Unheralded Japanese journeyman Go Soeda pulled off the biggest win of his career by knocking out defending champion and World No 17 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4, at the Chennai Open to enter his maiden ATP tour semifinals, here yesterday.
Soeda was all but joined by compatriot and fellow-qualifier Yuichi Sugita who blew three match points and lost a two-hour, 44-minute marathon 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-4 to second seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who next takes on the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, the fourth seed, a 7-6 (4), 6-3, winner over Dudi Sela of Israel.
"Obviously, I'm very happy to have beaten a great player like Warwinka" said Soeda.
Incidentally, it was the first time since 1973 that two Japanese had even made it to an ATP tournament quarter-finals and World No 10 Almagro, playing his first match after receiving a bye and a walk-over, spoilt the Nippon party after surviving a great fight by Sugita.
The 27-year old Soeda, ranked 120 and who came through the qualifying competition, kept his nerves in the tight second set that witnessed seven service breaks while Wawrinka, looking increasingly unsettled and distracted, yielded to an opponent who played the big points better.
In contrast, there was just one break in the first set by Soeda though Wawrinka struggled to hold serve almost throughout the match. The Japanese awaits the winner of the fourth quarterfinal between top seed Janko Tipsarevic and David Goffin.