Mayer through to Nice semis

2010-05-20 20:16

Nice - Leonardo Mayer of Argentina rallied to beat fifth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 Thursday and reach the semi-finals of the Open de Nice.

The 23-year-old Mayer hit six aces but converted just three of his 24 break points before closing out the match in two hours, 55 minutes.

It was Mayer's first win over a top-30 player since last year's French Open, where he beat American James Blake in the first round.

The 59th-ranked Mayer will now play in his second career semifinal and will meet second-seeded Fernando Verdasco, who struggled to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-4.

Verdasco won the Barcelona Open on clay earlier this season and is considered a contender to make a deep run at the French Open, which starts on Sunday in Paris.

Verdasco hit seven aces and broke his opponent five times overall. Stakhovsky broke immediately in the third set and went up 3-1 before Verdasco broke back and finished well to seal the match.

"I finished the match playing very well, although I had a problem with my arm," Verdasco said. "It worries me because I have Roland Garros next week and you don't like to have this kind of problem three or four days before a Grand Slam."