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The Samurai slices into semi-finals

By Michael Burgess at the ASB Tennis Centre

Published: 12:36PM Thursday January 15, 2009 Source: ONE Sport

Fourth seed Nicolas Almagro suffered a meltdown on centre court on Thursday, before crashing out of the Heineken Open to big-serving American Sam Querrey 6-3 6-2.

World number 18 Almagro is known for playing on the very edge of his emotions, and his nerves were frazzled by several disputed line calls.

After one prolonged argument with the umpire, he sent the ball miles out of the stadium and was given a code violation for ball abuse.

Querrey stayed cool throughout, frustrating the 23-year-old Spaniard with his consistent play and was very satisfied with his performance.

"That was the best I've played for a long time" the 21-year-old said afterwards.

After Wednesday's incredible run of three set marathons, this quarter final was a relatively short one hour and four minutes.

1.98m Querrey relied on a big serving game and it worked for him on Thursday, managing 10 aces and 69% of first serves.

And when those first serves landed he only dropped 4 points, not giving Almargo a break point opportunity during the entire match.

The very first game of the match went for 14 points, with the world number 36 Querrey eventually gaining the break.

That seemed to set the tone for the match.

"I was very fortunate to win that one" the American said.

Querrey gained another break and served out the set 6-3.

Almargo tried to fight back in the second set but never looked like forcing a break.

At 3-2 and 15-30 came the crucial line call, with the umpire ruling an Almargo second serve wide. The Spaniard, adamant it was an ace, lost his cool and never regained his focus, broken two points later.

Querrey smoothly went to a 5-2 lead before Almargo lost another service game, managing to double fault on match point.

The popular American will play either world number 12 David Ferrer or defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber.