Pablo Carreno Busta prevented an all-French semi-final at the Estoril Open by putting out tournament top seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4 on Friday.
The upset sent eighth seed Carreno Busta into a Saturday semi against French third seed Benoit Paire, a winner over Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 in a hard-fought showdown on the clay.
Carreno Busta is into his second semi-final of the season.
The Spaniard, one of three from his nation in the last eight, is one victory away from a second career ATP final after losing in Sao Paulo to Pablo Cuevas in February.
Simon’s return to the seaside venue outside of Lisbon for the first time since 2011 ended in disappointment, as the world number 18 was ambushed by his 50th-ranked opponent, managing only two aces and losing serve twice.
The bottom half of the semi-final draw will be determined later on Friday, with last year’s finalist Nick Kyrgios facing Croatian sixth seed Borna Coric in a high-profile quarter-final between highly-promising youngsters.
Spaniard Nicolas Almagro takes on Argentine seventh seed Leonardo Mayer, with Almagro leading their head-to-head 3-0.
Paire, whose patchy game can come and go, found it tough to adjust to faster conditions in the heat of the day after playing night matches previously, but was pleased to get past Garcia-Lopez without too much trouble.
“It was a little tough in the beginning, not great for the confidence,” he said.
“But I began feeling better and better as the match went on. He was a tough opponent, I’m glad I won in straight sets.
“When I was down I told myself just to keep going, I’m happy to win today.”
Paire said that he is feeling some physical niggles as he progresses into the weekend, with his foot, leg and even a tooth bothering him.