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Top-seeded Rublev, Ruud reach San Diego Open semifinals

San Diego Open - Day 5

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 01: Andrey Rublev of Russia serves during a quarterfinal match against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina at the San Diego Open at Barnes Tennis Center on October 01, 2021 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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SAN DIEGO -- The top two seeds, Andrey Rublev of Russia and Casper Ruud of Norway, have reached the semifinals of the inaugural San Diego Open.

Rublev, who ended the hopes of San Diego native Brandon Nakashima, kept up his strong form and beat sixth-seeded Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 7-5.

Ruud reached the first tour-level hard court semifinal in his career with a routine 6-1, 6-4 victory over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego.

Rublev also beat Schwartzman in the recent Laver Cup.

“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,” Rublev said. “The match at Laver Cup gave me confidence and also let me know how I needed to play today.”

The Russian set up a showdown against Cameron Norrie of Britain, who scored his second straight upset win over a seeded player this week, defeating No. 4 Denis Shapovalov of Canada 6-3, 6-1.

Ruud said his match “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.

“This is my first semifinal 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.”

Ruud will face Grigor Dimitrov, after the unseeded Bulgarian outlasted Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinal nightcap.