San Diego, CA–Eight turned to four on a fantastic Friday in Southern California as the semifinal field for the inaugural San Diego Open was set. The final four will be led by the top two seeds this week at the Barnes Tennis Center, promising a thrilling finish to the ATP 250 tournament.
Top seed Andrey Rublev, who ended the hopes of San Diego native Brandon Nakashima on Wednesday in his first match of the tournament, kept up his strong form, earning an impressive 6-1, 7-5 victory over sixth seed Diego Schwartzman.
“The match against him at the Laver Cup helped me a lot because we hadn’t played for a really, really long time and I didn’t know what he was doing on court,” said Rublev.
“The match at Laver Cup gave me confidence and also let me know how I needed to play today,” said the current World No. 5.
“The second set was very tough and enjoyable for the spectators to watch. Every game was really tough with amazing points and the set could have gone either way,” Rublev added.
The Russian set up a Saturday showdown with plucky Brit Cameron Norrie, who scored his second straight upset win over a seed this week, defeating fourth-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov earlier today in dominant fashion, winning 6-3, 6-1.
Second-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway booked his spot in Saturday’s semifinals and made some history along the way, reaching the first tour-level hard court semifinal in his young career with a routine 6-1, 6-4 victory over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego.
“It was closer than it may have seemed, but the key moments and important points went my way today. The three times I broke him, the games were close and at 4-3 in the second I got into a little bit of trouble on my serve but I was able to serve out a close game,” Ruud said.
“This is my first semi-final on hard court after reaching the quarters in Toronto and Cincinnati, so it’s another important step in my career. It gives me confidence for tomorrow and the belief that I can beat good players on this surface,” assessed Ruud.
Ruud will face Grigor Dimitrov, after the unseeded Bulgarian outlasted Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinal nightcap for the last final four spot, setting the stage for Super Saturday at Barnes Tennis Center.
Saturday’s semifinal schedule sees Rublev and Norrie open play on Barnes Stadium followed by Ruud and Dimitrov going head-to-head as history will be made with two spots on the line in the first-ever San Diego Open final.