SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Simone Bolelli of Italy reached his first ATP semifinals since 2008 when he defeated Albert Montanes of Spain 6-4, 6-4 in the Brazil Open on Friday.
The 80th-ranked Bolelli, who successfully played challengers last year to get back into the top 100, broke Montanes' service twice in the final set to secure the victory at the indoor clay-court tournament in Sao Paulo.
The Italian, who had five of his nine aces in the second set, will face either two-time defending champion Nicolas Almagro of Spain or David Nalbandian of Argentina, who meet later Friday at the Ibirapuera arena.
Bolelli, who converted three of his 11 break point opportunities, upset third-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina in the second round on Thursday.
Argentine Martin Alund, No. 111 in the world, beat 88th-ranked Filippo Volandri of Italy 7-5, 7-6 (5) to set up a likely encounter with top-seeded Rafael Nadal, who was to face Carlos Berlocq of Argentina in Friday's last match.
The 27-year-old Alund had never won a match at the top tour level until he came to Sao Paulo. He had beaten 25th-ranked and fourth-seeded Jeremy Chardy of France in the second round.