Ilya Ivashka used an impressive performance on serve to topple top-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 on Thursday and reach the semi-finals of the ATP hardcourt tournament in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Ivashka, a 27-year-old from Belarus ranked 63rd in the world, notched his third straight win over a seeded player to book a semi-final clash with 22-year-old Finn Emil Ruusuvuori, who ousted 14th-seeded Richard Gasquet of France, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.
“Of course it’s a great feeling,” said Ivashka, who reached the final in Munich in May. “I had a great match today. These conditions suit me.”
Ivashka, who said the pressure was all on 12th-ranked Carreno Busta as the top seed, lost just nine points on serve and didn’t face a break point.
“I think I was playing very aggressive and I was not giving a lot of time to him, trying to push him from the return from the baseline,” Ivashka said. “I was trying to go to the net to play as aggressively as I could and it worked.”
Gasquet served for the first set against Ruusuvuori at 5-4 but was broken, and once the Finn wrapped up the set in a tiebreaker he was on his way.
He closed out the match in 93 minutes with his fourth break of serve as Gasquet struggled late in the steamy conditions.
“I thought that first set was a very high level,” Ruusuvuori said. “Obviously, we saw that everything wasn’t quite there physically with him so that’s a pity.”
In other quarter-final action, Carlos Alcaraz — the 18-year-old Spaniard ranked 54th in the world — beat American Marcos Giron 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 to book a semi-final showdown with Sweden’s Mikael Ymer.
Ymer, ranked 90th in the world, upset 13th-seeded American Frances Tiafoe 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-3.