SAO PAULO - Paolo Lorenzi of Italy reached his first ATP semifinal by upsetting fourth-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-4 at the Brazil Open on Friday.
The 114th-ranked Lorenzi broke Monaco's serve to go up 4-3 in the decisive set and held on to close the match in 2 hours, 34 minutes at the Ibirapuera Arena.
The 32-year-old Italian squandered a match point before losing the second set, but was in control in the third to pick up the win in the ATP 250 tournament in South America's biggest city.
Lorenzi, who had 12 aces, made it to the semis for the first time after five quarterfinal losses in his career.
"I'm very happy to finally breakthrough to the semifinals," Lorenzi said. "I've had a lot of opportunities before but was never able to come up with the victory at this stage. For sure this is one of my greatest weeks on the tour."
The 43rd-ranked Monaco, a former top 10 in the world, was trying to win his 200th clay-court match. He is the fifth-greatest winner in the surface, behind Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo and Nicolas Almagro.
Monaco had a set point in the first set but couldn't capitalize on it.
"It was a very close match, he had his chances in the first set and I had mine in the second, it was very difficult," Lorenzi said.
The Italian will play either top-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany or Horacio Zeballos of Argentina, who play their quarterfinal match later Friday.
In the other quarterfinal Friday, Federico Delbonis of Argentina easily beat Alberto Montanes of Spain 6-4, 6-3 in just over an hour. He will play either home-crowd favourite Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil or Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
The 61st-ranked Delbonis had upset three-time Brazil Open champion Almagro in the second round.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal is not playing at the clay-court tournament this year. He chose to play at the first edition of the Rio Open, which he won last week.
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