Fernando Verdasco edged Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 Friday in an all-Spanish battle at the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad, setting up a semifinal face-off against fast-rising Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
Verdasco exhibited the strong form that led him to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, in which he lost a five-set marathon to eventual champion Andy Murray.
The world No. 35 came out on top in the two-hour, 20-minute slugfest thanks in part to poor serving by Almagro, who only made 46 percent of his first serves for the contest and was thus forced into numerous long rallies on his service games.
For the match, Verdasco broke Almagro's serve five times and his countryman returned the favor on four occasions.
The Madrid native will square off in the semifinals against the 22-year-old Dimitrov, who scored a surprisingly easy 6-3, 6-2 victory Friday over Argentina's Juan Monaco in just over an hour.
The other semifinal will pit 74th-ranked Argentine Carlos Berlocq, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 winner over Spain's Albert Ramos, against 104th-ranked Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker, who stunned top-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 7-5, 7-5. EFE