Marcos Giron Upsets No. 8 Seed Felix Auger-Aliassime at Japan Open to Reach First ATP 500 Semifinal

Marcos Giron continues his impressive run in Japan…

The 30-year-old Spanish American professional tennis player pulled off an upset against eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, defeating the Canadian tennis player 6-1, 6-4 triumph o advance to the semifinals of the Kinoshita Group Japan Open Tennis Championships.

Marcos GironGiron, currently ranked No. 79 in the world, is a qualifier for the tournament.

Giron rode a lightning-fast start in both sets to an 81-minute win against Auger-Aliassime, who had shown signs of a return to form by reaching his first tour-level quarterfinal since May.

Yet he could not match Giron’s consistency in blustery conditions inside Ariake Coliseum. He led 4-0 in the first set and 3-0 in the second, ultimately converting five of eight break points he earned to charge into his maiden ATP 500 semifinal.

“I’m really happy with today’s performance,” said Giron, who held his nerve after losing four of five games in the middle of the second set. “Felix is obviously a phenomenal player, been Top 10 in the world, won a lot of titles. He’s beaten me down pretty good the last few times we played, so coming in today I knew I had to play well and I had to play aggressive.

“It is windy, but I started off really well. In the second set I went up a break and it cooled off, got even windier, and it got a little tricky. He raised his level, but we are professional tennis players, we do this for a living, and we’ve got to be ready for anything that comes our way.”

Giron has previously upset Norwegian Casper Ruud, the second seed, 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday to move into the quarterfinals.

He’ll next face fellow American Ben Shelton in the semifinals on Saturday.

Granollers Outlasts David Ferrer to Advance at the Japan Open

Marcel Granollers is starting his Japanese run with a bullet

The 28-year-ol Spanish tennis player fought back from a set down to defeat his compatriot David Ferrer, the tournament’s second seed, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Monday and advance to the second round of the Japan Open.

Marcel Granollers

Granollers converted four of nine break points at Ariake Coliseum and will next face Steve Johnson of the United States.

The early loss could dent Ferrer’s hopes of qualifying for the ATP finals in London in November. The top eight players qualify and Ferrer is currently ranked seventh.

“I lost my focus in the second set,” said Ferrer, who recently split with coach Jose Francisco Altur. “I have not been playing well recently and have got on a bad run of results.”

del Potro Defeats Rafael Nadal to Reach Shanghai Masters Final

Juan Martin del Potro has taken down the world’s No. 1 player in China…

The 25-year-old Argentine tennis player defeated Rafael Nadal, who just returned to the top of the world rankings after an impressive run this year, 6-2, 6-4 in the Shanghai Masters semifinals on Saturday.

Juan Martin del Potro

The fifth-ranked del Potro will now attempt to win his first Masters title on Sunday against top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other semifinal 6-2, 7-5.

del Potro hadn’t beaten Nadal since the semifinals of the 2009 U.S. Open where he went on to win his only Grand Slam title.

But del Potro is playing fully fit and confident — he’s coming off a win last week at the Japan Open that returned him to the top five in the rankings for the first time in three years.

He completely overpowered Nadal with his deep, punishing groundstrokes and fended off all six break points he faced.

Nadal’s serve, on the other hand, was under threat during the entire match. After not dropping serve in 28 games this week, the Spaniard was broken twice to start the match as del Potro raced out to 4-0.

Del Potro started to make a few mistakes in the second set, giving Nadal two chances to break in the second game. But the Argentine saved both with huge serves and put the pressure right back on Nadal, breaking him for a third time in the following game.

“I played so solid all the time, hitting so hard the ball. I saw Rafa playing very far off the baseline, which is good for my game, for my serve and confidence. That’s the way to beat this guy,” del Potro said.

Nadal said he hadn’t seen del Potro play this well in years. Or anyone, for that matter.

“Very few times I played against a player with a level like today I played against,” the Spaniard said. “At the end, I played against a player who served 80 percent of first serves, who hit every ball as hard as he can, I think, and with no mistakes.”

del Potro wrapped up a spot in the ATP Finals in London with the win. He’s been working his way back into top form since a wrist injury knocked him off the tour for most of 2010 — just after he got his breakthrough win as a 20-year-old at the U.S. Open.