• Lopez, Istomin square off with Memphis final at stake

    2/23/13 5:58 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Lopez, Istomin square off with Memphis final at stake An all-unseeded semifinal showdown in Memphis pits Feliciano Lopez against Denis Istomin on Saturday. The winner will battle either Kei Nishikori or Marinko Matosevic for the title.

    Feliciano Lopez and Denis Istomin will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they collide in the semifinals of the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships on Saturday. Lopez has won both of their previous meetings; 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(5) at the 2009 Queen's Club event and 7-6(7), 7-5 one season later in Barcelona.

    Istomin, however, is playing some of the most consistent tennis of his career right now. The 63rd-ranked Uzbek has already reached four ATP quarterfinals this season and he is now through to a semi following straight-set victories in Memphis over John Isner, Lleyton Hewitt, and Michael Russell. Istomin is a stellar 11-4 for his 2013 campaign.

    Lopez has also not been required to work too hard this week. The 31-year-old Spaniard needed three sets to get past Benjamin Becker in round one, but he got a walkover from Tommy Haas then rolled over Jack Sock 6-4, 6-3 on Friday night. Lopez remains a modest 4-3 for the season.

    This is their first-ever encounter on a hard court, which is Istomin's favorite surface. Lopez also likes the indoor conditions, so this one should feature high-quality tennis. Based on Istomin's blazing form this week, look for him to prevail in three sets.

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Hard to believe these two in the semis...but good for them. I like Istomin as well.

scoot , 2/23/13 1:20 PM

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