Friday at the Chennai Open typified the 'size of the fight in the dog' adage. While Dudi Sela, ranked 83 and 5 feet 9 inches tall, gave fourth seed Milos Raonic a run for his money in the opening match, the day belonged to two Japanese qualifiers --- Go Soeda and Yuichi Sugita. It was for the first time since 1973 (in Osaka), that two Japanese men had reached the quarterfinals in an ATP Tour event.
Soeda, playing his fifth match in six days, still had plenty in the tank as he took out defending champion and third seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4 in an intense encounter. With his new coach --- former top-50 player Davide Sanguinetti --- watching from the sidelines, Soeda matched the Swiss from the back of the court, then bettered him to make his first tour level semifinal.
Out on Centre Court, his friend Sugita came within sniffing distance of beating second seed Almagro. The 23-year-old held three match points against the Spaniard in the second set tie-break, but Almagro was able to come up with the goods when mattered beating the Japanese 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4.