- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Steve Johnson reached the Winston-Salem Open semifinals when Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu withdrew because of a back injury.

Lu was hurt late in the third set Wednesday in his 7-6 (1), 1-6, 7-5 victory over South Korea’s Hyeon Chung at the Wake Forest Tennis Center. He was treated after the match and Thursday morning. The pain and cramping persisted during practice, forcing his withdrawal.

“There’s a disk that had some inflammation inside, and the inflammation got into the muscle and got it tight,” Lu said. “It was really affecting my serve. We’re all looking forward to next week, but I’m still upset.

“We did everything we could with the ATP (trainers). There’s still some soreness, and I really couldn’t do anything natural. It really didn’t make sense to go on the court and play. It’s not smart.”

Johnson is seeded 13th and the lone American remaining in the final tuneup before the U.S. Open. He will play either qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France or Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain.

Johnson reached his third career semifinal and second this season. The two-time NCAA champion at South California made his last semifinal appearance three weeks ago in Washington.

“It’s never the way you want to win,” Johnson said. “Rendy’s (Lu’s nickname) a great competitor, and I was looking forward to getting a chance to play. Unfortunately for him, his back isn’t feeling 100 percent. With the U.S. Open right around the corner, he didn’t want to jeopardize something today for the following week. Now I just take today, and get ready for tomorrow.”

In the night session, second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa faced eighth-seeded Borna Coric of Croatia, and sixth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil played Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.

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