. Blake defeated the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4, in the first round of Basel last year.

"Tomorrow is going to be tough and he beat Mardy and I know Mardy's been playing well because I've been practicing with him," said Blake. "I'm expecting a tough match and the only time we played was on hard courts."

Hernandez reached his first ATP semifinal as he beat No. 3 and 2006 Houston champion Mardy Fish 6-2, 7-6(5).

Posted by Shelia

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