Qualifier Kudla reaches Halle semi-finals  

Denis Kudla reached the semi-finals at Halle with a breakthrough grass-court victory over Yuichi Sugita.

Halle Westfalen (Germany) (AFP) – Qualifier Denis Kudla scored the best grass victory of his career on Friday, beating Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 6-2, 7-5 for a semi-final spot at the ATP Halle tournament.

The American winner, ranked 109, had never been past a quarter-final on the lawns – which he achieved at Queen’s club, London five years ago.

Kudla will on Saturday face the winner as nine-time champion Roger Federer plays Australian No. 60 Matt Ebden.

Kudla saved a set point at 5-2 down in the second set and has reached the final four at the Wimbledon replica stadium, set in northern German woodlands, without the loss of a set as he continues the best week of his tennis life at age 25,

Kudla improved to 17-14 on grass over his career as he put out Sugita, the No. 52 who stunned third seed and Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem in the second round.

Kudla fired his sixth ace on match point to complete his victory in just under 90 minutes, as he broke his Japanese opponent four times.