Delic Wins Third Straight to Reach Semifinals at JSM Challenger
Courtesy: Illinois Athletics
Former Illini advance to doubles semifinals
URBANA, Ill. - Amer Delic's impressive run at the JSM Challenger continued Thursday afternoon, as the former Illini advanced to the semifinals after defeating current USC junior Steve Johnson in straight sets, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1). It will be Delic's first semifinal appearance since winning a Challenger back in May of 2008.
"When I serve well, that's usually when I play well," Delic said. "With my serve, I can put pressure on the guys and then take swings on returns, but if I'm not serving well, then I'm usually behind in the match and that makes you hesitant to play the way you want to. Thankfully, my serve has been serving me well and I'm able to play my game."
Serving proved to be the key on both ends, as neither player was broken throughout the match and both sets were decided by tiebreakers.
"Steve had a little bit bigger serve than Kei Nishikori yesterday," Delic said. "That was giving me a little bit more trouble, but once I got the return back, I thought I was fine most of the time. Other than that, I probably wasn't aggressive enough at the beginning until it was time to play the tiebreaker and I played both of the tiebreakers pretty well. In the end, this is a game of a couple points here and there and he probably won more points overall than I did, but I won the big ones."
"Overall, I think it was a pretty good week, Johnson said. "I came out here to play some matches and get the experience and it turned out to be a very good tournament for me. Today, Amer served really well and played the first and second set breaker very well. You have to give him a lot of credit for that."
In the semifinals, Delic will face Jesse Witten, who advanced with a win over Michael Yani, 6-4, 6-4, while fifth-seeded Bobby Reynolds will battle sixth-seeded Alex Bogomolov, Jr. In action earlier today, Bogomolov, Jr. held off Fritz Wolmarans, 6-3, 7-6 (3), while Reynolds knocked off second-seeded Peter Luczak, 7-6 (3), 6-3
"I played and served well today," Reynolds said. "That's key for indoors. Tomorrow I know will be a tough match. We always have a battle and play a similar type of game. It's probably going to three sets like it has the last three or four times, so I know I'm in for a long battle and just hope to serve well again tomorrow."
Delic and Reynolds also advanced to the semifinals in doubles, as they outlasted former Illini Marek Czerwinski and Ryan Rowe, 6-4, 1-6, 10-8. The tandem will face top-seeded Ryler DeHeart and Pierre-Ludovic Duclos, who also advanced earlier today with a win over John Paul Fruttero and David Martin, 6-3, 7-6 (1). Current Illini Johnny Hamui and KU Singh will also be competing for a spot in the finals, as their scheduled opponents withdrew from their quarterfinal match.
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