|Dustin Brown, volleying in the $50,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger|
last October, reached an ATP World Tour semifinal for the first time.
Photo by Paul Bauman
But until Friday, the 31-year-old German had never reached the semifinals on the ATP World Tour.
Brown finally broke through -- as a qualifier, no less -- with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium in the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.
Brown, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters) and only 172 pounds (78 kilograms), had been 0-8 in tour-level quarterfinals.
"I'm just very happy to finally make it to a semifinal after so many tries," Brown, who stunned Nadal in the second round on Centre Court at Wimbledon last year to improve to 2-0 against the 14-time Grand Slam singles champion (tied for second all-time). "I've played lots of times against Ruben and lost a tight one last time. Basically, I tried to play aggressively like the past couple of days, and I'm happy it worked out."
Brown finished as the runner-up to Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area in the $50,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger last October. Fritz was 17 at the time.
Bemelmans, a 28-year-old left-hander, won the doubles title in the 2014 Aptos Challenger with Laurynas Grigelis of Lithuania.
The 133rd-ranked Brown, who has a Jamaican father and wears dreadlocks down to his waist, will meet top-seeded and 10th-ranked Richard Gasquet of France for the first time.
Gasquet, the defending champion who also won the title in 2013, beat Marcos Baghdatis, the 2014 Aptos singles champion, 6-4, 6-4.
In the other semifnal, 18-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany will face 34-year-old Paul-Henri Mathieu of France.
Zverev, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), stunned second-seeded Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, in the second round.
Mathieu defeated John Millman, a 26-year-old Australian playing in his first ATP quarterfinal, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3.
Last August, Millman became the first No. 1 seed in the 28-year history of the Aptos Challenger to win the title.
Women's Challenger in Midland, Mich. -- Wild cards CiCi Bellis, 16, of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Ingrid Neel, 17, of Rochester, Minn., whipped top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez, a 26-year-old Modesto product, 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic.
|Kimiko Date-Krumm, playing in the Stockton|
Challenger last summer, announced she will
have knee surgery. Photo by Paul Bauman
Gibbs won the 2012 NCAA doubles title with Stanford teammate Mallory Burdette.
After losing in the first round of qualifying in last month's Australian Open, the 45-year-old Japanese marvel had an MRI that revealed a torn meniscus.
Date-Krumm climbed to a career-high No. 4 in 1995. Last summer, she reached the semifinals of the $50,000 Stockton Challenger, quarterfinals of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger and, as a qualifier, second round of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
Date-Krumm overcame a huge deficit to stun then-No. 24 Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the first round at Stanford. One year earlier there, Lisicki set a record that still stands with a 131.0-mph (201.8-kph) serve.
ITA Women's Team Indoors in Madison, Wis. -- Cal, seeded fourth and ranked sixth, blitzed host Wisconsin 4-0 in the opening round of 16 in the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship.
The Bears (3-0) will play Virginia (4-1), unseeded and ranked seventh, in today's quarterfinals.