Top-seeded Ferrer downs Fognini to reach Vienna semifinals

VIENNA (AP) Top-seeded David Ferrer eased past Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-4, 6-2 to reach his eighth semifinal of the season at the Erste Bank Open on Friday.

Ferrer will play sixth-seeded Gael Monfils for a place in Sunday’s final, while Steve Johnson of the United States and Ernests Gulbis of Latvia will contest the other semifinal.

The eighth-ranked Ferrer, who lost to Andy Murray in last year’s final, went behind 3-1 in the opening set but won 11 of the next 14 games. Ferrer improved to 9-0 against the 22nd-ranked Fognini.

Monfils rallied to defeat Lukas Rosol of Czech Republic 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-3. The Frenchman hit 19 aces and avoided break points.

Monfils, who reached the final here seven years ago, is playing in his first event since withdrawing from the U.S. Open with lower back problems.

Earlier, Johnson rallied to defeat second-seeded Kevin Anderson 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-4 and reach his fourth career semifinal.

The 47th-ranked Johnson dropped serve once in the opening set and had to save four break points in the second but denied the 11th-ranked South African any break chances in the final set.

Gulbis, who was on a five-match losing streak coming to the tournament, beat seventh-seeded Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5).

Anderson hit 23 aces to raise his total to 1,003 for the season. It’s the first time that three players have scored more than 1,000 aces in the same season after Karlovic and John Isner of the United States also passed the mark.