Rice and easy for David as Graves run goes on

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GREAT Britain’s David Rice pulled off the biggest shock of the AEGON GB Pro-Series tournament at Sheffield’s Graves Tennis Centre yesterday with victory over top seed Jerzy Janowicz.

The big serving Janowicz was favourite to win the $15,000 event but had no answer for the form that Rice, from Watford, is in.

After winning the first set on a tie break the 22-year-old, who is ranked 499 in the world, breezed through the second set 6-0 to clinch a semi-final meeting with Belgium’s Germain Gigounon.

Rice is enjoying a successful 2012 in both singles and doubles as, along with partner Sean Thornley, he also booked a spot in the doubles final tomorrow.

He said: “I’ve had a much more aggressive approach to my game this year and it is really starting to pay off.

“It particularly helped when I was 4-1 down the tie break and I won the next six points.”

There’s the possibility of an all British final on Saturday after Dan Evans, who at a world ranking of 345 is the highest ranked player left in the tournament, beat Fritz Wolmarans of South Africa.

Evans, from Birmingham, was a comfortable victor, as he saw off third seed Wolmarans 6-2 6-4.

Gigounon, world ranked 459, booked his spot in the today’s semi-final with Rice after beating Northampton’s Alex Ward. The eighth seeded Ward lost the first set 6-2 and then was beaten 7-3 in the second set tie break to go down in straight sets.

The other member of the last four is Luka Gregorc from Slovenia. The 27-year-old beat second seeded Mirza Basic, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a marathon three set match, which lasted over three hours.

Gregorc eventually came through 6-7(9) 6-4 7-6(3) and will now meet Evans.

Both semi-finals will start at 10.30am at Graves and the doubles final between Rice and Thornley against Chris Eaton and Dominic Inglot will begin no earlier than 12 noon. Admission is free.

Meanwhile, Sheffield’s Anna Fitzpatrick lost in the second round of the AEGON Pro-Series event in Sutton against Ireland’s Amy Bowtell.