Bendigo, VIC, 17 January 2020 | Asher Packman

American Steve Johnson will take on Stefano Travaglia of Italy with both players securing straight sets semifinal victories on Friday at the Bendigo Challenger.

Travaglia, the No.3 seed, ousted American Marcos Giron 6-3 6-3, while Johnson, a former world No.21 and the fourth seed in Bendigo, defeated Italian Andrea Vavassori 6-3 6-1 in just 52 minutes.

“Whenever you sign up for an event you want to be the last guy standing,” Johnson said. “I’ve got one more chance to get to the finish line, so I hope I have a good day at the office.”

“I’m feeling better this year than some of the other ones. I’ve had some tough runs in Australia so I’m happy to win a few matches and get my season off on the right foot,” the 30-year-old added. “It’s been a perfect way to hone in my game before a Slam and be ready to go.”

Johnson has the formidable task of taking on Roger Federer in the opening round at Melbourne Park but is taking the upcoming encounter in his stride.

“I know what the draw looks like and I know I play Monday, but I’ve got a final here to take care of business and sharpen my skills one last time before I get to Melbourne, so I’m just happy to be here,” he said.

Meanwhile, Australian Matt Reid and his partner Ariel Behar of Uruguay were unsuccessful in their semifinal bid, falling 3-6 6-3 [10-1] to the unseeded pairing of Serb Nikola Cacic and Ukrainian Denys Molchanov. They will take on second seeds Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Brit Jonny O’Mara in the final, after they took out Sander Arends of Holland and Taiwanese Cheng-Pen Hsieh, the No.3 seeds, in straight sets.

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