• Ferrero, Cilic aim for Croatia Open semis

    7/29/11 4:13 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Ferrero, Cilic aim for Croatia Open semis Juan Carlos Ferrero and Marin Cilic are one win away from booking spots in the Umag semifinals. They are set for respective meetings with Carlos Berlocq and Andreas Seppi on Friday.

    (4) Marin Cilic vs. (7) Andreas Seppi

    Cilic and Seppi will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers at the ATP level when they clash in the quarterfinals of the Studena Croatia Open on Friday. Seppi leads the head-to-head series 3-2, but Cilic won their only previous clay-court meeting 6-3, 7-6(6) five years ago in Gstaad. They most recently faced each other at the Shanghai Masters last fall, when Seppi rolled 6-2, 6-2.

    Both players are in solid albeit unspectacular form at the moment. Cilic is 26-14 for the season after a three-set win over Robin Haase on Thursday, but he has slid down the rankings to the No. 31 spot. Seppi, who captured the Eastbourne title in June, ended a three-match losing streak with straight-set wins this week over Dusan Lajovic and Diego Junqueira. This all-seeded affair could go either way, but Cilic has a home-court advantage and he should prevail in three sets.

    Carlos Berlocq vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero

    Berlocq and Ferrero will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they battle for a semifinal spot in Umag on Friday. They split their two previous encounters; Berlocq scored a three-set grass-court win in 2007 before Ferrero cruised 6-3, 6-2 last year on the clay courts of Costa Do Sauipe. Ferrero is a considerable favorite once again on clay, plus he is the defending champion of this event. The 73rd-ranked Spaniard got through his opener this week when Maximo Gonzalez retired at 1-1 in the third set and he ousted third-seeded Ivan Ljubicic 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday. Ferrero, the Stuttgart winner earlier this month, is now 10-3 for his abbreviated, injury-plagued 2011 campaign.

    Just as Ferrero got a retirement in round one, Berlocq has also been the beneficiary of some good fortune this week. After defeating Blaz Kavcic 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4, the 83rd-ranked Argentine got a walkover past Tommy Robredo. Berlocq, who won a clay-court Challenger in early July and advanced one round last week in Hamburg, has earned 11 of his 33 career ATP match victories in 2011. This should be a high-quality encounter on the slow stuff, with Ferrero coming out on top after two competitive sets.

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