- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

HOUSTON (AP) - Bjorn Phau beat Tommy Haas 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 Friday to reach the semifinals of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships at River Oaks Country Club.

Phau came close to breaking Haas twice in the final set and finally got the lead in the seventh game when Haas double-faulted at break point. Phau won on the first match point when Haas hit a forehand into the net, ending the 1 hour, 56 minute match.

Wild card Lleyton Hewitt met Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain and Guillermo Canas of Argentina played Evgeny Korolev of Russia in later quarterfinal matchups.

Haas escaped two break points in the opening game of the third set. He eventually held with an ace on the final point. Haas also held in a 14-point third game, although he never faced a break point.

“My serve let me down in the third set,” Haas said. “I’m thankful for the wild card. I got to play a couple of matches on clay but I’m sick of losing after 13 years. I want to get my team together and see what happens. I have a hard time playing here. Every time you go for a shot it is risky. He moves better than I do so he has a better chance to get back on the points. To tell you the truth, I’m glad it’s over.”

Phau is appearing in his fourth career semifinal.

“Today was my best match,” Phau said. “Yesterday, I was the favorite and I was fighting my game. Today, I had nothing to lose. To be honest, I didn’t have too many expectations. I didn’t have too much time to prepare. Now, I’ve already taken a big step.”

Earlier, Wayne Odesnik outlasted John Isner 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in the day’s first quarterfinal.

Odesnik won his third straight match of the tournament, equaling his total for the year. Odesnik also made the second semifinal of his career. He was a semifinalist here last year.

“He puts a lot of pressure on you to hold serve,” Odesnik said. “He takes some pretty big cuts at the ball and if they go in, it’s not easy to defend.”

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