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Johnson, Granollers set up Newport semi-final clash

© AFP/File | Spain's Marcel Granollers, pictured in May 2017, ousted top-seeded player Adrian Mannarino at the ATP grass court tournament despite being ranked 124th in the world

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

Number three Steve Johnson was the last seed standing in the ATP grass court tournament at Newport, Rhode Island, Friday, booking a semi-final berth as Marcel Granollers ousted top-seeded Adrian Mannarino.

Granollers, ranked 124th in the world, breezed past France's Mannarino of France 6-3, 6-1.

He needed just 62 minutes to deny 26th-ranked Mannarino a third semi-final of the season.

He'll try to build on that success when he takes on Johnson, who made similarly short work of Israel's Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-3.

Johnson's 11 aces more than compensated for five double faults and he saved both break points he faced in the 58-minute contest.

The American will be seeking his fourth career title and his second of 2018, after his April win in the clay court tournament in Houston.

Granollers has won four ATP singles titles and 13 doubles titles and was once ranked in the top 20. But his inconsistency in recent years has sent him to the Challenger circuit to try to rebuild his ranking and he is playing in his first Tour-level main draw this week since Barcelona in April.

His victory followed the upset trend in Newport, where Mannarino and Johnson were the only seeded players to reach the last eight.

Johnson said that whatever Granollers' struggles of late, he expected a tough challenge from the Spaniard.

"He's a great tennis player," Johnson said. "He's won 500s, he's no slouch. He's a Grand Slam doubles champion. So he knows how to come in and be aggressive. He's going to come out guns blazing and I'm going to try to do the same."

The first two semi-finalists were decided on Thursday, when India's Ramkumar Ramanathan and American Tim Smyczek advanced.

© 2018 AFP