Top seed Roberto Bautista Agut kept alive his hopes for return trip to the Winston-Salem Open final on Thursday, holding off #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-6(3).

Bautista Agut won 80 per cent of his service points and didn’t face a break point in the 89-minute quarter-final. The Spaniard fell in last year’s final to countryman Pablo Carreno Busta.

“I think it was a great match I played very solid… I played very aggressive,” Bautista Agut said.

He will next play German Jan-Lennard Struff, who beat #NextGenATP Croatian Borna Coric 6-4, 7-6(2). Bautista Agut will be playing in his fifth semi-final of the season (Chennai, Sofia, Munich, Gstaad). He captured the Aircel Chennai Open title, beating #NextGenATP Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Struff will be competing in his first semi-final of the season and his first since 2014 Metz (l. to Goffin). “It feels very good. Last time I reached the semi-finals was a long time ago so I’m very happy,” Struff said. “Borna is a very tough opponent. I was fighting for every point.”

Earlier on Thursday, Brit Kyle Edmund won his sixth match in as many days, beating sixth seed Steve Johnson 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 to reach his second semi-final of the season.

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The 22 year old saved six of seven break points and overcame a strong serving day from Johnson, who hit 14 aces and won 88 per cent of his first-serve points. Edmund, for his part, defended his second serve well in the two-hour quarter-final, claiming nearly 75 per cent of those points.

The World No. 45 won two qualifying matches last weekend and has now won four main-draw contests in North Carolina. Edmund also reached the semi-finals at the BB&T Atlanta Open last month (l. to Harrison). He will next meet Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzogovina, who beat #NextGenATP Korean Hyeon Chung 6-4, 6-2.

The 5’9” Dzumhur darted around the court, extending points with his quickness and defence. He broke Chung four times in the 70-minute match.

It’s Dzumhur’s second semi-final of the season. Earlier this month, he reached the last four at the Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Mifel presentado por Cinemex in Los Cabos before falling to eventual champion Sam Querrey.

From Los Cabos, Dzumhur went to Santo Domingo to play in the clay-court ATP Challenger Tour event, where he reached the final (l. to Estrella Burgos). Dzumhur said he arrived in Winston-Salem at 2 a.m. Monday, the same day he played his first-round match.

“It’s a great time for me. I really couldn’t expect that Winston-Salem was going to be this good for me this year. I was playing a lot in the last few weeks,” Dzumhur said.



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