KEY BISCAYNE, Florida (Reuters) - Argentine Juan Monaco celebrated his 28th birthday by booking a spot in the Sony Ericsson Open semi-finals with a 6-1 6-3 win over American Mardy Fish on Thursday.
Monaco, who beat American Andy Roddick in the previous round, will meet the winner of Thursday’s other quarter-final between world number one Novak Djokovic and fifth seed David Ferrer of Spain.
The 21st seed won 71 percent of his fist serve points and proved too much for eighth seed Fish, who did not cause problems for his opponent until breaking to go 3-3 in the second set.
But Monaco, who turned 28 on Thursday, closed out the match in one hour and 22 minutes and was clearly delighted to have given himself a chance of reaching what would be the biggest final of his career.
“I meant every shot that I played, I did. It was a perfect match for me,” said Monaco, who has won four ATP Tour events. “It was unbelievable. That was the way to celebrate my birthday, playing like this. I feel proud and very happy.”
Fish agreed that Monaco had been too much for him to handle on the day.
“He did a lot of things well and I think more than anything else, he shrunk the court extremely well with his movement and that’s why I think you saw a ton of errors from me,” said Fish.
“I was pressing a lot just because he wasn’t giving me anything. He wasn’t giving me any errors. He made one error in the first set and served 98 percent. That’s tough to beat.”
Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Frank Pingue