Zeballos eliminates Gonzalez in Houston
HOUSTON: Top-seeded Fernando Gonzalez was bundled out of the U.S. Men''s Clay Court Championship on Friday, beaten in straight sets by Argentina''s Horacio Zeballos.
The sixth-seeded Zeballos, the 2009 ATP newcomer of the year, broke Gonzalez in the first game of the second set, but had to struggle to hold his serve later in the final set to beat Gonzalez, ranked 11th in the world. Zeballos is ranked 54th.
After seeing off one break point in the sixth games, Zeballos escaped three break points in the eighth, aided by three aces.
“Zeballos played a good match and I didn''t play my best tennis,'''' Gonzalez said.
Zeballos will face fellow Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the semifinals. Chela beat injury-slowed defending champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 6-4, 6-3.
Hewitt, fourth seeded, played in his first tournament since undergoing surgery on his right hip Jan. 29. He made one charge after falling behind 5-0 in the second set, breaking the Argentine in the sixth and eighth games. Chela, ranked 84th in the world, ended the brief rally by breaking back in the ninth game.
Third-seeded Sam Querrey of the United States also advanced, overcoming a misfiring serve to beat Chile''s Nicolas Massu 6-3, 3-6,6-4. Querrey will face American Wayne Odesnik, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Belgium''s Xavier Malisse.
Odesnik pleaded guilty last month to taking human growth hormones into Australia. He has denied using HGH and is continuing to playwhile his case is being investigated by the ATP.
“I would refuse to lose to that guy,'''' Querrey said.
Odesnik, who has declined comment on his case, replied: “We''ll see what happens tomorrow.''''