Burnie TAS, Australia, 2 February 2017 | David Packman

Omar Jasika and Blake Mott have reached the semifinal stage at the 2017 Caterpillar Burnie International with hard-fought wins on Thursday.

Mott required three sets to defeat Queenslander Maverick Banes, 6-2 6-7(8) 6-3 in a match lasting over two and a half hours, while Jasika continued his good form to edge out experienced wildcard Matthew Ebden 7-6(2) 2-6 6-2.

“It was tough conditions out there for both of us,” Jasika said. “I was lucky enough to get a good start in the third set and I was happy to get the win today.

“It’s good to be in another semi. I’ve been playing some good tennis and I’ve gained a lot of confidence over the last few tournaments, so hopefully that continues.”

Jasika will now face Dmitry Popko in Friday night’s feature match – the Kazakh has been in fine touch this week having already ousted Aussies Luke Saville and Chris O’Connell from the tournament.

“I remember him from my junior days, but I’ve never played him,” Jasika said. “Our games are quite similar, so I guess we’ll see what happens.”

Saville defeated second seed Jason Jung of Taiwan in the opening round.

Mott is gunning for his second ATP Challenger crown (he will defend his Launceston title next week) but will need to get by a determined Akira Santillan – the No.8 seed from Japan – to book his place in Saturday’s final.

Santillan recorded an impressive win over this month’s Australian Open qualifier Alex Bolt on Thursday.

The Australian contingent has performed well this week, with qualifier Dayne Kelly upsetting top seed Go Soeda of Japan in the opening round and Banes defeating American Noah Rubin in the second round. Third seed and recent Grand Slam debutant Andrew Whittington was less fortunate, falling to Blaz Rola of Slovakia at the first hurdle.

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