Juan Martin del Potro, who will return to the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time since August 2014 next week, swept through to the ASB Classic semi-finals on Thursday night.

The popular Argentinean star, competing this week at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament for the first time since his 2009 title (d. Querrey), struck 11 aces and didn’t face a break point in a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over Russian Karen Khachanov in one hour and 33 minutes.

“I took all of my chances and I played solidly on my service games,” said del Potro. “I ran a lot today, more than yesterday, which is good for my physical condition and I’m sure I will run more tomorrow against David. It will be a good test for me and I’m very focused to reach the final here.”

The second seed will now prepare for a semi-final against seventh seed and four-time former champion David Ferrer on Friday. Ferrer leads 6-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head, but del Potro has won their past two matches (2013 Wimbledon and 2016 US Open).

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“We have played many times and we always content good matches,” said del Potro. “Nobody cares about David’s ranking, as he is a great champion of the sport. It doesn’t matter about his ranking or mine, I just think it will be a good match for the fans.”

Del Potro, who began the week at No. 12 in the ATP Rankings, will rise to No. 10 on Monday – his first Top 10 position since 4 August 2014 (at No. 10).

In a tight first set against No. 48-ranked Khachanov, Del Potro won the sixth point of the tie-break for a 4/2 lead, then broke in the second game of the second set.

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Top Three Doubles Seeds Advance To SFs
Top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic lost just nine of their first-service points in a 7-6(3), 6-3 win over Daniel Nestor and Donald Young in 72 minutes for a place in the semi-finals. They will now challenge third seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Julio Peralta, who were 6-1, 7-6(4) victors over Robert Lindstedt and Franko Skugor in 80 minutes.

Second seeds Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus edged past Marcin Matkowski and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 4-6, 6-4, 10-4 in 82 minutes for a meeting against Max Mirnyi and Philipp Oswald.



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