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Tennis: Ferrer in semi-finals, mourns ATP chief Drewett

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Top seed David Ferrer reached the Portugal Open semi-finals on Friday before joining the tributes to ATP chief Brad Drewett who lost his brave battle against motor neurone disease.

Ferrer rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to see off gritty Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).

Drewett, 54, passed away earlier Friday at his home in Sydney, having made public that he was suffering from the condition only in January.

"Although I made it to the semi-finals, it is a tough day because of the death of our president Brad. My deepest condolences to his family," Ferrer wrote on his Twitter account.

Joining Ferrer in the last four was Swiss second seed Stanislas Wawrinka.

The Swiss reached the semi-finals for the second year running through his defeat of Portuguese wild card, and crowd darling, number 113-ranked Gastao Elias, 6-4, 6-4.

Number three Andreas Seppi also joined the party as the Italian beat Spain's eighth seed Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3 to next take on Ferrer.

Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno-Busta belied his 229 ranking with a knockout of Italian fourth seed Fabio Fognini, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

He will face Wawrinka in a first-time meeting after winning the first ATP quarter-final of his career.

Ferrer, 31, said: "This an historic tournament and one that I've always dreamed of winning."

The Spaniard, a late drawcard replacement for Juan Martin Del Potro, who is now out of next week's Madrid Masters with the virus which kept him from Portugal, beat Hanescu in one hour, 39 minutes, helped by three breaks of serve.

"It was a very tough match, Victor played very well and, despite being better than the first day, I was lucky in the second set in some important moments," said Ferrer.

Meanwhile, Russian third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fought back from a first-set whitewash to beat unseeded Romina Oprandi 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the women's final of the event.

The 19th-ranked Russian will bid for her second trophy this season after Monterrey, when she plays fourth seed and 2012 finalist Carla Suarez Navarro, who beat defending champion Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-4, 6-1 in 66 minutes.

Pavlyuchenkova said that, after winning a quarter-final the day before which took almost three hours, she was not fully recovered -- especially with a morning start.

"I don't like to complain, but it was tough to start the match. I didn't recover well. But I'm happy with how I responded," she said.

"I turned it around, kept believing and kept playing my game."

Oprandi came to the court after beating Russia's French and US Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarter-finals at the Estadio Nacional.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130503/tennis-ferrer-semi-finals-mourns-atp-chief-drewett